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was lost, being overtaken and slain by the enemy, and all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.'
We have entitled this article 'The Submission of the Clergy.' In the sense in which the phrase was used by King Henry VIII. the language may seem to point merely to a ghost of the past, which has no reality for the England of our days: yet there is a sense in which we could wish for a more entire submission of the clergy in modern England; and our fear is lest the want of submission which some few have shown should prejudice the general lay mind, and make changes which seem to grant greater liberty to the clergy more difficult of acquisition than they otherwise might have been. We trust, however, that this may not be so; there is no body of men, as a body, more loyal to the State than the clergy of the Church of England; a proposal for a legislative change which may enable the clergy to do their work better, and which may tend to prevent any jarring between Church and State, is worthy of respectful consideration, and we cannot doubt that it will receive the same at the hands of the High Court of Parliament.
ART. X.-Hansard's Parliamentary Debates, 1879.
HE life of the present Parliament is drawing to a close, and, though it is likely to last another session, parties are already anticipating the general election. Candidates are being assigned to all the constituencies; North Lancashire is still awaiting a definite exposition of Whig policy from Lord Hartington; the Heart of Midlothian beats with exultation at the prospects of November; Liberal and Radical associations are exchanging amenities in the metropolis. All this is in the ordinary course of nature. The exceptional feature of the present electioneering period is this, that while the country seems apathetic and almost indifferent to the issues on which it will have to pronounce, the Liberal orators appear to be in a fever of moral indignation, and do not cease to harangue about the wickedness of the Tories, the dangers to which the Constitution is being exposed, and the Liberal principles which are at stake.
Now history shows us that, though the various disturbances of the English Constitution have at different times produced wide and deep divisions of opinion, yet, whenever the constitutional balance has been restored, the differences between parties become more nominal than real, and principles are professed rather for the sake of party triumphs than from genuine conviction. One
of the best illustrations of this fact is the conduct of the Opposition Whigs headed by Pulteney during the administration of Walpole. It is impossible to believe that the Opposition of that period really imagined that liberty was endangered under a dynasty which had the greatest difficulty in maintaining itself against attack; yet, if we were to judge solely by the solemn and sombre forebodings of the Craftsman,' we should be under the impression that England in the time of George II. was enduring a tyranny as dark as that of Tiberius. We ourselves are now passing through a similar phase of politics, and the Ministry are exposed to party attacks of the same kind, except that, while Pulteney's invective is marked by singular keenness and literary skill, the assaults of the present Opposition are chiefly noticeable for their coarseness. For the last three years the nation has heard the character of its rulers described in terms which are usually applied to the criminal classes of society. We have heard Mr. Trevelyan declare that he believed the Ministry wished to involve the country in war that they might provide for the dunces of their families. Mr. Grant Duff has called them liars and murderers. Mr. Chamberlain has likened them to the Long Firm. And the Duke of Argyll, with that air of intense self-satisfaction peculiar to those who think that they have exposed a swindler, has told them that they have been 'found out.'
Such personalities may be dismissed with the remark that they are weapons which gentlemen have not hitherto condescended to employ, and which gentlemen need not notice. We cannot deal so easily with the high moral and religious principles which Mr. Gladstone brings to bear against the conduct of the Government. In many respects Mr. Gladstone's attitude towards his opponents seems to us to resemble that of the old Republican sectaries towards the malignant' Cavaliers. In his bitter contempt for national instinct, his hatred of traditional habits and customs, and above all in his boundless powers of casuistry, we recognise the features of the famous knight of the seventeenth century :
'He was of logic a great critic,
A hair 'twixt south and south-west side,
Confute, change hands, and still confute.'
Enthusiasm in the pulpit is a great power. It has, however, one drawback, namely, that the preacher, rapt in contemplation of the abstract, is apt to make too little allowance for human
nature in general, and to forget that, in particular, he himself is human. For instance, we do not doubt that Mr. Gladstone fully believed what he wrote in his recent article in the Nineteenth Century' about the readiness of the Ministry to vote monuments of civil honour to Strafford, to Laud, to Filmer, to Sacheverell.' But he forgot at the moment what use he had himself made of the Royal Warrant in 1871. He points to the invasion of Parliamentary liberties by the Tory Government, instancing the daring introduction of the Indian troops, in time of peace, into the Mediterranean,' and reminding the reader 'that the charge of this introduction was actually defrayed from the Indian exchequer, without the consent of Parliament.' But he does not mention that the Tory Ministry at least came to Parliament for a sanction to their proceedings; whereas in the Peiho affair a Liberal Government employed Indian troops beyond the frontiers of India, defrayed their expenses out of Indian revenues, and never considered it necessary to bring the matter under the cognisance of Parliament at all. He accuses the Government of dishonesty, because, in a time of great depression, they have not discharged all their extraordinary liabilities during the year. Yet he might have remembered that in 1872, in the days of roaring profits and large surpluses, the late Prime Minister of England thought it right to obtain powers from Parliament for borrowing, 3,500,000l. to build barracks, postponing the discharge of his liabilities till the year 1885. That which is dishonesty in the Tory is commendable prudence in the Liberal. Nevertheless it is a chastening reflection, that the statesman, who judges the wickedness of his opponents from such lofty Puritanic and Radical principles, was once the favourite son of the Established Church and the hope of the austere and unbending Tories'!
