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powerful personality of Mr Glad- and dishonestly in which case stone, the exclusion of the Liberal they are at least discreditable party from power seems likely to allies), had up to 1886 continuously be indefinitely prolonged-unless, preached and striven for the separaindeed, the leaders adequately re tion of Ireland from Great Britain, cognise the transformation of the and the dismemberment of the emold into the new Liberalism, and pire. All this goes for nothing adapt their policy to the require with the disciples of the "the new ments of the people.” The process Liberalism," which, although, acthus recommended by Mr Atherley- cording to Ir Atherley-Jones, "it Jones would seem to be difficult of is becoming increasingly dificult accomplishment, if, as he elsewhere to find men of wealth or men of
official Liberalism is culture and leisure to espouse it,” completely out of touch with the appears to be able to afford to deaspirations and aims of modern spise its “official leaders," and to Liberal thought." These reflec- give them a plain warning to "set tions upon the occupants of the their house in order." Yet when front Opposition, bench, with Dr this gentleman tells us that the Gladstone at their head, appear to weakness of that section of the bear out the account of the “de- Opposition which is “of an ultraplorable state of disorganisation” democratic typo" lies in its "want of which the writer had previously of leadership,” he does not perceive complained. No better proof of that this is a natural result of the such an unhappy condition of present position of affairs, in which affairs
can be given than that the tail of the Radical dog has been a gentleman who extols the wagging the head until it has "powerful personality” of Mr almost persuaded itself that the Gladstone, and speaks of the positions of the two should be re“personal loyalty” to that states- versed. The loquacious nonentiman which prevails among his fol. ties below the gangway have talked lowers, should in the same breath themselves into the belief that pronounce his trusted leader and their former leaders are altogether his more immediate friends to be behind the times, and that no "completely out of touch with leader is worthy of confidence the aspirations and airs of modern who does not immediately swallow Liberal thought.” It is indeed all the crotchets which in their somewhat hard, and savours not monotonous clap-trap they declare a little of ingratitude, that this to be part of "the requirements of should be the description of the the people.” Some of these men great statesman who, in order to have, indeed, a glib tongue, and keep abreast with the demands are capable (as the House of Comof “ modern Liberal thought,” has mons knows to its cost) of declaimcast to the winds the first prin- ing at tedious and almost interciples of political economy in his minable length upon the particular legislation for Ireland, caused the crotchet which they have made plighted faith of Parliament to the their own. They are still better purchasers of Irish property to be hands at the task of plying deliberately broken, and finally Ministers with perpetual questions allied himself with the men who, (many of which are upon subjects either sincerely and honestly in of little or no public interest), at which case they were traitors to the criticising with weary prolixity constitution), or else insincerely estimates which they imperfectly
understand, and in ferreting out character. No later than the 16th and occupying the time of the August, Mr Labouchere, in the House of Commons with griev- discussion of the Civil Service ances of a local or trivial character. Estimates, gave an example of his But for any display of statesman- inability to appreciate the responlike qualities, or a capacity for sibility of a member of Parliament, leadership, we may look in vain, and his want of decency in confor no such recommendations will ducting parliamentary discussion, be found among the self-sufficient, which proves to demonstration the impertinent, and talkative "no- unfitness for leadership of this selfbodies” who rail at the leaders constituted leader of the " new whom they are unable to replace. Liberalism." Being angered, forMore than this, the audacious as sooth, because his silly and baseless sumption of quasi leadership by insinuations of an understanding men totally unfitted for the posi- between the Britich Government tion, and the continual interfer- and the Governments of Germany, ence in debates by men of neither Italy, and Austria, as against wisdom nor eloquence, but without France and Russia, were not sufficient modesty to recognise answered with sufficient consideratheir own incapacity, have had tion towards so eminent a politician a tendency to lower the tone of as himself, Mr Labouchere roundly parliamentary discussion, and to accused Lord Salisbury of “hatred” inflict upon the House of Commons towards France, and of having frequent scenes of disorder and * grossly insulted” that country almost riot, which have been upon a recent occasion, greatly derogatory to its character France happened to be a repubas a legislative assembly.
lic.” It was scarcely necessary for It is unnecessary to refer to any the First Lord of the Treasury to particular scene of this description, state that there was “not one and indeed the whole subject is atom of foundation” for the insoone upon which a lover of repre- lent allegation of Mr Labouchere. sentative government does not No one who knows the man will care to dwell.
