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So you're going up to the Highlands ?
You might chance to hear of a trifle
A trifle I don't feel the vant of
Scarce needful for ladies' wear, But still it has often vexed nie
To think I should leave it there.
I cannot tell where I dropped it,
Perhaps on the cliff that day, When the hoarse Atlantic surges
Thundered through clouds of spray.
Or it might have been in the heather,
Or down by the amber burn, Where the grey and lichened boulders
Lie bedded in golden fern.
Or was it under the starlight,
Down the path from Amulree,
Of weird and changeful glee
... Perhaps, when strolling idly
Beside the bitter brine,
Jasper or serpentine.
The waves have flung it, and tossed it,
And polished it smooth,—'twill do
FROM some occult cause or an. this head had been their only other, the Easter recess of 1889 successful attempt at legislation, exercised a most salutary influ- the session of 1889 would have ence upon "ber Majesty's Opposi- been one upon which the country tion." It is not for us to decide as well as the Ministers might whether the greater probability have been congratulated. But the lies in the supposition that they same session has seen the Scotch had begun to discover that ob- Local Government and the Scotch structive tactics did not add to Universities Bills passed into law, the popularity of those who in- by the first of which the constitudulge in these practices, or in the tion of Scotland has been largely more charitable belief that they and wisely extended upon reprehad awakened to the consciousness sentative municipal lines; whilst that such tactics are inconsistent in the second, a vastly important with the dignity of the House or question has been dealt with and Commons and the character of its settled in such a manner and in members. At any rate, the result such a spirit as to show that Scotof the reflections and counsels of land at least has no right to comthe recess were speedily apparent plain that her national feelings in the altered and improved be- are ignored, or her local sentiments haviour of the Gladstonian cohorts. slighted, in the Parliament at A “change came. o'er the spirit of Westminster. their dream;" the angry threats of It is impossible to quit this subrefusing money and preventing the ject without remarking upon the progress of business were no longer two principal features which charheard, or heard only from obscure acterised the debates upon these and unimportant quarters; and it great Scotch measures,-first, the soon became a hopeful probability conspicuous ability and tact with that the session, while not unduly which the Lord Advocate treated protracted, would bear a fair com- every question which arose ; and parison with past sessions in the secondly, the sincere desire evinced matter of practical legislation, by the Government to discover the
As regards that part of the real state of Scotch feeling upon Government programme which re- every disputed point, and their lated to the question of the readiness to concede to that feeling National Defences, it had already wherever such concession could be been discovered that the country fairly and reasonably demanded. was in no humour to listen to With regard to both measures, the the penny-wise-and-pound-foolish Lord Advocate displayed that perschool of shallow economists, and fect knowledge of the subject the responsible leaders of the which enabled him to deal successOpposition wisely forbore to con- fully alike with friendly criticisms nect themselves with an unpopular and hostile amendments; and his and unpatriotic resistance to a position in the House, already policy which plainly recommended assured, must have been greatly itself to the good sense of the improved and strengthened by his nation. If the legislative pro- conciliatory demeanour and skilful posals of the Government under conduct of the debates. It must
be admitted that both bills were eager reception of the Government amply and thoroughly discussed, proposals. These could hardly have and that the fullest opportunity failed to confer immense benefit was given for the ventilation of upon the fisheries of Ireland, as well every idea and every crotchet which as upon her more remote agriculturthe ingenuity of man could suggest ral districts, by bringing the proor devise. It was clearly recog- duce of both nearer to good markets, nised and admitted from the first, and thereby securing for it a more that Scotch representatives had a profitable price.
profitable price. The obstruction right to discuss at length measures and opposition to these proposals so vitally affecting the interests which has proceeded from many of of Scotland; and it is satisfactory the Parnellites can only tend to to consider that no one can im- corroborate the assertions which pute to the Government that they have been made by their oppo in any way attempted to stifle or nents-namely, that they find it shorten that legitimate discussion, more to their political advantage from which it may be hoped that to keep their countrymen discon-these important measures have tented, than to promote that wellbeen passed into law in a shape doing which, bringing contentment whith will be satisfactory to Scot- in its train, would reconcile them land as wise and safe improvements to that British rule which is in her constitution.
in reality their best friend, but Nor has Ireland been
their reconciliation to which would looked or neglected in the con- take away and destroy the trade sideration of Scottish and Imperial of pseudo - patriots and political measures. The “Light Railways" agitators. and “Drainage” Bills introduced Be the truth what it may, it by the Irish Government had for will be noted by Irishmen who their object the development of really love their country that local resources and the extension those who specially arrogate to of local enterprise. That such themselves the title of Nationalmeasures should not have received ists have done their utmost to a warm welcome and a cordial thwart and resist the Government support from the so-called Na- in their attempts to confer mationalist party, is a significant terial benefit
Ireland. Some comment upon the principles which of them, indeed, have found it iminspire the general policy and possible to give their votes against prompt the legislative action of measures so unquestionably calcuthat section of politicians. If lated to advance the interests of it were really the desire of these their constituents; but even in gentlemen to improve the posi- some of these cases their support tion of their fellow-countrymen, to has been rendered in the most advance the prosperity of their grudging spirit, and after the most country, and attract to Ireland that ungracious fashion, and they have capital and enterprise which have not been ashamed to profess and been frightened from her by the parade their ingratitude to the unsettled condition of affairs con- givers of the British money which sequent upon the unlawful combi- they accept without a scruple of nations and mischievous societies remorse for such unseemly conwhich have so long cursed her duct. Gratitude, however, is existence, there could have been scarcely to be expected from a no doubt as to their grateful and party which has been taught to
believe that the action of Great them Ireland may expect more Britain towards Ireland has been substantial good and more useful invariably prompted by feelings legislative aid than from those who of hostility, and which can would trample law and order under nothing but bribery in acts of be- foot, and tempt the tenantry and neficent legislation — nothing but peasantry of Ireland into paths of tyranny in the enforcing of the lawlessness and sedition which can ordinary laws which bind together only lead to their impoverishment and protect a civilised community. and ruin. If the Government had These "patriots" and the English received ordinary fair-play, their Radicals have done their utmost to remedial measures for Ireland thwart the Government in their would easily have been carried. beneficent legislation, and their It is satisfactory to have to relate partial success is much to be the success of the Light Raildeplored.