Now we agree with the Liberals in thinking that if, as they say, the country is being governed by knaves and fools, the sooner we have a change of Government the better. But they do not appear to us to be setting about their work in the right way. Their tale of crime is becoming wearisome. The poet tells us, with justice:
'Vice is a monster of so frightful mien,
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen.'
But he also tells us what are the effects produced by familiarity, and if the constituencies are forced to be always contemplating Tory wickedness there is at least a danger that they should 'first endure, then pity, then embrace.' If one half of the Liberal assertions be true, this would be as great a misfortune
for the country as for the Liberal party. We think therefore that the time has come when the pretensions of that party to wisdom and virtue, as well as the criminal charges which they bring against the Ministry, should be exposed to careful examination. We accordingly propose to consider a proposition, advanced by one of the most skilful of the Liberal rhetoricians, which puts the question in a convenient and epigrammatic form. When we speak of Sir William Harcourt's skill in rhetoric, we find that it is necessary to use caution. The ex-SolicitorGeneral is so far a master in his art, as to have learnt that the unsophisticated taste is pleased with effects of bright colouring. Audiences of Liberal electors like to hear that all the acts of Liberal statesmen are wise, noble, and beneficent, and that Tory ministers can do nothing that is not wicked, foolish, and absurd. The member for the city of Oxford gained great applause from his constituents for an entertainment of this kind to which he treated them last winter. But his success has betrayed him into a snare which awaits many ambitious artists of the present day. He is becoming a mannerist. While these pages are passing through the press, we read the report of his speech at Southport, and find that, in substance and in style, it is a mere repetition of the speech at Oxford. There is the same loud but crude colouring; the same absence of variety, contrast, and moderation. Mechanical displays of this kind must pall upon the appetites of the most craving partisans, and Sir William should remember that when, in the Afghan debate, he ventured on the flight of characteristic eloquence, recorded in the following words, he was only successful in provoking the House of Commons to laughter.
'The Government,' said he, ' had hoisted the old red flag of the Tory party, the bloody red flag of the Tory party, and he knew what the Tory party was and the crew that sailed beneath it; it was a gaunt and grisly company. That was no personal observation. The company of which he spoke, and which sailed under that flag, was war, taxation, poverty, and distress. The Liberal party had its flag too. It bore very different words, the old words of Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform.'
'Peace, Retrenchment, Reform'! It is assumed that the meaning of these words is well understood. It is assumed that they express a mark of hereditary distinction between the Liberal and Conservative parties. Let us, however, test these assumptions. Perhaps it may be found that the supposed distinction does not exist, and that, beneath the surface, the words contain a meaning which the Liberals desire, with good reason, to keep out of sight.
To begin with Peace. We are uncertain as to the exact age of the Liberal colours, for, as we all know, both parties since the first Reform Bill have dropped their historic names. But when Sir William Harcourt speaks of the old 'Tory' flag as being red and bloody, it is fair to assume that he considers Peace' to have been one of those principles which the ancient Whigs' delivered to their descendants the Liberals. The member for Oxford has frequently treated us to strange readings of history; but, in claiming for the Whigs the character of a 'Peace party,' he displays even more than his usual courage. Of the wars which were waged during the eighteenth century, the larger number must be entered to the credit of the Whigs. We have always understood that it was a Whig minister who, from mere love of office, and in the teeth of his own convictions, declared war with Spain to support the fable of Jenkins's ears.' It was a Whig ministry which lost Minorca, and, yielding to popular clamour, ordered the execution of Admiral Byng. It was a Whig ministry (so at least their party has always boasted) which, acting under the inspiration called by their latest descendants 'Jingoism,' planted the standard of England on the heights of Abraham. But Sir William may say that these wars were short and sharp, and that of course when he speaks of the old Tory flag, inscribed with the words War and Taxation, he is referring to the struggle against Napoleon. No doubt the Whigs, by their conduct, deprived themselves of all share in the glory of a war waged on behalf of the independence of England and the freedom of Europe. But what of the wars waged against Louis XIV. under William III. and Anne? Were not these conducted almost from first to last under the auspices of the Whig party? Were not they as long, within a year or two, as the war against Napoleon? Was not the vast increase of taxation rendered necessary by the war of the Spanish Succession one of the most effective weapons of attack in the hands of the Tory writers? It was the Tory party, not the Whig, which concluded that war with a treaty, disgraceful certainly, in the circumstances of its arrangement, but founded on principles of justice and reason. To the Tories, too, is to be ascribed the merit of the Treaty of Vienna, and though Liberals like Sir William Harcourt may denounce this instrument, they cannot deny that it secured the peace of Europe for nearly forty years.
From the Revolution to the Reform Bill, the balance of wars is on the side of the Whigs; and there has certainly been no reversal of this experience since 1832. The Liberals are responsible for the Crimean war, the Persian war, the two wars with China, and the Ashantee war; the Conservatives for the Abys