Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

15 articles on this Page

[No title]


LBY "WESTMINSTER."] LONDON, SATURDAY. t night's defeat of the Government was re3t matter in itself; but. like Mer- wound. 'tis enough 'twill serve. It is the last strww that breaks the back of a discredited and impotent Ministry. Of course, the Radical papers make the state- ment's usual on such occasions, declaring that the Government was taken by surprise, and ,that the unexpected action of the Opposition ,tvas "a. dirty trick." These assertions are abso- lutely untrue. Mr. -St. John Brodrick. who rtvas the proper member of the Front Bench to move a resolution relating to the insuffi- cient supply of powder for the British Army. as he reprobated the War Office in the late Government, gave Mr. Caippbell-Baimerman ■full notice that he should bring the subject 'forward, and no urgent whip for a critical 'division was sent out by Mr. Akers-Douglas, nor was there any organised combination of lfurces to beat t'.c Government. Nearly all ithe Paroellites were away, and Sir Charles SDilke was the only Radical member who footed against his party. The result, then, ,-was due to the apathy of the Ministerialists, "who have been quite demoralised this week [by Mr. Gladstone's display of hostility to the Welsh Church Bill, and who feel that lit is time to bring to an end the tedious ifaroe played at Westminster. The "Daily ^Chronicle, in a moment of candour, lets the ',0at out of the bag by saying, "Not only is iour majority small''—too small for the work tt haa to do—"but the party is corroded pvrfeh dissatisfaction and unrest." Yet, the 3>nly advice the "Chronicle" can give is that ■^his party, which is acknowledged to be in j& abate of dry rot, should hold a meeting next j^e&k, and be exhorted to pull itself together land pass a. vote of confidence in the Govem- anent. t Will the Government take this pre- liminary step before resigning or resign at *>nceMr. Gump bell-Baiinerman has resigned ftlready, and it is ojpvious that there was no' Other course open to him. His statement in jthe House was that -we have a. sufficient store lOf ammunition to allow 400 cartridges a man aor three urrvy corps, numbering in all £ 10,000 men; but the House deliberately Stecided that this was not enough, and that jthere ought, in addition, to be a large reserve j.<pf powder kept in readiness for the sudden [outbreak of a gieat war. The decision ^amounted to a vote of censure on the Secre- tary for War personally, who must have welt the shock all the more keenly because he had just previously -announced the retire- jinent, long desired by the Radica-ls, of the (Duke of Cambridge, and had unfolded a tfl an for the future administration of the 'Army which seemed to give general satis- faction. But, although he might regret the 'occasion which rendered his resignation neces- sary, I have no doubt it is a relief to him :to be released from an intolerable position. 'He sacrificed himself for his party some time :-ago, when the Government refused to let lliim give up office in order to accept the Speakership; and he is not likely to give Nay again. The "Daily News" says that, if tie goes, his colleagues must go with him | £ ftd this is as it should be. Sir William ;,court Las lately professed an extreme 'anxiety to be relit red from the cares of office, i-and now is his opportunity. He is said to fhave jocularJv remarked to some friends on (the Terrace, just before last night's division, "At last we have it day without a crisis." -much in the sa iway in which King Agag 'said, "Surely, t,w bitterness of death is past," a minute two before the able-bodied Hebrew prophet hi wed him in pieces before jfhe Lord out. unlike Agag, Sir William is .prepared to ac.-epc his fate quietly and even cheerfully. Lord Rosebery, one may well litiiagine, will also be delighted to abandon tihe ungrateful task of trying to hold the (fiiberal party together. What have Ministers £ > gain by struggling any longer to resist jjtheir fate? I have been assured by some 'influential personages that the Government ■some time ago communicated to the leaders cf the Opposition, in confidence, its intention .to dissolve Parliament next month; and, ["whether this be the case or not, a general flection must now take place in July. "Mr. Lucy, who is a feUow-voya.ger with iMr. Gladstone on board the Tantalion Castle, pells us that since he heard of the debates in the House of Commons on the Cromwel! statue, the ex-Premier has talked of nothing else. This is a characteristic and amusing illustration of the consummate artfulness of! ,the Grand Old Man. A gentleman of great "distinction in the diplomatic service, who was agoing out on a special mission to East ["Africa, was asked by Lord Aberdeen to meet Gladstone, then Prims Minister, at KDollis Hill before he left London. Now, Mr. iGladstone hates the very name of Africa Ao, wheu the diplomatist was introduced to nhim, he talked with great volubility and [earnestness about an exciting adventure that ihad happened to himself in Piccadilly when ^he was knocked down by a hansom, and then fbade him an affectionate farewell.So on aboard Donald Currie's steamer, with .'hundreds of watchful eves fixed upon him ij^nd hundreds of attentive ears on the alert gbo oatch a whisper of his intentions towards (the Government, Mr. Gladstone discourses ^enthusiastically on the merits or demerits— Sit does not matter which—of Oliver Crom- ywell. Mr. Lucy must have enjoyed the kwhimsical humour of the situation, even Salthough it bereft him of the much-longed- jSfor "copy. I have myself predicted over and (Over again that Mr. Gladstone -would turn pagainst the Government on the Welsh Church $Bill, and all the ingenious attempts that have meen made to explain away the cancelling ■ of his pair fail to conceal the fact that he Is -now lending the weight of his moral autho- rity to support the political party which SJesires to prevent the Welsh vultures from devouring the substance of the Church. Mr. Gladstone does not love the Welsh members, (who gave him a taste of their insolence in the last Parliament; a.nd. although political [expediency forced him when he was in office to give his assent to Disestablishment and IDisendowment in Wales, lie is righteously indignant at the brutally callous way in which fPthe poor creatures who have succeeded him jin the government of the country proposed iijp leave the Disestablished Church to be .Kicked about and mutilated by its gretdy »nd ferocious enemies. His single vote may 4lOt make much difference, but he has struck p. deadly blow at the Govermnent by showing $h-at he is not in accord with them on some of the most important provisions in the