Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

because

the Irish Land Act of 1887 to the decent house, and help him to beIrish peasant, so that by a similar come the owner of it. They will process of State assistance the provide for his old age by a better artisan should be enabled to be- system than the workhouse; and come the owner of his house. they will relieve him from the The Unionist Government con- competition of that crowd of ferred this" enormous, this un- foreign paupers whom we have no paralleled boon" upon the Irish; right to support while our own and why should it not be con- countrymen are starving. ferred upon the English by the We have quoted from this same hands ? On the third pro- speech of Mr Chamberlain, not posal--namely, old age pensioners because we necessarily agree with

-Mr Chamberlain only repeats everything contained in it, or bewhat has been said several times lieve that all his suggestions could by the Conservative leaders, by be adopted off-hand without Lord Salisbury and Sir Michael mature consideration; nor yet Hicks-Beach-namely, that in the because we suppose him to have matter of outdoor relief we ought exhausted the programme of social to distinguish between the thrifty improvement to be expected from and industrious poor, whose failure Conservatives : but

it to provide for their old age has points to a great truth, which all been due to no fault of their own, recent history illustrates-namely, and the lazy loafer who has never that measures of this nature can done a good day's work in his life. only be carried out by a political Some reform of the Poor Law party which considers the objects based on this distinction is likely of them to be of primary importto be among the first things un- ance in themselves, and does not dertaken by a Conservative Gov- subordinate them to political and ernment. Of Mr Chamberlain's ecclesiastical revolutions which fourth article some restriction, must necessarily block the way for namely, upon the influx into this years. Between 1874 and 1879 country of pauper aliens

Lord Beaconsfield's Government also warranted in saying that it is passed fifteen measures for the one which meets with the approval amelioration of the labouring poor, of the Conservative leaders. In and was publicly thanked for them regard to the hours of labour, by the labour representatives in which Mr Chamberlain would also the House of Commons. When include, there might be more dif- Mr Gladstone came into power in ference of opinion. But it is a 1880, the process stopped. When question on which the Destructives Lord Salisbury took office in 1886 are quite as much divided as their it was renewed; and when Mr opponents; and, what is more, it Gladstone returned again in 1892 is one on which the working classes it was again abandoned. Surely themselves are by no means unan- these facts, if no other, should imous. But the four measures we come home to the minds and hearts have already named will, we have of the working classes. good reason to believe, be taken In referring to the probable into immediate consideration by policy of the next Conservative the next Conservative Ministry. Administration, we are not speakThey will ensure compensation ing altogether without knowledge. without litigation to every work. In his own views in regard to ing man injured in his employer's Employers' Liability, Mr Chamberservice. They will secure him a lain declares that he is already

[ocr errors]

we are

sures

assured of the support of the Con- Employers' Liability ; Labourers' servative leaders. With regard to Dwellings; Reform of the Poor the dwellings of the poor, old age Law, so as to relieve outdoor repensions, and alien paupers, pro- lief from the various objections, posals almost identical with those both moral and economical, now atof Mr Chamberlain have been sub- taching to it, combined with State mitted to the Duke of Devonshire assistance in aid of old age penand Lord Salisbury, and by them sions; a check placed upon pauper approved. They will, in all prob- immigrants, whose numbers would ability, constitute the immediate be largely increased by Home business of the next Tory Govern- Rule; decentralisation of Metroment, and be to them what Home politan government; the equitRule was to Mr Gladstone. But able rating of personal property; the programme of social reform and the readjustment of local bursanctioned by the leaders of the dens and local expenditure throughpresent Opposition extends con- out the Metropolis. When do the siderably further than the mea- working classes expect to get such

above mentioned. Their measures as these from the Destrucattention will probably be direct- tives,—men who live only for ruin ed to some important modifica- and rapine, and who would scorn to tions in the present system of devote whole sessions to measures London municipal government, in- of mere practical utility? Again cluding, perhaps, the creation of we repeat, that if the Conservative

