Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

Mr. Lowe. The speech generally was unite for the solution of a difficult probregarded as very successful, and the new lem. member received hearty congratulations Mr. Gladstone's government at this from his friends. In the session of 1867, time incurred considerable unpopularity when Mr. Coleridge brought forward bis in consequence of the Ewelme Rectory bill to abolish the religious tests required appointment, Sir Robert Collier's elevafrom members of the University of Ox. tion to the judicial committee of the Privy ford, Mr. Fawcett was successful in carry Council, and other matters. Professor ing an instruction to the committee on the Fawcett, while generally a friend to the bill, empowering them to extend its pro- ministry, took a decidedly independent visions' to Cambridge. The measure, tone at this juncture. Speaking at Brighhowever, was subsequently thrown out in ton, and referring to the appointment of the House of Lords. Towards the close Sir Robert Collier, he said it would be far of the session of 1869, Mr. Fawcett better that a dozen administrations should raised the question of university educa- fall than that Parliament should sanction tion in Ireland by drawing attention to the act of lawlessness involved in the col. the restrictions on the scholarships and orable evasion of a positive legal enactfellowships of Trinity College. He had ment. given notice of his intention to move a The Irish University question was not resolution in favor of the removal of allowed to sleep, and in the session of these restrictions, when the authorities of 1873 it was destined to effect a defeat of Trinity College themselves voluntarily the government. Mr. Gladstone introanticipated the motion. Mr. Fawcett duced the ministerial measure, on which brought forward his resolution notwith-occasion he delivered one of his most standing, being anxious for its discussion. important speeches. When the division In the following session the government on the second reading was taken, the Rocarried their University Tests Bill, by man Catholic members coalesced with the which, for the first time, all lay students Conservatives and placed the goveroment of whatever religious creeds were admit. in a minority of three in a House of five ted to the English universities on equal hundred and seventy-one members. The terms. Mr. Fawcett also brought in his premier resigned office, but Mr. Disraeli, bill for opening to all sects the endow- being unwilling at the time to succeed his ments of Trinity college, Dublin. As we rival, ministers resumed their places. have already seen, the college itself had, Before the session closed, Mr. Fawcett in consequence of the disestablishment of again introduced his bill for the reform of the Irish Church, determined to consent the University of Dublin, and this time it to the abolition of tests; and Mr. Plunket, was allowed to pass as a simple measure the Parliamentary representative of the for the abolition of tests. During the decollege, had taken the opportunity, on a bate on the defunct Ministerial Bill, the motion by Mr. Fawcett for the production honorable member had delivered himself of correspondence, to challenge the gov. of a strong philippic against the govern. ernment to adopt or reject the liberal offer ment, asserting that their bill, if carried, of his constituents. Mr. Fawcett, in mov- could lead to no other conclusion but the ing the second reading of his bill, deliv. establishment of denominational educa. ered an able speech, and he received tion in Ireland. The bill, however, as we powerful support from both sides of the have seen, did not pass, and ministers House. Mr. Gladstone, however, argued were now chary of burning their fingers against the bill, without indicating the again over the matter. views of the government upon the whole Mr. Fawcett took a deep interest in all question, and the solicitor.general for Ire- questions affecting India. In fact, so land subsequently talked out the measure. warmly did he identify himself with these Another attempt was made by Mr. Faw subjects that he was once described as cett to settle this question in the session “member for Hackney and India." He of 1872, but Mr. Gladstone still declined was for effecting broad reforms in the to allow his band to be forced in the mat- administration of India. One of his earter of Irish university education, and the liest speeches in connection with our great bill was again talked out, without a crucial Eastern dependency was delivered on the division being taken upon its principle. occasion of the sultan's visit to this counIn this session Mr. Fawcett spoke power try, when it was proposed to defray the fully on the education question, exhorting expenses of his entertainment out of the all parties not to waste time in striving Indian revenues. He strongly attacked after miserable sectarian triumphs, but to the government for their proposal, and