ways Bill, in spite of all obstacles ; The Drainage Bills introduced and it is worth while to call attenby Mr Balfour were measures of tion to some of the incidents of its a similar character to the Light passage, as throwing a vivid light & Railways Bill – that is to say, upon the conduct of some of those bills of a strictly non-contentious men who monopolise so much of nature, and for the opposition to the time of Parliament, and are for which there was no possible ex- ever seeking to pose as the special
Several of these, however, champions of the people. This had to be abandoned, owing to the bill referred to
a Grand pertinacious opposition which they Committee; and no sooner did it encountered. It would seem that come on for discussion than Mr a section of Nationalists and Radi- Storey, Mr E. Robertson (member cals have so bespattered the Gov- for Dundee), Mr Biggar, and two ernment with abuse, and have rep- or three other Gladstonian memresented them so constantly' and bers commenced the policy of obbitterly as the enemies of Ire- struction. Messrs Biggar and land, and their policy as one of Storey (par nobile fratrum /) becoercion only, that they cannot gan by objecting to the name of the afford the truth to be known. bill, and took a division thereupon. That truth must sooner or later Then Mr Storey, who had obbe fully understood-namely, that iected altogether to the measure, the Unionist Government would upon the specific ground that it never have resorted to coercion would give the money of the at all, if the influence of wicked British taxpayer to local undermen had not driven them to co- takings in Ireland, gave evidence ercive action, in order to main- at once of his consistency and the tain the supremacy of the law sincerity of his economical profeswhich that influence had been sions by proposing to extend the employed, to subvert. With this bill to Scotland and England, and truth, moreover, coines another of took another division upon this no less importance--namely, that point. Although they found them- . the natural policy of the Gov- selves in so decided a minority as ernment, when once that supre- should have prompted them in commacy of the law has been estab- mon devency to have abated the lished, is not of a coercive but violence of their opposition, these of a conciliatory and benefi.
benefi. diffident legislators took twentycent character, and that from five divisions upon the first page
of the bill, and attempted to stop tacking the Storey-Biggar section its progress by every device in of Radicals, who were employing their power. The chairman, Mr against them their own tactics of Salt (whose fairness and judgment obstruction. The exchange of will be admitted by all who know courtesies between these two sechim), having ruled many of their tions of “Liberals below the gang. amendments out of order, they way" was infinitely amusing, and appealed to the Speaker against must have afforded some satisfachis ruling, left the Committee in tion to the Government, especially high dudgeon because they could when the conflict terminated in not have everything their own the triumphant passage of their way, and when the bill came bill. It is to be hoped that Dunback to the House, strove again dee and Sunderland will mark and to delay and defeat it by moving resent the factious conduct of their for its recommittal to the Com- representatives, and their mittee. Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, temptuous disregard, both in the however, in a clear and forcible Grand Committee and the House, speech, exposed their conduct in of the fundamental Liberal docCommittee, and defended
defended the trine that a minority should yield course taken by the chairman, to the definitely expressed opinion which, he truly said, “would be of the majority. approved by every member who Although obstruction had epbelieved that the forms of pro- parently been abandoned after the cedure were intended to be used Easter recess, the loquacity which and not abused.” Still not one is the curse of a representative whit abashed, these champions assembly was indulged in suffiof factious obstruction continued ciently to compel the relinquishtheir opposition to every clausement of several Government measof the bill, put the House to the ures besides those
relating to trouble of a dozen or more divi- Irish drainage, and notably, Engsions (though each time left in a land has to wait for the completion miserable minority), moved many of her Local Government system, amendments, some in order and by the formation of district counsome promptly overruled as con- cils, and the further delegation trary to order, and only yielded of powers to those county counwhen it had been made evident cils which are doubtless destined that the majority of the House did eventually to absorb many duties not intend to be either bullied or the performance of which is at wearied into submission. Some of present left in other hands. those Irish members who may not The principal proposals of the inaptly be termed the "paten- Government having been successtees” of obstruction were upon fully carried through Parliament, this occasion opposed to the ob- it was hoped and expected that structionists, who were endeavour- the ardour of our legislators, and ing to stop the passage of British the improved conduct of the House money to Irish objects. These of Commons, would have been regentlemen were placed in a some- warded by an earlier prorogation what awkward position, and being than has recently been the case. unable to bring themselves to This pleasant prospect, however, praise the Government whose became overshadowed when almost measure they were bound to sup- within reach of attainment. The port, relioved themselves by at- postponement of the Irish esti.