, several subordinate municipalities, leaders promise these things, they possibly coextensive with the met- may be relied upon to do them. ropolitan boroughs, and expressly The Gladstonian leaders will prointended for the protection of mise anything they are asked to local interests and local influence, promise; but that is only carrying now too often swamped in the coals to Newcastle, already someLondon County Council. The what overstocked with Radical Rotherhithe election and many commodities. Nothing will come other indications seem to show of that process while Home Rule that London is ripe for such a and Disestablishment are alive. change. Lord Salisbury and the But the Conservatives will have Duke of Devonshire may be ex- their hands free to carry out these pected also to take up that long- useful measures ; and of their agitated and much-needed reform anxiety and their ability to do so of local taxation, which shall com- they gave abundant proof when pel personal property to bear its they were last in office. The fair share of the local burdens. people of this country have the They will probably introduce

probably introduce choice before them. They know measures for the equalisation of best whether the measures we have rates and the division of the cost enumerated are what they want or of public improvements among the not. The Conservative policy does various interests concerned on fair not deal in blazing questions, food and equitable terms, without ex- for Hyde Park demonstrations, and torting money beforehand for ad- fustian rant. But if what the vantages which may never accrue. working man wants is plenty,

Here, then, we have seven great comfort, and security, “to eat what measures of social and adminis- he plants in safety under his own trative reform which, if we are not vine,” this programme is the one mistaken, will form the programme that he will certainly prefer. It of the next Conservative Cabinet: may be deficient in that healthy

worse.

hatred of all who are better off for labour is created by the Hall, than himself, which is the whole the Castle, or the Abbey, and what duty of man in the Radical eye. a number of people would be It may be ignoble enough to seek thrown out of work if they were rather to extinguish class ani- closed. The same thing would mosities than to fan them. But it happen in Ireland. The land will make the British workman could not support all the extra a happy man, which Home Rule, population thrown upon it; and Disestablishment, death duties, what would be their natural reand the like will never do. The

source ? Why, England, to be Conservative leaders

may
well

say sure, as she has always been. The to the English people in the words Irish labourer would flock across of Sir Robert Peel, “ Do not lightly the Channel in five times larger refuse these offers.” The merit of numbers than we have ever witthem is, that they are capable of nessed before, and pull down the being fulfilled at once. It is a price of labour in every town and cash transaction. Place the Con- village in the kingdom. What is servatives in power, and the money the use of stopping pauper immiwill be told down. No waiting gration in one direction, if we for something or somebody else, create a fresh stream of it in —till a church has been robbed another? here, or a senate sent adrift there.

But we

are threatened with These social boons will be a first something still

What charge on the Conservative estate, Home Rule would do for Ireland, and take precedence of everything it seems only too probable that else.

democratic finance will do for The Gladstonian party were England. It is impossible to read obliged for very shame to com- the speech of the Duke of Devonplete the work of their prede- shire at Buxton on the 13th of cessors in the matter of parish June, without feeling that we are councils. But if we

compare within sight of a social revolution, with the above the three dis- likely in the long-run to be scarcely tinctive notes of the Radical less disastrous than the effects even party at present, we shall see of agricultural depression. The that the working man has very Duke told his audience that if little reason to wish for its con- Sir William Harcourt's Budget tinuance in office. The ultimate passed in its present form, the object of Home Rule is the ex- long - standing relations between propriation and consequent ex- his own family and their friends, patriation of the Irish aristocracy, neighbours, and tenantry on the à policy well worthy of the De- Yorkshire and Derbyshire estates structive party. This means the must undergo a great change; that disappearance from the island of the sums annually expended by the great mass of the Irish country himself and his predecessors on gentlemen and noblemen, the clos- local objects must be seriously ing of their country houses, and curtailed, if, not entirely withthe abandonment of the soil to drawn ; that Chatsworth and Bola population of squatters. The ton must be shut up; and, in English and Scotch peasantry short, that all those things which, know very well what this would in the neighbourhood of a great signify in Great Britain. They landed proprietor, tend to beautify know well enough what a demand and enliven English country life, to

We

sweeten the intercourse between that the operation of Home Rule high and low, to encourage local in Ireland, and of the new death trades and handicrafts, to give duties in Great Britain, tend very employment to the poor, and to much to the same end, and this an exercise a wholesome influence on end which would be distinctly inthe rich, will be swept away at jurious to all the classes who live one blow.

“ Hoc Ithacus velit :” either by manual labour or local but is this what the British people trade. want?

