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The bank rose rapidly all across, but for the flow and ebb of the tide that to get it up high enough it was neces day, and it abides so still. The next sary to make it less than half the thick day the water rose quietly at both sides ness of the other part. Several times of our mound equally, and we had only the water, as the tide rose, seemed to be to make it broader and stronger and gaining on the work, then with a wild higher at leisure. In six weeks from shout the barrows would rush down its beginning a carriage drove over our and the work would get the advantage. causeway. But it was still neither high At last they began to watch the sand- enough nor sufficiently protected with a bank, thinking the water must come coating of stones to resist the winter over it, as our bank had kept it out till storms, as was proved before winter came. it was above ten feet deep on one side About the equinox heavy gales came and dry on the other. But I trembled
on. when I saw how narrow the bank was One day I was unwell, unable to which had to sustain such a pressure.
my windows looked At last, as a great rush of men with
and I could see barrows was coming down, I called the workmen driven off from their work “ Off! off!” to those on the new work, and an unusually high tide, urged by a and “Halt! halt!” to the coming bar violent storm, making a clean breach rows. Happily loud enough and in time, over my work and tearing it to pieces. for my suspicion was too just. I thought It blew hard all night. It was full the bank was yielding; and in a few moon spring-tide, but the sky was clear seconds a torrent was tearing through and the night light. In the morning I our day's work and digging a lake out looked out, doubtful whether a wreck in the sand on the empty side.
worth repairing would be left of my A groan of dismay was all that es summer's toil and expense. There was caped us.
no sign of any harm done! The rush of water continued for two How could that be? I had seen th hours, seeming to glory in our discom waves dragging down the protecting fiture, so wickedly did it tear and toss stones, tearing away the exposed clay, our poor work, and every now and then cutting gulfs through the roadway. a heavy splash told of a considerable Had I dreamt it? fall of the bank when the current had The fact soon was told me by the undermined it.
people in the house, that as soon as the I put the best face on it that I could. tide began to retire at night, men and “Go to dinner now, boys, and come all carts began to appear, others seized the to-morrow and we will do it."
wheelbarrows, and all night long they And to-morrow we did it.
wrought by the light of the moon, and Though the rush of water had torn actually left it in a better state than away a vast hole beside the mound, still before the storm. a great collection of stones remained and To this day I have never been able gave us an advantage next time. Every to get any one to acknowledge he had one came, every one did his very best, a share in that night's work. But I and yesterday's groan of dismay was for have often been told when I asked : ever dispelled by the exulting shout “Oh, yer honour, they say it must which hailed the full tide breaking over have been the wee folk” (fairies). the restraining sandbank while our bank Subsequent additional work made stood firm.
this sufficient to afford a good causeway “Hurrah !” cried an enthusiastic and road, which is safe and perfect after workman; “now, boys, sure enough a trial of near half a century-a perthere's no un possible thing his honour petual memorial of the kindly feelings won't do next!”
of my neighbours, which I feel every The water cut a channel that sufficed
year more deeply.
THE RIGHT HONOURABLE JOHN BRIGHT, M.P.