But the tone and treat his insinuations and accusalanguage which now prevail in the tions, 'otherwise than with House of Commons are continually tempt, but unfortunately it is not such as would disgrace a rowdy those who know him who are alone election meeting. Some of the reached by such speeches. They Irish Nationalists, indeed, habit- become mischievous when circuually use language, especially to-lated amongst and read by the wards the Chief Secretary for masses, and in this respect they Ireland and every one connected are important, not because the with the administration of the law position and character of Mr in Ireland, which is not only vul- Labouchere are such as to give gar and insolent, but in some cases weight to his utterances, but beà cowardly abuse of their privileges cause the Radical rank and file as members of Parliament. But below the gangway have investit is not only from Irish Nation- ed him with a certain fictitious alists, excited by the supposed importance by suffering him to wrongs of their country and the pose as their leader whenever the incarceration of several of their more experienced views of Mr own number, that language is Gladstone have inclined to an unheard of an utterly indefensible welcome moderation. On the very
same evening Mr Labouchere gave close of his article, Mr Atherleyanother proof of his unfitness for Jones condescends to a partial exleadership by his insult to the planation of those "requirements officials of the British Museum, of the people" to which it was whose salaries had to be voted. necessary that the policy of “offi. Some of these gentlemen had been cial Liberals” should be adapted. employed, out of office hours, as As to " Welsh disestablishment, experts in handwriting in connec taxation of ground-rents, and abotion with the Parnell Commission, lition of primogeniture and entail," and as this was contrary to Mr we are told that these are all Labouchere's views of propriety, "valuable reforms,” but “not cal. he remarked that these gentlemen culated to kindle the enthusiasm were "so stupid that they ought of English artisans and labourers;' not to receive any salary. The whilst "vague generalities as to only way in which he could con- land reform and improved sanitavince himself that they were not tion are common to both parties, rogues, was to suppose that they and convey little meaning to those were utter fools." This remark who are seeking a solution of the was, it is true, received with
great problem how to live." These laughter in the House of Com- reforms, then, having been rejected mons, as a specimen of buffoonery as insufficient, Mr Atherley-Jones in accordance with the general proceeds to inform us that “the view taken of Mr Labouchere by masses ”—whom he exemplifies by his brother members of Parlia the instances of the agricultural ment; but when we come to con labourer, the miner, and the facsider the novel position occupied tory hand—“ each and all feel that by this gentleman as a Radical they have wants, and for those leader, it becomes important to wants there is to be found a posnote that his unworthiness for sible satisfaction. . . . It is true such a position is displayed by the they are as yet inarticulate; but habitual want of propriety and with the statesmen rests the respondecent self - restraint which was sibility to devise and formulate those made manifest on this particular reforms by which, without violence night by a vulgar and baseless to persons, or shock to the prinattack upon the Prime Minister, ciples of public morality, there may and a wanton insult to public be compassed for our people a servants in a place where they wider diffusion of physical comcould not defend themselves fort, and thus a loftier standard against the cowardly onslaught. of national morality.
of national morality. This is the Such, forsooth, are the men who new Liberalism." In other words, aspire to lead the Liberal party! Mr Atherley-Jones calmly claims
But if Mr Gladstone and his for the new Liberalism the monlieutenants may justly complain opoly of a desire to improve the of the ingratitude of the new condition of the masses deLiberalism towards themselves, sire which has been constantly still more may they find fault with and earnestly expressed by both the vague uncertainty in which political parties in the State, and they are left as to the means by to carry out which the Conservawhich they may still show them- tives have certainly done someselves worthy to be retained as what more than their opponents. leaders of the ultra - democratic With all respect to the member section of their party. At the for north-west Durham, this defini
tion of the new Liberalism is attempt to deal with the matter the veriest claptrap that ever was after a practical fashion. The "repalmed upon the public. Every- form of our system of land-ownerbody is anxious to improve the ship" may indeed mean anything condition of the masses, though or nothing. The tendency of pubeverybody may not and cannot lic opinion is evidently against agree upon the legislation by which what is usually spoken of as such a praiseworthy result will “primogeniture and entail "; and best be obtained. One thing, how. those Tory peers who were sver, is certain. Nothing can be frightened at the spectre of their more mischievous than to impress abolition as to reject the Governupon the masses that they have ment Land Transfer Bill last wants which might be satisfied by session, will probably regret their legislation, and to leave them to action, when the question again the belief that those who have the comes before Parliament. It is power to legislate are careless and