Now let us take the third leadsay that this disastrous con- ing note of the Government policy, summation is what we are threat. Disestablishment. What can the ened with. The Conservatives are working man ever hope to gain by doing their best to avert it; and that? Of course, if the tithes the amendment to the 6th clause were taken from the Church and of the Budget proposed by Mr given to the landowner, the labourBalfour, and accepted by the Gov- er might suppose that rents would ernment, on the 15th of June, may be reduced and wages increased. perhaps go some way in that direc- But he ought to know by this time tion; and it still remains to be that any such settlement is imseen whether the hands of the possible. The tithes would be House of Lords are so completely devoted to public purposes, and tied upon money bills as it has neither the landlord nor the tenant been customary to suppose. In a would be a whit the better for it. letter written by the Duke of Rut- The clergy would be all the poorer, land to the editor of the ‘Standard, while nobody else would be any and published in that journal on the richer. The rector or vicar the 14th of June, we are reminded who had hitherto spent a large of a statement made by Mr Glad- part of his income in charity stone in 1861-namely, that the would be unable to do so any House of Lords had never, so far longer, and the working man would as he knew, “surrendered the right have lost one benefactor without of altering a bill, even though it having gained another. The relief touch a matter of finance.” And to the rates from a portion of the Mr Gladstone went on to say: tithes being devoted to local pur“If I might say for my own part, poses would be very trifling, and though anxious to vindicate the whatever it was it would not privileges of this House against benefit those from whom no rates the House of Lords where need are collected. Add to this that, may arise, yet I think the House little or much, it would be expendof Lords is right and wise in ed on objects to which the labouravoiding any formal surrender of er is totally indifferent; and we the power even of amendment in think we have said enough to cases where it might think it jus- show that he would be loser tifiable even to amend a bill relat- rather than a gainer by the spoliaing to finance.” The public are tion of the Church of England : greatly indebted to the Duke of for of course he must understand Rutland for calling attention to this, that the process, once begun this statement. But we have no in the Welsh bishoprics, would intention of pursuing the subject speedily be extended to the Engany further. We only wished to lish. point out, or to help others to Let him, then, place the two point out, to the working classes programmes side by side, and com

a

[ocr errors]

are

no more

[ocr errors]

pare what he has to expect from man to sweep away anything whatthe success of the Radicals with

ever, is one of the most ludicrous what he is likely to obtain by the ideas that ever took possession of success of the Conservatives, and the brain of a flimsy pedant. The we will cheerfully leave the issue new democracy to himself.

likely to combine for any one It seems to be assumed by a object than the whole nation is. certain class of Radical declaimers But at present they have certainly that “the English democracy," as a strong leaning in one direction, the phrase runs, is one homo- and that is towards Conservatism. geneous body, animated throughout Such nonsense as Dr Perceval's is by the same sentiments, and dis- all very well in the mouths of tinctly hostile to the existing illiterate demagogues and tub oraorder of society. Absurd as such tors. We may laugh at it in them. a theory is, it is either held or But scholars must blush to hear it assumed for party purposes by uttered by a scholar. men of education and intelligence; Very erroneous ideas prevail though notably rather by men of about the English working classes, the cloister and the gown, than distinguishing them for the moby men of the world who know ment from the Scotch, by those much about the country. Not who suppose it to be a law of long ago the head-master of one nature that the toilers should be of our great public schools, writing at war with the thinkers, and that a letter to the “Times' on the every labouring man must be a subject of Disestablishment and Radical at heart. We have althe Welsh Church, declared the ready noticed the evidence to the new democracy would rise in its contrary supplied by the two last wrath and sweep away the English general elections, so persistently Establishment as well, if the ignored by Radical theorists. But Church in Wales was still main- apart from that, why should the tained. The silliness of this lan- present generation of working men guage is only equalled by the igno- be necessarily hostile to Conserrance which it displays of the vatism ? Our towns and villages actual state of opinion. What are divided into parties just as and where is this new democracy the whole nation is. In each which is to do these great things ? there will be found a section of Why, much more than half of it the inhabitants, sometimes a mais decidedly Conservative; and its jority, sometimes only two centres are our large towns. This three individuals, discontented is the new democracy, which re- with what exists. As no human turned a Conservative majority for institution can ever be perfect, Great Britain at the two last gen- this is inevitable. It always has eral elections, and has given no been so in the past, and always evidence of having changed its will be so in the future, however mind since. This democracy is com- near we may approach to the posed of many different strata, golden age. But to confound this and represents a wide variety of sporadic discontent, which springs interests. It is no more unani- up as naturally as weeds among

or homogeneous than the the corn, with that widespread bourgeoise or the aristocracy. To sense of injustice and oppression expect this new democracy, for- which constitutes a real danger to sooth, to rise in its majesty as one society, is to fall into a grave

or

mous

« ZurückWeiter »