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Mr Disraeli in 1867 is to serve as on the 14th of November, when a model for this prodigious de- he made this astounding reference claration, the herald of
to the resolutions of 1867 ? Did revolution. As one of the bases he really fail to see the extraof his coming Reform Bill, Mr ordinary blunder he was making, Disraeli asked the House to recog- or did he think that the public nise that it is “contrary to the would never find it out, and that constitution of this realm to give the argument, at all events, was to any one class or interest a pre- good enough for the people of dominating power over the rest of Glasgow ? "It comes virtually to the community”; and Lord Rose- this: that the Lords must be bery at Glasgow crows like a ban- crushed because the people are tam over this immense discovery, predominant, and that the people feeling that he has them, then, must fight because the Lords are at last, these Tories! Here they predominant! Did mortal man stand convicted out of their own ever hear any great public quesmouths, 'the villains ! He thanks tion treated with such careless them for these words, which he levity as this? proposes speedily to make his own. If a resolution of
kind ever He
may if he pleases. But he had is passed by the House of Comreally better think of something mons, the Lords will certainly not else before he speaks again. Why, be deterred by it from asserting the very reason given by Lord their co-ordinate jurisdiction on Rosebery himself and many other all constitutional questions. We Radicals for meddling with the have already noticed Lord RoseHouse of Lords is that the two bery's reliance on the fact that last Reform Bills have placed all it cannot be rubbed out, which political power in the hands of reminds more of
old Mr the working class. This is their Weller's style of reasoning than constant boast. It is this one of any other. But when all due class which now possesses
a pre- weight has been allowed to this dominating power over the rest important point, will it afford the of the community." The
any leverage in their evil which Mr Disraeli's resolution appeal to the country! We do was intended to prevent, Lord not believe that it will help them Rosebery's resolution would only one atom. The popular verdict aggravate. In the absence of the will be determined by the nature House of Lords, the working class of the particular question on which would be not only predominant the collision has occurred, and not but absolute. Lord Rosebery is
on any abstract principle. If this not, generally speaking, dull; and alone were at stake we should have he is, occasionally, witty. But at no doubt whatever of the result. Glasgow his wit was spoiled by Lord Salisbury's speech in reply to his temper. Under the sting of the Prime Minister, to which we Lord Salisbury's sarcasms, bis at- have already referred so often, detempts at repartee became noth- livered at Edinburgh on the 30th of ing but a shrill tu quoque, the last October, began with the very perresource of injured boyhood. Whe- tinent remark that the House of ther Lord Rosebery's tongue was in Lords is now the only channel his cheek on the occasion quoted by through which the voice of Great the noble Marquis we will not un- Britain can be heard, because in dertake to say; but where was it the House of Commons it is either
gagged by the Government or sibly prevent the Ministry from swamped by the Irish: and he proceeding very rapidly with the asks, as in other words Mr Cham- House of Lords question. Lord berlain asked also, whether it is Rosebery would prefer a second likely that the people of Great chamber if he could get it, but Britain will destroy an institution shrinks from any attempt to dewhich has existed for centuries, fine its powers.
As for the veto, and is even now the sole repre- he can neither do with it nor withsentative and protector of their out it. He knows that without it own interests, merely to place his so-called check would be a their necks under the hoof of the farce, and his senate a nonentity; Home Rulers, and intrust the and that with it the existence of government of England and Scot- a second chamber would be even land to the inhabitants of the south more exasperating to the Radicals and west of Ireland. Of course than it is now, as clothed with they will do nothing of the kind. new sanctions and having a fresh Lord Rosebery challenged this lease of life. description of the Government ma- It seems to us that if this first jority, asking why it should not step is really to be the inaugurabe called a Welsh majority, or a tion of that great struggle which Scotch majority, as
Lord Rosebery, Lord Salisbury, We will tell him why. and Mr Balfour seem equally to Because it is an open secret that anticipate, it matters very little many Welsh and Scotch Radicals as what the Resolution is. Great well as English disliked the Home as will be the responsibility of Rule Bill and the Evicted Ten- the statesman who takes the first ants Bill as much as the Unionists, plunge, the manner of doing it, and would never have supported it the preliminary skirmish - is of but to save the Government from comparatively small importance. resignation. The Government was A bill would certainly have to be coerced by the Irish, and the mem
introduced at an early period of bers in question by the Govern- the contest, and then we should be ment. They were obliged to vote face to face with the dilemma inagainst their consciences to satisfy dicated by Lord Rosebery. Lord the Irish, in order to save the Min- Rosebery tells us that the Lords istry. If this is not being under would never pass a bill for their the yoke of the Brigade we know own degradation, and that the not what is.
country at large would never conIt was said at the time that sent to a revolution. Then how they would not have supported is the struggle to be carried on? Home Rule even on this account, If by “revolution ” Lord Rosebery had they not been sure of its re- means anything in the nature of a jection by the House of Lords. coup d'état by which the House of If that was so, can we desire a Lords was forcibly suppressed, we better illustration of the service quite agree with him.