[ocr errors]

found himself one of the most popular Towards the close of the session, Mr. men with the people of India in coose. Fawcett once more raised this topic. quence. In 1872 he delivered a very tell. During the debate on the Indian budget ing speech upon the financial condition of he stigmatized the Indian secretary's sta. India, when he obtained a committee of tistics as fallacious, and moved a resoluthe House of Commons to inquire into tion declaring that the House regarded the condition of the Indian finances. He with apprehension the present position of made on this occasion a strong attack Indian finance; and that, in view of the upon the supposed lodian surpluses, which power claimed by the crown to employ were always said to exist, but wbich were any number of Indian troops in all parts very difficult to realize. His efforts in of her Majesty's dominions, there was not connection with India and his resistance sufficient security against the military exto the efforts made to take away Epping penditure of India being unduly increased. Forest from the people made him exceed- After a lengthy debate, the resolution was ingly popular with the electors of Hack. negatived by 59 to 20. When it was proney. This feeling was further stimulated posed to defray the expenses of the Afby his endeavors to get the benefit of the ghan war out of the revenues of India, Factory Acts extended to the children of Mr. Fawcett moved as an amendment, agricultural laborers, and by his support " That this House is of opinion that it of other humanitarian measures affecting would be unjust that the revenues of India the health and welfare of the humbler should be applied to defray the extraor. classes. On several occasions, in the ses- dinary expenses of the military operations sion of 1878, he was heard in the House now being carried on against the ameer of Commons upon Indian questions. He of Afghanistan." He argued that the initiated in the first place an important government had declared the war for imdiscussion on Sir John Strachey's previ. perial far more than for Indian purposes. ous budget, condemning the increase in If the war was an imperial one, then En. the duties on salt in Bombay and Madras gland was bound to pay for it. He conin order to equalize them over India, when iended that there was no real surplus of Inthey might have been equalized by low. dian revenue, and that the money they were ering them; and the imposition of the proposing to take for the war was money license tax on trades and professions, as appropriated as a famine fund, and obfalling with most weight on the poor. He tained by the most onerous of taxes. Mr. also condemned the expenditure of the Gladstone seconded the amendment, but famine taxes on doubtful public works. it was lost by a majority of one hundred Mr. Fawcett delivered a second important and ten. A sharp passage of arms ocspeech in connection with the movement curred early in 1880 in connection with of the Indian troops to Malta, charging the Indian budget. It was found that the Beaconsfield government with having instead of the surplus which the Indian deceived the House in this matter. As government had expected, when the to the statement that it was unnecessary budget was made public, Sir John Strafor the government to inform Parliament chey discovered that he would have to of its intentions, he said “he would rather make provision for a large deficit, and the government had squandered and that this deficit was caused by an extraorwasted millions of English money than dinary miscalculation in the cost of the that they should have started on the ca- Afghan war. Mr. Fawcett stated at reer of bringing Indian troops to fight Hackney that Lord Cranbrook was made European batiles without consulting Par- aware on March 13 of the miscalculation, liament. If this could be done, there was although the prosperity of India and the not a single thing the executive could not existence of a surplus were boasted of by do without first consulting Parliament. Conservative candidates throughout the Before such a step was carried out, Par. general electioneering campaign. Mr. liament ought at least to have been in- Stanhope indignantly denied this, and formed of the cost it would involve. Mr. Fawcett at the same time wrote to Parliament was responsible for the good the papers saying that he had been government of India, and if anything misinformed. It was not until the elecwrong happened there, Parliament could tions had nearly concluded that an not escape the responsibility.” Lord Bea- plicit statement respecting the deficiency constield's government, however, was at reached the India Office. In the followthis time all-powerful, and its action on this ing September Mr. Fawcett received from and other questions which excited much some native inhabitants of Bombay, who comment was endorsed by Parliament. had previously subscribed £250 towards

ex

his election expenses, a silver tea service | ings banks in England, Scotland, and and salver of Cutch work, enclosed in a Ireland. The number of depositors is carved wood case, also of native manufac. upwards of three millions, and the aggreture. The case was inscribed, “Present- gate amount of deposits nearly £45,000,ed to the Right Hon. Henry Fawcett, ooo. With a few exceptions, these de. M.P., by his native friends and admirers positors may devote any part of their in Bombay, India, June, 1880."