no very terrible thing, after all, neglectful of their interests. Mr that the presumption of law in Atherley-Jones concludes, indeed, the case of intestacy should be in with a hint as to the legislative favour of equal division of landed action which he desires. Having property among the children of previously spoken slightingly of the deceased, instead of its absorp“ vague generalities as to land-law tion by the eldest son; nor will reform and improved sanitation," the country be ruined by a further he now speaks of " our system limitation, or even by the abolition, of land- ownership, almost alone of the law of entail. There is, inamong European nations unre- deed, much to be said against the formed,” and “the insanitary con latter proposal, and it may be dition of our urban population, and gravely questioned whether the its concomitants of vice, disease, community would really gain by and poverty,” as two of the objects the alteration; but the principle of which constitute “ a wide field for forbidding a dead man to restrict legislative activity." He speaks, the action of those who live after moreover, of “the monopoly of him is one so easily understood, private owners with vast resources and has so much common-sense on diverted from the charitable uses the face of it, that it is tolerably to which they were destined, and certain to be adopted and carried appropriated to narrow or sordid out by the Democracy which now purposes," and to "the heavy bur- governs this country. den of taxation pressing with un If these are the only reforms equal weight upon the poorer which Mr Atherley.Jones claims classes ;" and invites "the leaders to be the object of the new Liberof the Liberal party" to this pro- alism, not only need we congratugramme, not without a fear that it late ourselves upon their moderamay be said that his invitation tion, but we may point out that esks them “to embark upon pro the present Government has jects of a socialistic character." already travelled some way upon
It is probable that the fear en the same road, and that such retertained by Mr Atherley-Jones is forms required no new party, and not without foundation ; for there the desire to effect them can be is something more than “social- monopolised by no new combinaistic” in part of his programme, as tion, whether it adopts the word soon as we leave generalities, and Liberalism or any other prefix
to the description of its policy the introduction of changes of 3 and intentions. These ideas are more serious character. When he “liberal” in no party sense, they speaks of “our system of landare “new” in no sense at all; and ownership” in close connection the question is one which has with "the monopoly of private gradually worked its way to the owners ” and “the heavy burden front, and will probably be solved of taxation pressing with unequal by whatever party may be in weight upon the poorer classes," power when its turn comes to be one is tempted to ask what are considered and dealt with by Par- the legislative remedies which Mr liament. So, again, "the insanitary Atherley -Jones and his friends condition of our urban population" have in view upon this subject, is emphatically a question entirely beyond those "vague generalities beyond and outside of party cor- as to land reform ” which include binations. It will not be forgotten the cheapening of land transfer, that the improvement of the dwl and that alteration in the law of lings and sanitary condition of the primogeniture and entail which, poor has ever been a favourite as experience has shown us, we object of Conservative statesmen; may expect from a Tory Gov. and even so long ago as in the ernment without any necessity battles of the Factory Acts, it was of an appeal to the new Liberal. the Conservatives from whom Lord ism. Coupled with his applicaAshley (himself-sitting on the Con- tion of the term “ ultra-demoservative side of the House) main- cratic” to the latter school of ly received the support which thought, and his avowed fear that enabled the cause of humanity to “socialistic" aims upon these subtriumph. Nevertheless, it would jects should be imputed to him, it be unfair to claim as a party ques- is impossible not to understand tion that which is one of a phil- that new Liberalism seeks to anthropic character, and upon stand upon broader ground, and which it is earnestly to be hoped aims at wider and more revoluno party contest will ever arise. tionary measures than any which It is absurd to claim for the new have as yet been seriously proLiberalism, or for any other par- posed to Parliament by responsible ticular school, that they have a statesmen. Whether "the heavy monopoly of good wishes towards burden of taxation” really "presses the “urban population” of the with unequal weight upon the country, in whose improvement poorer classes ” is a point which all parties and all good citizens are cannot be discussed here, with any alike interested, and whose social hope of satisfying either those who condition is not likely to be ameli- would support or those who would orated by the attempt to make it dispute the proposition. Such the stalking-horse of a political statements are easily made, and combination.
their popularity with the masses, But although the claim to in whose hands is the electoral monopolise the advocacy of the power in the constituencies, affords reforms which have been indicat
a great temptation to their uttered is a patent absurdity on the
But if the statement be part of the champion of the new true, it casts a serious reflection, Liberalism, it must be observed not upon the present Government that he employs other expressions so much as upon preceding Governwhich seem to point to designs for ments and statesmen, and notably