Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

this empire, and what skill, diligence, and laboriousness in the British people, and see the soil kept barren, and the people kept miserable, by bits of paper, yclept, acts of parliament in favour of the sinister interests, and more sinister ignorance of a privileged class, we see an omnipotence of good in the power of the legislature wherewith to overcome the disaffection of the poor. But in some quarters it is the labourers who are kept from the soil, in others it is the soil which is kept from the labourers. This system cannot last. Landed property must be made as transferable as any other property and just as an. swerable for debts. All over the three kingdoms this spectacle is seen-labourers idle-lands run to waste—food dear—and the cause, the will of an individual peer, or the selfishness of the collective aristocracy. The offence is rank and unendurable.

Never did a session end amidst more contempt. "Punch' represented the premier as the manager of a theatre, bowing: to his audience with many smiles, and announcing, Ladies and Gentlemen, with your kind permission, this farce will be repeated next session. All the journals vied with each other in jocular contempt. It was calculated that in the columns of Hansard, the session had produced a mile and a half of talk, in one thousand one hundred and seventy-six hours. If all the members had spoken as often and as long as Messrs. Urquhart and Anstey, who were accused of speaking five weeks, the session would have lasted thirty years! "Mr. Speaker, what has passed ?' asked Queen Elizabeth of Speaker Topham,

Six months, may it please your majesty. In September, had the sovereign people asked Mr. Shaw Lefevre what had passed, he might have answered, “Ten months. Mr. Urquhart has published a calculation, from which it appears, that he has occupied only a hundredth part of the talking time of the Lower House. But if every member, with an equal right, had done as much, the session would have been protracted to sixty-five months!

However, we are not going to be the dupes of the trick which makes the talkativeness of members the scapegoat of the ministry. The legislature has been marvellous in the dispatch of bills, destroying the liberty of speech, and suppressing the constitutional liberties of Ireland. But the incapacity of the administration has caused the chief waste of the public time.; Four financial statements, and four coercion bills have been discussed, and all failures and futilities. There have been debates on issuing writs to corrupt boroughs, and on three anti-bribery bills, and none of them passed; and, with only one exception, all the delinquent boroughs have escaped scot free. What endless debates were caused by the shilly-shallying of ministers

for mouth of the member

between free trade and protection respecting the West Indies ! How many hours were wasted by altercations about withheld despatches. A proposal is made to secure the dispatch of business, by depriving members of the power of moving the adjournment of the House or of the debate. This is just a gag for mouths which utter inconvenient truths. 'La cloture, wc h the Bourbons introduced into the Chamber of Deputies at the Restoration, is to be adopted, upon the recommendation of that successful statesman, M. Guizot. But, we respectfully submit, that in order to dispatch business, it were well to make business habits the qualification for members, instead of income, and thus secure men of business for the dispatch of it. For the dispatch of business, nothing could be better than trying the experiment of making a man of business, premier.

While we have been writing these pages, the news is brought of the sudden death of an active personage in the events of the session. Lord George Bentinck was walking across the meadows, near Welbeck Abbey, when death laid him down as a corpse, unwarned, unattended, unnoticed, for hours. Tall, slim, stately, and energetic, he did not seem to be a man likely to be the victim of sudden death. His dark and handsome features promised a long life. Less than three years ago, the member for King's Lynn was obscure in political life, when events and a long-hoarded indignation made him the leader of the protectionists in the House of Commons. No man had more conspicuously the quality which Napoleon admired in the Scotch Greys—he never knew when he was beaten. The nephew, the private secretary, and the warm friend of George Canning, he seized his opportunity of wreaking his vengeance upon the men he thought guilty of hounding him to death. His indigna. tion was straightforward, and even his suspicion was honest. Protectionism, in him, partook of a generous sentiment in behalf of the employment of the people. After suddenly becoming one of the most conspicuous men in political life, he suddenly disappears. He will be known no more in his place for ever. His indignation put Russell into the place of Peel. As a legislator, his influence was evil, and his influence on our history, has injured his country. Surely, his remarkable lot warns us all, impressively, to engage in no career in which we should not wish our mortal to put on immortality.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Sketches of the Last Naval War. Translated from the French of Captain

E. Julien de la Gravière. By the Hon. Captain Plunkett, R.N.

In 2 vols. 12mo. London: Longman and Co. THESE volumes consist of a translation of some articles which appeared originally in the • Revue des deux Mondes,' a literary work of similar repute in France, to the Edinburgh and Quarterly Re. views in our own country. They constitute a remarkable production, and are entitled to very considerable praise. Our Gallican neighbours have not been distinguished by a generous appreciation of opponents, and their historical writings have in consequence, ex. hibited a marvellous, and if such thing may be-a most amusing disregard of truth. The Histories of M. Thiers are, in many instances, pure fiction, and serve rather to exhibit the anti-English passions of the author, than to detail the facts he professes to narrate. In this respect he is but an example of bis countrymen, embittered, it may be, by the mortification a sense of defeat in his knavish policy has inflicted. From this epidemic the work before us is free, which is the more remarkable, as our obvious superiority in naval tactics, was specially adapted to wound tbe pride of our too sensitive neighbours. Warmly attached to his own country, and alive to whatever compromises her fame, the author is yet ready to do justice to the gallantry and skill of her most successful enemies. His pages, consequently, are not only free from the distortions and pure fiction which disgrace the writings of M. Thiers, but evince a generous appreciation of the English commanders, by whom the navy of France was nearly annibilated. He writes for the instruction of his countrymen, not for the gratification of their vanity. His object is to correct the defects of their system, and thus to guard them from the repetition of disasters similar to those of St. Vincent, the Nile, and Trafalgar, rather than to pander to their national pre. judices. Such an object is worthy of an enlightened patriotism, and the example should be imitated by our own writers. Our naval authorities may learn much from the reasonings of M. de la Gravière, though we hope the period is far distant, when the proofs of their having done so will be furnished. He does not profess to give a formal history of the last war, but rather to trace a spirited and graphic sketch of its chief naval events, viewed in connexion with their causes.' The career and tactics of Nelson are, therefore, the most prominent objects of his work, and the English reader will be much gratified by the light in wbich these are exhibited.