We are a which the Ilouse of Lords is cap- long way from anything of that able of rendering to the House of kind in England. And the conCommons? The reluctant Radicals sequences which followed on the either bowed to the dictation of first and last attempt of the kind the Irish, or they accepted salva- are not such as to encourage & tion from the Lords. Some con- repetition of it. The House of sciousness of this truth may pos- Commons in 1649 voted the aboli
tion of the House of Lords, and back to what immediately followed immediately afterwards the aboli- the Reform Bill of 1832, and seetion of the monarchy. But this ing that the prophecies of ruin was only accomplished
which were then so rife have not power of the sword, which at no yet been fulfilled, should hug themlong interval was turned against selves in the belief that the alarm themselves; and the
now sounded by friends of the powerful assembly fell without a Constitution will prove to have struggle at the nod of an absolute been equally premature, and that dictator.
they are at liberty to turn round We are to assume, then, that the and go to sleep again. To all such struggle is to be carried on by persons as these—and we are afraid agitation, and that the whole their name is Legion—we can only country is to be a prey to it till such give one piece of advice, and that time as either the Radicals are ex- is to read Mr Balfour's speech at hausted, or a volume of opinion Sunderland on the 14th of last is set rolling against the House of month. There they will find set Lords sufficient either to make it before them, with all the clearness give way, or induce the Sovereign and conciseness they could wish, to swamp it by the creation of
the true character of the present new Peers.
Nothing but the im- epoch, and wherein 1894 differs mediate prospect of a civil war from 1834. Within the last ten would be held to justify such a years, he says, a marked change measure; and our own conviction has occurred in the policy and is, that long before it came to that practice of what is still called the the good sense of the people would Liberal party, though in our own interpose, and a general election opinion the change dates really restore the constitutional party to not from 1885 but from 1865. power. But, at all events, the But that by the by. Since 1885, House of Commons would never then, we have seen the developbe allowed to take the question ment of three separate attacks on into its own hands exclusively. the unity of the Empire, the EsThe constitution of this country tablishment of the Church, and can only be changed by constitu- the authority of the House of tional means; and for one branch Lords. We have now, says Mr of the Legislature to arrogate to Balfour, to face the fact that one itself the right of dictating to the of the two great parties in the other two is a mere usurpation, State is committed to deferring which would certainly recoil on every other question, be it political the aggressor as it did before. or be it social, to these three great
It is not wonderful that in a constitutional revolutions. By such country like England, accustomed leaps and bounds has Radicalism so long to see the stream of politi- advanced within only the last nine cal and social progress flow along years. Nor is this all. The like a broad and tranquil river, of unity of the Empire, the Estabwhich the current, though strong, lished Church, and the hereditary steady, and continuous, is so smooth House of Parliament have been as to be scarcely perceptible—it is threatened before. But threatnot wonderful that England should ened by whom? By O'Connell, be slow. to believe that we are ap- by Miall, by private members proaching the rapids. Neither is of Parliament only. But these init wonderful that men, looking stitutions are now assailed by the Ministers of the Crown, and bills What is to happen when the for the destruction of them are a Church, the aristocracy, and the first charge upon the Government. Empire have been sacrificed to the That is the difference between our exigencies of an unscrupulous polown epoch and the period succeed- itical ambition ? When a bonfire ing the first Reform Bill. But let has been made of the Constitution, this be noted also, that even at this where is the next supply of fuel to last-mentioned period these great come from? The Radical capitalinstitutions were believed to be ists of Glasgow must wriggle unin imminent danger, not merely easily in their seats sometimes by such men as Croker, and Raikes, when this question occurs to them. and Wetherell, but by the Duke Lord Rosebery, Mr Balfour, and of Wellington, by Sir Robert Peel, Mr Asquith have been the chief and even by Lord Melbourne him- speakers on Disestablishment; and self: and who shall say that these as it is now understood that Welsh statesmen were mistaken? But Disestablishment stands first on what was it that averted the dan- the paper for next session, we may ger, and enables the country now to glance for a moment at what they say that no evil effects have fol- each have to say about the subject lowed from 1832? Why, the very in general. Lord Rosebery's treatsame fusion between the Conserv- ment of it is eminently characteratives and the Constitutional Lib- istic. He tries to squeeze himself erals which is now in process out of his famous dictum about between the Conservatives and the the Scotch manses, just as he did Liberal Unionists. If the country out of his very infelicitous recogniwould avert the great danger tion of “the predominant partner.” which approached us sixty years But he has only wedged himself ago, and is now again lowering on into it more tightly than ever. the horizon, they must support this For the purpose of Disestablishfusion at the next general election ment he requires evidence to in no faint-hearted manner.