I was standing, some three years ago, in would never become more than a cry; a street in London, talking to a friend but the Radicals, while opposed to many who was a Conservative, when Mr. Bright of the details of Mr. Disraeli's Bill, passed; on which my friend said, “That which they regarded as imperfect and ought to be the proudest man in England; incomplete, while suspecting the sinfor while he has not budged an inch, cerity of those who proposed the Bill, we, and the whole country, have come gladly welcomed the fact that, whether in round to his way of thinking.” This pretence or sincerity, Reform, however led me to try and estimate the extent short in completeness of that for which of Mr. Bright's influence on public they had for years contended, was certain opinion; hence this paper. As a matter of attainment. For many years Mr. of fact, many of the Conservatives who Bright has been our best known pioneer, voted for Mr. Disraeli’s Reform Bill, and what has been said of a not very had previously, at a longer or shorter well-known but influential theological interval of time, denounced Mr. Bright pioneer, might with very little alteration and those who thought with him, for be applied to Mr. Bright:
“ He was advocating measures of Reform" less careless of his own name, provided the democratic, and less subversive of the higher thoughts for which he cared existing order of things, than that Bill. were found bearing fruit. He possessed This does not prove that the Conserva that highest of all magnanimity, of fortives were wrong in opposing political getting himself in the cause which he reformation at one time, and passing a loved, and rejoicing that others entered Radical Reform Bill at another: it does, into the results for which he laboured.” however, prove that they had changed Even Mr. Bright's opponents, who have their opinion as to the necessity or ex by the bye adopted many of his views, pediency of Reform. Political pioneers acknowledge that he has been a pioneer There must ever be, and, being pioneers, in the commonest meaning of the word; they must expect to be mistrusted, mis that he has been in advance of the politirepresented, and abused : but they may cal opinion of his day. For years he has as surely look forward to the spread and been cutting his way through the tangled growth of their opinions; and as the jungle of ignorance and prejudice ; for seed they have sown fructifies, they years he has been educating large masses may expect, as in the case of Catholic of men of all ranks, classes, and degrees, Emancipation, Free Trade, and Reform, in the same sense that Mr. Disraeli that others should put in the sickle, is said to have educated his followers. because the time of harvest is come. But it has become the fashion to say Political pioneers care, or ought to care, that Mr. Bright's work is done, that more for principles than for party, more he is no longer sufficiently advanced for measures than men. The moderate in opinion to lead, but that he must Liberals, the old Whigs, the thorough- be content to fall into the ranks, going partisans freely spoke of the poli- and follow the leadership of men more tical dishonesty and tergiversation of advanced, who have a keener insight the Conservative leaders in taking up into the wants of the present day, a the cause of Reform, and were angry better appreciation of the requirements that they should by so doing have of those recently enfranchised by Mr. taken from them one of their best stock Disraeli; that the Irish Church having election cries, which they secretly hoped been disestablished, the electoral fran
chise having been extended, an Irish to-heart, scriptural form of expression. Land Bill become law, and provision He is alive, and is happily recovering made for the better education of the his health. Before his illness he revised people,—that having thus seen the whole the volumes of his published speeches of the chief measures for which he has which were edited by Mr. Thorold contended carried into effect, Mr. Bright Rogers, which therefore may be taken must stand aside, and amuse himself as a summary of his own opinions, and with salmon fishing. This fallacy has not alone of his individual opinions, but gained strength and substance, owing to also as a summary of the opinions of the Mr. Bright's enforced retirement from small, earnest, thoughtful party to which public affairs.
he belongs, and of which he is chief. Now it will be my aim to show, that In this sense I take these speeches, and important as are the measures that have throughout this paper I shall refer only been carried, yet they do not, when taken to them. From these speeches alone I together, make a moiety of the political hope to be able to make good my proprogramme which Mr. Bright has con position, that not a tithe of the measures sistently and persistently advocated. which the Radical party have advocated And I venture to hazard this prophecy, has yet been carried into effect; that that as in 1858, after nearly three years' those which remain are sufficient to absolute retirement from public life, prove that Mr. Bright has in no way Mr. Bright appeared like a giant re forfeited his position as a pioneer, as a freshed, and was able to effect more leader of progressive political thought; than before his illness, so now we may
and that if health and strength are expect Mr. Bright's return to active restored to Mr. Bright, he will influence life will be signalized by another de the legislation of the immediate future cennial period of sound and thorough as much as he has that of the recent political work.