deposits, or of the interest thereon, to the When Mr. Gladstone came into power purchase of an annuity for old age, or to after the general eleetion of 1880, he prof. securing an insurance policy. A person fered Mr. Fawcett the office of postmas- may also become a depositor with the ter.general, which was accepted. Before sole object of having his money applied the close of the first session of his official to the purchase of an annuity or insurance career the new postmaster-general had policy. Annuities of any amount between introduced several legislative reforms af. £i and £ 100 a year can be purchased on fecting the business of the post-office. the life of any person not under five years The inost important of these was the of age. There is thus brought within the Money Orders Act, the object of which reach of every family a ready and feasible was to reduce the charge for orders, and plan of insurance and annuity. Mr. Faw. to facilitate their currency. The cost of cett determined to make his scheme selforders was reduced, and the transmission supporting, so that it should not become of the notes made less cumbrous. An. a charge in any way upon the taxpayers other reform was also introduced in cod. of the country. But while responsible for nection with the savings bank. It was the elaboration of this scheme, the de. provided that forms containing twelve ceased did not fail to give the credit of its spaces each could be obtained at the post-inception to the assistant receiver and office, and when a penny stamp had been accountant-general of the post-office. At affixed in each space, the form might be the time of his death it is understood that put in the savings bank, and an account Mr. Fawcett was engaged in perfecting opened in the name of the depositor. other useful reforms in connection with These reforms the public speedily availed the postal and telegraph services. themselves of to a large extent. Mr. In April, 1867, Mr. Fawcett married Fawcett also established a new parcel Millicent, daughter of Mr. Newson Garpost, which has proved a great boon to rett, of Aldeburgh, Suffolk. She is the the mercantile community, though as yet author of a work entitled " Political Econ. it has not been very successful financially. omy for Beginners,” and of a little volume He further instituted many useful reforms of " Tales in Political Economy;” and in connection with the postal department, she was also joint author with her husband and brought the telegraphic service into a of a volume of essays and lectures on much greater state of efficiency than when political and economical subjects. Mrs. be found it. But of all the reforms by Fawcett is well known as an advocate of which Mr. Fawcett signalized his control the cause of women's suffrage, and she of the post-office, perhaps there was none has also, with her husband, taken part in which promises to be more beneficial (es. many philanthropic movements. Mr. pecially to the working classes) than bis Fawcett, who was sworn in a member of elaborate scheme of post-office annuities the Privy Council in May, 1880, had also and insurance, which came into operation the same year the honorary degree of in June of the present year. The chief D. C. L. conferred upon him by the Voireason which had heretofore prevented versity of Oxford. annuities and policies of life insurance from being obtained in any considerable number through the post office was that so many cumbrous and troublesome for. malities had to be gone through. Under

From The Spectator. the new scheme annuities and insurance

MR. FAWCETT'S HEROISM. are made through the deposits in the post- The feeling which has been manifested office savings banks, and instead of a by the great body of the English people of special visit being required each time a both parties, and of all social degrees, payment is due, the depositor has only to towards the late Mr. Fawcett, is thorgive a written order that a certain portion oughly creditable to their character. It of his deposits should be devoted to his arises in part, no doubt, from respect for annuity or insurance. There are more a most sincere and independent politician, than seventy-four hundred post-office sav. who, though ambitious, could adhere to

.

