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In that last hour,
With sudden dread,
No error then-
But each shall know,
For God above,
All held their breath
- Victoria gone,”
And if with tears
-Respect the dead !
For this we know,
Edw. H. HORNE.
VOL, CLVI.-NO. DCCCCXLVII.
SESSION OF 1894.
The defeat of the Evicted Ten- We have maintained all along that ants Bill on the 14th of August, if they had really been in earnest and the withdrawal of the Eight about placing any of their measures Hours Bill on the next day, were on the Statute Book before Parliaappropriately followed by the Min- ment was prorogued, they would isterial Whitebait dinner, which never have acted as they did. They took place on the evening of the have had two strings to their bow 15th. That the revival of the throughout; and what occurred banquet scandalised the saints, during the last few weeks of the may easily be believed. But after session abundantly confirms what their long and stormy voyage, we wrote at the very beginning “rolled to starboard, rolled to lar- of it. board,” Ministers, no doubt, felt Parliament, after a recess of only that they had a right to take their a few days' duration, reassembled ease in their inn, and to make up on the 12th of March 1894. They with champagne and burgundy for had at that time been sitting with the very small beer to which they had very brief intervals from the belately been accustomed. The ses- ginning of February 1893, and the sion was virtually over. All talk fatigue had told severely on both of prolonging it into September sides of the House. It was felt to had died away.
Ministers had be impossible that the experiment apparently made
their minds should be repeated, and it was that of the two evils between thought probable therefore that which they had to choose—the sac- Government would undertake no rifice of certain measures to which more than could be conveniently they nominally stood pledged, and performed between the middle of the prolongation of the session a March and the middle of August. second time so far beyond its Never was a greater mistake. usual limits—the latter was the When the Queen's Speech apgreater; and they wisely resolved peared it was found to be loaded to cut a knot which they found it to the brim with measures of a impossible to untie, and terminate most contentious character, some parliamentary business at an early of which would have required, even date. This is how the situation under ordinary circumstances, a presents itself to the cursory spec- whole session to themselves; how tator. But there is a good deal much more so when the House was more behind it, which must be already worn out with a session of dragged into the light of day be- exorbitant length, separated only fore we can give a clear view of by a few days from the one just the session which has just closed. commencing, and when GovernWhen we speak of the Government ment had in their pocket a Budget having resolved on this or that of so monstrous and mischievous a course of action, we must not be character as must certainly monunderstood to mean that the result opolise more than half the time was due to any sudden or even they had at their command. And recent determination. The two so it proved : the Finance Bill alternatives must have been before occupied the whole time of the them even as long ago as when House from the 16th of April to they framed the Queen's Speech. the 17th of July. With this
prospect before them, what could ted Tenants Bills, Factories Bills, be the intention with which ex- Conciliation Bills, had all perished perienced statesmen represented in the crush, and only the Equalisher Majesty as recommending to ation of Rates Bill and the Scotch the attention of Parliament a Local Government Bill were found list of ten measures, of which to have survived the ordeal. seven at least were of first-class At the end of July eight or ten importance, while two out of the nights in hand would have been
involved fundamental invaluable to the Government. change in the constitution; all They might, in that case, have this work presumably to be com- been saved, if they wished it, from pleted by a
à jaded Parliament in the necessity of invoking the closa short session, of which three- ure, and time enough might have fifths was to be occupied with a been found for the adequate consweeping financial revolution ! sideration of the Evicted Tenants
The outburst of astonishment, Bill, and the elaboration of some incredulity, and ridicule which this compromise which the Unionist announcement immediately pro- party could accept. These eight voked was not lost upon Ministers, or ten nights they might have had, who found it necessary to descend and more too, could they have a little from the high ground stooped to anything so commonthey had assumed, and to put a place as cutting their coat accordsomewhat different colour on the ing to their cloth. Four whole Queen's Speech. So Lord Rose. nights were given up to the bery, with his usual felicity, chris- Registration Bill; three to the tened the policy of the Govern- Conciliation Bill; one to Welsh ment a policy of indication. The Disestablishment; half a one was
ention of these measures, he said, thrown away on the statement of did not imply that Government public business, made so needlessly meant to carry them; they merely aggressive by Sir William Harsindicated” à tone of thought, a court,—when an hour in ordinary general bias, in a particular direc- cases would have been sufficient; tion. Unhappily, however, this and, as a necessary consequence, shadowy policy proved substantial as much more was obliged to be enough to cause very considerable devoted to the debate on the delay in the proceedings of the closure resolution, which never House of Commons. The Welsh need have occurred at all had Liberationists did not at all like Government managed their busibeing told that Disestablishment ness in a practical manner with a was only something towards which view to actual legislation, and not the party might be gravitat- with an ulterior object which is ing. The Scotch Nonconformists now universally recognised. thought the same. The English For, after all, was actual legisRadicals had to swallow a similar lation ” what they really wanted ? explanation, which they did with One is obliged to criticise their very wry faces; and when the end conduct partly on the supposition came it was found that of the that it was, and partly on the supwhole number of measures enume position that it was not. Did they rated in the Speech from the wish the Evicted Tenants Bill to Throne, only two retained a spark pass the Lords ? We have already of vitality. Registration Bills, answered this question. They did Scotch and Welsh Disestablish- not care. That we believe to be ment Bills, Local Veto Bills, Evic- the true state of the case. If
they passed the bill in its original will find himself confronted with form, they satisfied the Irish. If three distinct parties, all clamourthe House of Lords threw it out, ing for precedence — the Welsh they had a new cry. One result Liberationists, the Irish Nationalwas almost as useful as the other. ists, and the English Radicals. But our own impression is that of The Welsh have been promised the the two they preferred the latter. first place, and have only refrained And th whole
of the frd open opposition on that unsession seems to show that they derstanding. But the other two have been, and are still, playing parties seem evidently prepared to for a good Radical cry in England, contest it with them, and to dejust holding the Irish in hand the mand priority for a new Eviction while by as much as will keep Bill and a declaration of body and soul together. Whether against the Lords. Sir W. Har. their allegiance will stand the court has five months to constrain much longer, or share the sider how best he can reconcile fate of Duncan M'Girdie's mare, these rival claimants, or which he is a question we need not enter on can prefer without provoking the at present.