past. I may state at the outset that I do Even if some deny that Mr. Bright's not wish to claim for Mr. Bright more influence is as widely spread as it was than is his due. I neither think nor a few years ago, certainly his power wish to imply that he has been the sole is greater: not only has he done nothing instrument in bringing public opinion to forfeit the confidence of his followers ; to the state of ripeness which effected not only is he the trusted and honoured the passage of the important measures friend of the Prime Minister and the which he has advocated, and for advo leader of the House of Lords ; but he cating which he has been reviled and has been accepted with marked cormisrepresented; which measures how diality by the Queen as a member of ever have, after more or fewer years, the Government and Cabinet. It would been regarded as not quite so dangerous be greatly for the advantage, alike of the as was supposed, as not dangerous at Ministry and the country, if Mr. Bright all, and at last as wise, politic, and bene would again accept a seat in the Cabinet, ficial. I merely take Mr. Bright as the without being harassed by the cares leading man left to us of the small band and responsibility of any department. of pioneers known as Radicals when the What Lords Lyndhurst and Lansdowne title was opprobrious, who have laboured have been to former Cabinets, that may for progress and for civil and religious Mr. Bright become to the present; and liberty. I do not attempt to gauge the it does not require much foresight to extent of Mr. Bright's debt to Mr. Hume, see that, with the accidents and chances Mr. Cobden, or Mr. Villiers, any more of life, it may casily happen that Mr. than I attempt to decide how much of Bright may himself one day be Prime his indisputable influence is due to his Minister; were he but ten years younger, facile eloquence; to his terse, plain this would seem a certainty. language; to his thoroughly English We should take care that we are not cast of thought; to his familiar, heart led away by the noisy declamation of
what Mr. Thomas Wright, the journey the world judges, of more transcendent man engineer, styles “the demonstra- capacity ? I will say even, is there a tive clique” of working men, who, he man with a more honest wish to do says, are regarded " by an influential good to the country in which he ocsection of the working classes” as "self cupies so conspicuous a place ?” Thus seeking, place-seeking, and wire-pulling in no dim manner was foreshadowed the men;" and I hope that I shall be able to alliance between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. show Mr. Wright, and those who think Bright, which led to the inauguration of with him, that when they ask for “ a a humane policy towards Ireland—to real people's tribune, such a man the passing of the Irish Church and John Bright was in the strength of his Land Bills, which measures, though still early prime, and to the full as advanced denounced by those who opposed them, in opinion for this day as John Bright and somewhat disappointing the expectawas for that time," that no better, no tions of those who thought to gather a more likely man can be found to realize rich crop of fruit immediately that the his hopes, and carry into effect his tree was planted, have led The O'Donowishes, than the Right Honourable ghue, an undoubted Irish patriot, to deJohn Bright.
clare Mr. Gladstone's Government to be So far back as 1845 Mr. Bright said, “a Government which has redressed the “I assert that the Protestant Church of wrongs of ages, which has established Ireland is at the root of the evils of the reign of equality and justice in that country ;” and again he called it Ireland.” “the most disgraceful institution in As Mr. Bright was in advance not Christendom.” Two years later, speak- only of the general opinion of the ing on the Irish Land question, “There country on the Irish question, but even is an unanimous admission now that of those who regarded him as their the misfortunes of Ireland are connected most outspoken champion, so on most with the management of the land.” purely political questions did he head While few deny that these opinions or act with the most advanced party of were true, still fewer realize for how
progress. It will be sufficient if I name long a period Mr. Bright held them. a few on which legislation has taken I have quoted these words in order to place, as Free Trade, admission of show that the man who for twenty- Jews to Parliament, Church Rates,
Ecthree or twenty - four years lost no clesiastical Titles, removal of Tests, fair opportunity of giving expression Education, withdrawal of troops from to such opinions, to which opinions Canada, and Reform.