show that the Scotch Established Equally desirable is it that the Church is not a National Church ; people of this country should mark and he finds it in the alleged fact their sense of the new method of that the residences of the Scotch procedure described by Mr Balfour, clergy are so many Tory agencies. and which he also seems to date And then he says that he does from 1885. And though it can not use this fact as an argument clearly be traced back to 1867, no for Disestablishment ! For the doubt the most flagrant example third or fourth time we are obliged of it is Mr Gladstone's adoption to repeat that Lord Rosebery has of Home Rule. The method is not sat at Mr Gladstone's feet for described by Mr Balfour in these nothing. If a man has committed few words:
murder, and the weapon with “If whenever the Liberal party, or
which the crime was committed any party, merely because it happened is found in his pocket, it is the to suit their electoral convenience, merest quibble to say that the fact were going to place in the forefront is no argument for hanging him. of their programme the destruction of Lord Rosebery puts it down one or other of the great institutions
the leading delinquency in of this country, then he said that the English democracy had got a perilous the Scotch Establishment, which path to tread, and'it behoved it to look proves her to merit decapitation, well where it placed its footsteps."
that the manses are Conservative that purpose.
strongholds. How he distinguishes ment to the Opposition to force a this from saying that the principles dissolution; and it may be that of the clergy are a reason for dis- before the end of next session opestablishing the Church, he will portunities will not be wanting. perhaps explain to us on another The disestablishment of the occasion. So far, he has only gone Church of England in Wales is, from bad to worse, because he however, to be proceeded with; gave us at Glasgow a careful ex- and on this subject we have planation of his meaning, which the valuable assistance of Mr he had been able to think over Asquith. This eminent lawyer, beforehand; and instead of weak- however, can do no more than ening the effect of what he said at improve upon the stale old falseEdinburgh, he has only clinched it. hood that the estates of the
Scotch Disestablishment, then, is Church were given to her by Parpostponed for the present, though liament, and that Parliament can Lord Rosebery, who is great on resume them at pleasure. We have the virtue of sincerity, promises never heard that Parliament had a to introduce a bill without doing right to resume at pleasure even anything to carry it, just to what it actually did give, such, for show he is in earnest. He is instance, as the Blenheim or Strathfrank enough, however, to tell the fieldsaye estates; but that it has Scotch Liberationists that they any right to take what it didn't must not look for much till Scot- give is a new doctrine. The simple land returns as large a proportion truth is this. These estates were of members in favour of Disestab- given to the Church for the suplishment as Wales. As this comes port of the Anglican religion. virtually to the same thing as Sir She holds them in trust for Robert Walpole's famous answer
And it is only to the English Dissenters, we on the assumption that she is should imagine that these young no longer capable of carrying out men went away sorrowful. The the trust that the State has any Forfarshire election will certainly right to interfere. Mr Gladstone not restore their cheerfulness. himself has denied that this arguThe victory of Mr Ramsay was ment is good against the Church largely due to the Radical attack in Wales : if it was not good upon the Church, and Lord Rose- twenty years ago, it is certainly bery's demand for a flowing tide much worse now; and if it is of opinion in favour of Scotch not good for Wales, it certainly is Disestablishment is immediately not for England. The position answered by a signal which pro- of the Church, both in England claims it decidedly on the ebb. and Wales, may vary from year Instead of any increase in the to year and from century to cennumber of Scotch members pledged tury. The struggle that she is to Disestablishment, the Govern- waging must necessarily be flucment have begun to lose those tuating. But is she or is she not, which they already have. And upon the whole, administering her the process will not end with trust efliciently? If she is, by Forfarshire. Reluctant as Minis- what right is she deprived of her ters have been all along to dissolve property? If not, that property Parliament, they will be still more can only be devoted to the next reluctant now. On the other hand, nearest purpose, and cannot certhere is proportionate encourage- tainly be diverted to secular uses.