principal Bill of the year. •Magnanimous pity is the only sentiment one Can feel towards the falling Ministry. Their oWn friends, whom they have fed assiduouslv with sops from their own table, turn and iBRod them. Last week it was the Scotch crofters of Inverness-shire who renounced -them and returned a Conservative member of j&^rliament. This week the Irish Nationalists shown their ingratitude by compelling jjbhe Government to mate an ignominious surrender on the Cromwell statue question ,46 by helping the Conservatives to cancel one of the most important clauses in the Home :Secretary's Factories Bill. Next week the 14h members' turn will come, and Mr. .tya.Ge<)rg,e has already received a promise, [399 ore told, that something like a Welsh Home ivuie Bill will be tacked on to the Welsh utitu-cli Bill. for my part, i am surprised at Mr. Lloyd-George's, modesty. if he had asked for a tY ui-sli Republic, with himself as 1' resident, he must have got it as the price of the votes of himself and his friends. Tiien ue might have chosen the repentant prodigal, Sir tvdwaru Reed, as, hi", Prime Minister. 1 entirely sympathise with the Irish party in their opposition to the vexatious restric- tions which Mr. Asquith wished to impo.-e on the working of small laundries. The useful legislation designeu t;> prevent sweating in large factories is now being vexatiously pushed into every house and cottage in the country by cranks like Mr. Sydney Buxton, who seems to have carried Mr. Asquith along with him; and it will soon be forbidden by law for a strong young girl of thirteen or fourteen to sweep tne doorstep of her mother's house unless she has a, Government inspector standing by her side to see that she Goes not overwork herself. All this vexatious and harassing interference w.- the ordinary course of labour is bound to defeat itself in the long run, but not till it has done infinite mis- chief to the trade and industrv of the country. The Government is bitten by a perfect craze for meddling with the liberty of the individual. Consider for a moment the monstrous pro- posals of the Inebriates Bill, which Lord Salisbury held up to public ridicule last night in a speech marked by that strong common sense and that delicious crispness of language which form so refreshing a contrast to the philanthropic twaddle of the average political hypocrite. By virtue of this precious Bill, introduced by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Government, "you allow," says Lord! Salisbury, "a single judge, without appeal, without a jury, on an accusation obviously vague, obviously incapable of being reduced to aetinite statement—you allow him to de- prive a man of his liberty for two years, practically to commit him to prison. iou may come across a judge with a crank. I have known such persons you may come across a judge with a special prejudice on the subject of drink, which drives people so wild j not only the people Who drink, but the people who abstain from it. You may come across some judge who thinks that any breach of sobriety is sufficient reason for sending a man to prison for two years. There are persons whose interest it is that their relations should go to prison. There are wives who would be wdBsatisfied that the supervision of their husbands should be withdrawn for a couple of years. There are heirs who would be well satisfied to posses the handling of their predecessor's money and estate during that period of two years. And it will be for them to procure the evidence and bring it forward. The evidence will not be tested by the ordinary machinery of the law, but by the single authority of a judge who may be careless or prejudiced. There will be no jury to test whether it is sincere or the result of a con- spiracy." This latest achievement of Ministers in the art of legislation seems to indicate a desire on their part to introduce into England the system of lettres de cachet which prevailed under the old French Monarchy. The great value to Germany of the new canal from the North Sea to the Baltic is that it gives the Germans a short cut through Which they can effect a junction of their squadrons in either sea, and which will not in time of war be available for use by Russia. It, therefore, greatly strengthens the position of the German Empire against her eastern rival. This consideration was, no doubt, present to the mind of the ardent young Ger- man Emperor, who is always pre-oooupied with the thought of maintaining the security of the Fatherland, but he prudently forbore from specifying any advantages the canal possesses except for the benefit of international commence. His speeches were distinguished by admirable taste and by the poetical cast of thought, which makes all his utterances So agreeable. I heard a story of him the other day which shows his native goodness of dis- position. An English artist, employed to paint his portrait for the Queen in the uniform of the Royal Dragoons, of which regiment he is the colonel, found it very difficult to get the Emperor to give him sittings. In reply to a remonstrance, the Emperor said he worked thirteen hours a day, and had each quarter of an hour mapped out for him, and that he really could not spare the time to sit. The artist remarked, "I think I saw your Majesty at the head of your Guards yesterday ?" "Yes," said the Emperor eagerly, "I marched with them for two hours and a half." "Well," said the artist, "give them a holiday to- morrow, and come and sit to me." The Emperor laughed hea.rtily, and not only con- -enUd to sit. but invited the artist to come to tiie upening of the canal as one of the Imperial guests. The French seem to have beeo in the sulks a 11 through the festivities-—a rather childish, display of petulance. The special honours paid by the Emperor to Queen Victoria and to the English fleet, no doubt, in- creased their ill-humour. In riding on horseback from one assize town to another Lord Chief Justice Russell shows much better taste than is displayed by the distinguished politicians who ride up to the Carlton Club on bicycles. Sir Henry Irving's friends, the cabdrivers, are naturally very angry at this new departure; but they have in a great degree themselves to blame for it. Since the cab strike of last year there has been a marked falling off in the quality of both hansom cabs and horses, and the drivers are not nearly so civil or good- u I_n humoured a? they used to be. Henc°., the public inclination to have recourse much more freely to other modes of locomotion. The receipts: of the London General Omnibus Com- pany now mount up to the enormous total of nearly a. million sterling; a year, which is equal to the revenue of some railvray com. panies.











[No title]