Many other a vast majority of the electors at questions have been decided, if not in length gave in their adherence, is en accordance with the exact principles titled to as much or more credit (dis- advocated by the Radical leaders, yet in credit, if his opponents like to say so) the direction indicated by them. Now than the man who, having for years dis the probable course of opinion—therefore puted them, actually works up these of legislation in the future, can only opinions into a Bill, and induces the be learned by careful study of the past House of Commons to accept it. But and present; and if we look back a few in 1866 Mr. Bright, in unmistakeable years, we shall see that the whole course terms, threw down a challenge to Mr. of legislation has been progressive, what Gladstone to take up the Irish question is called democratic and Americanizing and deal with it in a statesmanlike our institutions by those who, acting as manner : "I should like to ask him (Mr. a break, have delayed somewhat, but Gladstone) whether this Irish question have altogether failed in arresting, “ the is above the stature of himself and of wild and destructive " course of the his colleagues. Take the Chancellor of powerful locomotivo driven by the the Exchequer. Is there in any legis- middle-class Radical leaders. lative assembly in the world a man, as And if we look at the present,
see that the whole of Mr. Gladstone's of the House of Lords. To those who, legislation has been in accordance ostrich-like, bury themselves in the with the wishes of the Radical party, sand, and give not earnest or attentive except on Education; on which question heed to the floating atoms of thought his Government is in danger from his and suggestion, until they gather themRadical supporters. If Mr. Bright does selves together into a mass, when they not again take office, he has left in the are recognized as public opinion, this volumes of his speeches charts by which question may be regarded as novel; but we can ascertain the course he would in 1858 Mr. Bright said, “We know, have steered: let us see then what future everybody knows, nobody knows it legislation is likely to be, as laid down better than the Peers, that a House of in these charts so plainly that none who hereditary legislation cannot be a pertry to read aright can fail to read rightly. manent institution in a free country.
The first question which is going to For we believe that such an institution be decided, whether first in importance must in the course of time require or not, is the Ballot, which would hardly essential modification.” Again, while occupy the pre-eminent position assigned saying that the chief reason why the to it in Mr. Gladstone's programme but
House of Lords adjourns so frequently for such sentences as these spoken by without transacting any important busiMr. Bright in 1858, with which the whole ness is owing to the mismanagement of Radical party agree: “I believe it is the the Government of the day, he adds, opinion of the great body of the Refor- “All of us in our younger days were mers of the United Kingdom, that any taught by those who had the care of us Reform Bill which pretends to be gene- a verse which was intended to inculcate rally satisfactory to the Reformers must the virtue of industry. One couplet was concede the shelter and protection of to this effect the Ballot.” And again, speaking of the reduction of the franchise : “I think if
• Satan still some mischief finds
For idle hands to do.' there be any call now for the adoption of the Ballot, that call will be more And I do not believe that men, howstrong and imperative after such a ever high in station, are exempt from change in the franchise has been made.” that unfortunato effect which arises to Some excitement was caused amongst all of us from a course of continual the Conservatives by Mr. Gladstone's idleness.” The sting of the sketch passing allusion during the last session drawn by Mr. Bright of a Peer's proxy to some further measures of Reform being used by the leader of his party which might be necessary.
Hoping, while he was himself hundreds of miles well-nigh believing, that their Reform away, and knew nothing of the question Bill meant finality, the Conservatives on which his vote was given, has been deeply resented this hint. If, however, removed by the wisdom of the Peers they had studied the chart which lies themselves; and their sensible and judiopen to them, they would have read, “I cious conduct, when the use of the know no reason why the franchise should proxy came under serious discussion, not be as extensive in the counties as in leads those (nine-tenths of the nation) the boroughs.” And again, “When you who dislike the thought of so violent have settled the question of the Suffrage, a wrench being given to the Conyou stand and will stand free to deal stitution, as the forcible extraction with the question of the Redistribution of a wisdom tooth which shows only of Seats.”
slight symptoms of decay, and which A question said to be new has this any dentist of moderate skill can autumn been advanced towards the easily stop, to hope and think that front of the host of those awaiting dis- without violence or difficulty the House cussion and settlement—the Reform, or, of Lords may be brought into harmony failing Reformation, then the Abolition, with the altered circumstances of the