open hostility of the others. They It is absolutely necessary to put have all threatened it: and our these things carefully on record own opinion is that they will keep before they are forgotten, since their word. that no House of Commons has One party, certainly, has been ever experienced such treatment heavily bribed, and has got good from any Government before from value for its silence.
We mean the Revolution downwards. Every the Ultra-English Radicals repreparty in turn except one has been sented by Mr Labouchere. But used as a catspaw, and, if we do even they are not satisfied. They not mistake, has found the chest- have got the death duties. But nuts scalding hot. In return for that is only an instalment. Sir their complaisance, Government W. Harcourt is not suspected of has given them "a bias” to chew, any sneaking tenderness for Lord like a quid of tobacco to stay Rosebery. But his language on the pangs of hunger. They have the subject of the House of Lords not seemed to find it a very will have to be different next palatable process; and when the session, if he is to retain the contime comes for repeating it, as fidence of this suspicious clique. come it must, since Government The Radicals must always be can only do one thing at a time, exposed to disappointments of this we shall watch the effect with kind as long as they retain for curiosity. Ministers may
whose secret gratulate themselves on their tem- sympathies are all with the exporary success in silencing the isting order of society, as Sir discordant sections. But they William Harcourt's are very well have only been laying up for known to be. That he will go
all themselves a store of trouble in lengths if it is absolutely necessary the future. It is quite clear from to the retention of office is no the discontent which broke out doubt equally certain. But he again during the last few days will go no farther than he need, of Supply, that the Ministerial and no faster than he can help. arrangements for next session are At the age of sixty-seven a cynical in danger of serious interruption. patrician, imbued with all the inThe Chancellor of the Exchequer stincts and sympathies of his own
class, cannot be expected to be of the Registration and Disestabvery much in love with democracy, lishment Bills; and having this or very much in earnest about task laid upon him, we would not destroying established institutions. deny that he piloted the bill That he should profess great zeal through the House with some in the cause is essential to his boldness and dexterity. But what safety ; but it is in the secret hope may redound to his credit for the that it will fail. Indeed he and moment as a parliamentary tacMr Labouchere remind us of no tician will lower his reputation so much
as Jem Ratcliffe for life as an English statesman. and Mr Sharpitlaw in the Heart It has not hitherto been the cusof Mid-Lothian.' Sir William Har- tom for English Ministers to force court has taken service with the measures upon Parliament to serve Radicals, but he has no goodwill a temporary purpose which they to the job, and he has to be kept knew could not stand the test of up to the collar pretty tightly by experience, and were certain, therethe Sharpitlaws below the gang- fore, to be repealed or remodelled way. He can fool his own party to at no distant date. What Mr the top of their bent by passing Gladstone's successor has really measures which the House of Lords done is to plunge our whole finanwill reject; and then, when they cial system into the direst condo reject them, he can make fusion, and to leave to his own additional capital out of his well- successor a legacy of difficulties feigned indignation at seeing the which he had neither the resoluwill of the people overidden. tion nor the ability to face him
The Radicals, however, have self. The death duties cannot given him a taste of their quality, possibly remain upon their present which no doubt he has taken well footing; and to undo the mischief to heart. No sooner had he be- of which Sir William Harcourt come leader of the House of has been guilty will cost far more Commons than he was defeated trouble than would have sufficed on the Address, and told to take to find the money by some other it back again and write a new
There is no ingenuity, When a man meekly sub- no economic science, displayed in mits to have his nose pulled, it Sir W. Harcourt's way of raising does not augur well for his the wind. It is perfectly simple. success in any very arduous un- The victorious general who levies dertaking. But Sir W. Harcourt a requisition on a conquered town was given to understand pretty has just as much right to call plainly that he would have to himself a great financier. undergo the operation a second The Budget Bill was read a first time, and take back his Budget time in the House of Lords on the as well, if he didn't obey his mas- 19th of July, a second time on the ters. This is the secret of the 26th, and a third time on Monday death duties. A vigorous back- the 30th. It is not our business handed blow at the landed pro- on this occasion to discuss the prietors would secure the support provisions of the measure one by of the Radicals for his financial That has already been done scheme, and this, if successful, once for all in an article which we would wipe out the moral effect published last May, and which was of his defeat on the Address. The first criticism that laid bare with Something had to be done also to startling plainness the gross undwarf in the public eye the loss fairness of the Bill. With regard