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he had determined, at once, to secure liation, when, making the rescinding himself from the storm, and to make of the resolution for the appointment preparations for putting out, on his of the committee a condition of their own account, into the troubled waters remaining in the revivified cabinet, which their destruction should leave they found themselves obliged to se. open. His design was seen through, cede, and they did so with the full acand so universally despised, that when cord of the entire body of the people. