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THE COCTET.I

LITERATURE AND THE ARTS. --

. OUR MISCELLANY. I

CHARACTER AND LIFE OF DR.…

LORD PAL MERSTONS SPEECH ON…

RESUME OF THE LATE PARLIAMENT

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RESUME OF THE LATE PARLIAMENT De mortals nil nisi bonum" is an oft-quoted sentiment, and one which most Englishmen carry out, for when they pay the last respect to a relative or friend they remember only his good actions, and forget his many shortcomings. We remember only one instance of the reverse, and that occurred when the great Lord Brougham was believed to have breathed his last on the con- tinent. He was great then only as Henry Brougham, and as the electric telegraph was not at that time in use, a rumour soon grew into a fact, and every one in the House of Commons had something good to say of the great man whom they believed had gone to his long home; those who had opposed him formerly were now the first to expresst heir regret for his loss, until Daniel O'Connell rose in one of his facetious moods, and determined to laugh down those enemies who had so suddenly changed their views, and said, in a speech that was much reprobated, that from his knowledge of the English character, he believed they interpreted the old Latin phrase of De mortuis nil nisi bonum into English thus: When bad men die let us bemoan 'em." This was considered very bad taste by the House of Commons at that period, Henry Broughamhowever returned to England hale and hearty, afterwards became Lord Chancellor of England, and his whole life has proved that the eulogies passed upon his character were justly his due. Now the sixth Parliament of Queen Victoria has just died a natural death. It is very rarely that such an occurrence happens, as, owing to the many exciting subjects that for the last thirty years, at least, have been before the public, and the existence of two such powerful parties in the State, Parliaments have generally been brought to an untimely end. The late administration were blamed by many during their career for shortcomings—for not carrying out, in a more determined manner, the reforms they professed to advocate. Whether they have acted wisely in not extending the franchise, or whether it would have been more desirable to lower the conditions of it, we are not going to discuss; but, perhaps, setting aside all party feeling, and doing justice only to that administration which has succesfully battled with opponents on all sides, we may take a resume of the difficulties overcome, and of the business transacted. One of the great features of the late Parliament, then, was the intense interest which had to be directed to foreign affairs. During the last six years three great wars have taken place. First, we saw Italy formed into a kingdom-not, how- ever, without mu4h fighting. Then there was the Danish and Austro-Prussian war, through which Denmark lost a slice of her most valuable territory; and for four years the most sanguinary war has raged in America. Besides these, there has been a fruitless insurrection on the part of the Poles for freedom; and again, the kingdom of Greece, by a bloodless revolution, sent one king adrift, and after offering the throne to our young Royal sailor, Prince Alfred, elected a youthful prince in his stead, simply because he be- came intimately associated with England by marriage. Each of these momentous questions affected this country greatly, and there were not a few who believed it would be impossible for England to keep out of the different frays. France at one time caused considerable anxiety, as it was attempted to be shown that her army and navy was so superior to our own that we were not secure against invasion. Parliament, upon this occasion, represented public opinion, and vote-I many millions for the purposes of defence. An elaborate scheme of fortification was' determined on, and our navy had to be re-modelled. An entire new scheme was entered into, and the large sums which had been voted for the con- struction of new ships were, without much hesitation, sacrificed to make way for ships of entirely different material and form. The volunteer movement, which had hitherto been treated with indifference, now met with the, most flattering support from the Government; and the loyalty of the nation, when there was a belief that danger threatened our shores, was never more nobly displayed. In a very limited time an army of 100,000 men sprung, as from the soil, into existence. During the Danish, Italian, and American wars the Parliament had to use con- summate judgment and coolness on the one hand, not to allow themselves by taunts from both at home and abroad to draw the sword from its sheath and on the other, to uphold the dignity of the country, so as to show the world that whilst Eng- land could be forbearing she would not allow insults to be offered without seeking immediate redress. This was remarkably shown by. Government in the course they took in respect to the Trent- affair. In olden times it would have been almost impos- sible for England to have steered through so many difficulties without taking an active part in the several conflicts. Strict neutrality was, however, in every case exercised. We steered through the difficulties without involving ourselves in the strife, and the English people have now the in- tense satisfaction of expressing the welcome fact, that whilst other countries have become burdened with debt, we have lessened our responsibilities, and whilst our imports have been diminished our revenue has increased. This fact will of itself make the late Parliament ever memorable in history. Of Mr. Gladstone's numerous budgets we have not space to speak, suffice it to say, that the financial position of England was never in a more prosperous condition. We are not arguing whether more might not have been done to reduce the expenditure and to lessen the taxation; but for small services we are thankful, and when we find that, since 1859, 419 different kinds of commodities which were formerly subject to customs dues, are now reduced to 14; that indirect taxes have been remitted during the last six years to the large amount of zCll,000,000, and the income-tax reduced by 17,500,000, we have cause to rejoice. In 1859 the income-tax was 9d. in the pound, it is now 4d. The paper duties have been entirely taken off, and cheap literature of a high order has been afforded to the masses of the community; tea, coffee, and sugar duties have been considerably lessened, thereby affording to the people those necessaries of life at a cheaper rate. The National Debt, funded and refunded, has been diminished some X18,000,000 or 119,000,000 and the ordinary national expenditure has de- creased £ 7,000,000 in four years; and let us not forget the commercial treaty between France and England, which was carried out mainly through the influence of Mr. Cobden; this has added to the prosperity of England perhaps more than any other measure introduced into the last Parlia- ment. The originator of this international treaty is now no more, but his name coupled with the sixth Parliament of Queen Victoria will be em- blazoned on the pages of history; and though many additional measures for the good govern- ment of the country might have been introduced that have been omitted, and many acts of the past Parliament may be regretted, we must adhere to our motto, "De mortuis nil nisi bonum." Let us remember the good that has been done and forget the evil; and let us hope that the new Par- ment will increase its powers of usefulness, and improve upon the example of the past.

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