his opinions in the teeth of popular dis. I speed of movement over a floor that might taste for them; and though a strong Rad- be full of death-traps, of which he could ical, could, and did, resist with all his see no trace. It is all very well to say might that suppression of individualism he was constitutionally brave, and of which is for the moment the temptation of course he was, or he could not have at. a party who see victory close at hand, if tempted the feat at all; but courage of only they can adhere for a little while to that surpassing kind is either, as the an almost Prussian discipline. Some world has always believed - and as we thing self-poised in Mr. Fawcett's political incline to believe – a distinct virtue, imcharacter always struck, and strongly at- plying, like the kindred capacity of martyrtracted, the average community. But the dom, inner nobleness of soul, or it is a main sources of the popular feeling are gift from above so rare and precious as of undoubtedly sympathy with a misfortune itself to constitute a claim to attention which appeals in a special degree to the and regard. Courage is a fine quality, and active and energetic, exciting in them a the analytical thinkers are wrong in dedepth of pity rarely bestowed on any phys- preciating it; but in courage like this ical ailment not productive either of death much is mixed that is in no way physical or agony, and admiration of the courage - perseverance, self-reliance, and resolve with which the natural consequences of that the inner man should master the that misfortune were repelled. It was not outer utterly. Heroes have failed when merely that Mr. Fawcett endured those called on to risk assassination for years consequences without loss of heart or continuously, when sick, when sorry, or ulceration of spirit, in itself a great thing when tortured with nervous disquiet; but to do, – for, recollect, he was up to man- Mr. Fawcett faced a danger very similar hood a man of unusually clear sight; but in kind for twenty-seven years, during that he faced them, fought them down, which he did, and did thoroughly well, all routed them, in a battle lasting through a the work of a man who meant to be, and quarter of a century. We feel tempted, was, in the forefront of the political battle. as we consider his life, the work he did, Realize to yourself what it is to be a conand the conditions under which he did it, siderable figure in the House of Coni. to use language which our readers might mons and to be unable to leave the House consider extravagant; but we will say without gratuitous help. There was more most seriously that we hardly recall in than courage in that lise, explain it away history an instance of personal heroism, as we will, and that more was heartily

- heroism of the lofty, self-conquering recognized, not only by tle blind, who kind, — to which it can be fittingly com- everywhere watched Mr. Fawcett's career pared. If there is one to be found, it is in with pathetic eagerness and sympathy, the life of some martyr who found no sacer feeling him to be in so many ways their vates, because he did not die of his torture; representative, or rather, their ideal man, or in that of some prisoner, who, like but by the whole seeing population, who Poerio, parted with the light of day for could hardly enough admire the self-masyears for the sake of his country; and yet tery patent' to them whenever Mr. Faw. on his release, when his freedom was an. cett presented himself before a popular nounced to him, could ask as his first audience. The audiences saw, it must be question, “And Italy?.” We all know remembered, that he was blind, not only what it is to be in the dark, and the hesi- from his wearing impervious spectacles, tation, the uncertainty, the fear of action but from a pose of the head in speaking which comes over us like a cloud; but which somehow always told the listener Mr. Fawcett, born and reared in the light that the speaker did not see. If we could to manhood, endured that darkness for all show such continuous self-mastery, the

so compelled himself that major evils of the world would be half amidst it he did all that men dare do in cured; and we are glad to believe that the the light. He walked, he rode, be skated, people, if they cannot rise to it, can at he faced multitudes as boldly as any other least appreciate it as cordially as if the

Imagine what the roar of the heroism displayed were of the kind that Brighton mob must have been to him. wins battles, or saves a household from We cannot even conceive of personal the flames. There is gain for men in a courage greater than that which enabled recognition of that kind, larger and of Mr. Fawcett to skate over the frozen better worth than even the gain which marshes from Cambridge to Ely, and to accrues from recognition of the man comendure for hours without shrinking, or petent to lead. indeed with enjoyment, that treinendous It is difficult, at least to this writer, to

[ocr errors]

years, and

man.