Captain Plunkett has done good service by rendering these volumes into English, the value of which would not have beer.

diminished had the latter part of his Introduction been omitted. There is bad taste, and much untruthfulness in his attack on Mr. Cobden. It will be well for professional men to bear in mind, that the time is past when such distortion and abuse can avail with our countrymen. The present labours of the member for the West Riding, will not be esteemed the less because naval and military officers denounce them. The cry of the workmen of Ephesus will not be mistaken for the voice of an oracle.

Plain Facts for the People, in relation to the Tithes and Revenues of the · Church. By J. Henry Tillett. 8vo. pp. 26. London: B. L. Green. An admirable and most timely pamphlet, which ought to be in the hands of every reflecting Englishman. It is at once calm and im. passioned, evincing extensive research, sound judgment, and clear views, combined with a gentlemanly bearing and forcible style. We have very seldom read a production on any controverted point which has afforded us such unmixed satisfaction. The temper of the pamphlet is worthy of its logic, and the latter is of a high order. Mr. Tillett's object is, not to furnish a treatise on church property, .but merely to show that those propositions, which to some cburcbmen appear so startling, can be sustained by arguments, the cogency of which they must admit, though they recoil from the consequences involved in them.' With this design, he traces the history of church property, shows, beyond all question, its originally tri-partite division, and reduces ils present holders to the alternative of admitting their parliamentary title, or of confessing to a misappropriation of their trust. The authorities adduced are of the highest order, and such as churchmen are especially bound to defer to, while the spirit in which the argument is conducted, is most courteous and admirable. The conclusions arrived at are briefly these, and we commend them, with the authorities and reasonings by which they are sustained, to the consideration of every candid man :

1st. “That there is no warrant or authority in Scripture, to justify the employment of the civil power in making a legal and compulsory exaction from the people, for the maintenance of the ministers of religion.

2. That the practice of the Church of England, in respect to endowments, is at variance with the apostolical and primitive churches, which it professes to imitate.'

3. “That the tithes and church lands never were designed for the personal benefit of the clergy, but that they are only trustees, and, as such, have misapplied the funds entrusted to them.'

4. •That the Protestant clergy have not only possessed themselves of the endowments conferred for Catholic purposes ; but have, contrary to the original design of tithes, cast upon the people the burden of repairing the churches, and maintaining the poor.'

5. That the legislature has full power at any time to resume these endowments, which it has conferred upon the church, and to apply them for the general good of the whole nation.'

The Works of John Jewel, Bishop of Salisbury. Edited for the Parker

Society by the Rev. John Ayre, M.A. Vols. I. and II. These volumes, as their title-pages indicate, are issued by the Parker Society, and will be welcomed by a large class of readers. Bishop Jewel was one of the best men of bis day, and did more than most others to uphold the Protestant Reformation against the bitter assaults to which it was exposed. His Apology is the work now best known, but everything he wrote is deserving of attentive perusal, and will be found to throw much light on the condition of religious opinion and parties in his day. No productions could be more appropriate to the Parker Society, whether it be regarded as a protestant, or an anti-Puseyite, institute. We thank the Council for their selection, and shall be glad, when the promised Life appears, to present our readers with a detailed account of the history and writings of this distinguished man. We content ourselves at present with stating, that these volumes contain the Challenge Sermon of the bisbop, his correspondence with Dr. Cole, the controversy with Harding, the Exposition upon the Epistles to the Thessalonians, Various sermons, and the Treatise of the Sacraments. These are printed from the edition of 1611, collated with several others, and have been edited with considerable pains, Two other volumes are to follow, which will be enriched with a general index and memoir. We hail the work as invaluable and most appropriate. Its appearance is opportune, and will serve to revive a study wbich has been too much neglected. In selecting our ground of opposition to the contemplated endowment of the catholic clergy of Ireland, we must be careful not to suppress our protest against popery. Protestant dissenters are the only parties who can enter on this controversy with clean hands, and on them, therefore, it especially devolves at once to mark their hostility to all state-endowments of religion, and their utter reprobation of the spirit and dogmas of the papacy. A diligent study of the popish controversy is called for by the times, andwill form an admirable auxiliary in the contest that is approaching

The Modern Orator. Charles James Fox. Part XVIII. London:

Aylott and Jones. We have had frequent opportunities of noticing this work, and our report has been uniformly favourable. Few modern productions of the press have afforded us more real gratification,mainly on the ground of its own merits, but partly, perhaps, because we had long pondered over a similar work, and had, in part, resolved to undertake it. Such a publication was much needed. The existing state of political science called for it, and the condition of our public affairs rendered the information it furnishes pre-eminently desirable and important. The popular mind of our country has recently been roused to action, and the wisdom of its VOL. XXIV.

NN

« НазадПродовжити »