write of courage like this — and we repeat by reflection, but by instinct. Take the we are not of those who hold even physi.courage out of resignation, and it is pascal courage to be one of the lesser gifts — sive despair, or at best, only the submiswithout considering for a moment whether sion which a convict may show upon the the world, and especially the English scaffold. There are duties to be done in world, which has caught hialf, rather than the world, and continuous duties, which the whole, of the strong side of Christian- can be done only by virtue of a resignation ity, ever honors sufficiently the virtue most that taxes courage almost as much as Mr. kindred to courage, the virtue of resigna. Fawcett's splendid battle with his destiny, tion. We do not fancy that it does, and though in so different a way. There is think that in ignoring it, or passing it by steel in the Christian virtues, though the as something beautiful rather than strong, Western world hardly sees it yet, and Englishmen lose sight of a grand and a rather sympathizes with the Frank, who permanent source of strength, not only in wished he had been on Gethsemane with character, but in life. It is not in them, his legions, than with the Christ who'sufwe fear, without much reflection, to com- fered, but did not summon them, - steel prehend the majesty to which resignation as strong as the iron which older poets may rise ; but it should be in them to see, would have said must have been in Mr. as we believe all Asiatic converts to Chris Fawcett's heart to enable him to achieve tianity do see, how deep a reservoir of such a victory over fate. He did achieve strength they pass by with their buckets it

, and the English people rightly count it unheeding. Resignation is not, as so to him for good; but in the very cordiality many believe, and as preachers sometimes of our acknowledgment that they are right, are apt to imply, submission only, but has we are impelled to put in a word for the in it, when it is genuine, besides submis. virtue which is in so many respects the sion, self-sacrifice, self.compression a same, yet which is so overlooked – which, very different thing, without which there indeed, among Englishmen is perhaps only were no martyrs — and courage, not in- perceived in its full greatness as one of deed of Mr. Fawcett's kind, but rising, it the most masculine of all the virtues, by might be, even to the height of his. Sup. the blind, the crippled, and the very poor. pose he had been of another type, incapa. “ It is dogged as does it,” says Mr. Trol. ble, from imaginativeness, of that ride lope's bricklayer; and the doggedness upon iron runners, but yet, like Milton, which we esteem half a fault and hall a capable of facing his missortune calmly, virtue, talking as we do alike of “dogged and deriving froin it a clearer mental vis- obstinacy” and “dogged fidelity,” is often ion, and additional power for the intellec. nothing but the resignation of the dull. tual work he was competent to do, would that have been a less noble forın of resist. ance to the temptation to despair ? It would have been a less useful one, and to Mr. Fawcett probably or certainly a less inspiriting one; but we cannot pronounce

A CHAPTER OF BLUNDERS. it to be less noble, or to involve for men Pass, certificate, and competitive ex. : of other natures and other types of strength aminations are, no doubt, all sufficiently less of the reality of virtus, which Europe, serious affairs to examinees, and suffiin its unconscious linguistic wisdom, has ciently trying ones to examiners. To the made to mean both manliness and good-outer public, however, to those who have

The passive virtues do not suit our no son or brother there,” such “exams.” people; and it is profitless to tell them are, as a rule, nothing if not a source of that they are often as manly as the active amusement. The "results" aimed at in ones, that to wait sitting is often the high- examinations are, for the most part, ad. est proof of courage, that to endure may re. mirable; but in the course of the proc. quire more fortitude than to fight, and that esses, in the answering of examination the men on the “Birkenhead” equalled questions, the unexpected constantly hapthe men who rode at Balaclava ; but it is pens, and it is the unlooked-for results, well to remind then sometimes of abstract the "surprises” of the occasions, that truths, and this is one, that in the resig. make sport for the Philistines. The sit. nation which they only admire as they uation on this head is easily explicable. admire meekness, as a quality which it It is a natural result of the modern systakes a revelation to make fully admirable, tem of preparation for examination – the there is often present in full measure that cram system. Examinees bent only on quality of courage which they admire not "getting through” will answer questions

a

From All The Year Round.

ness.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« VorigeDoorgaan »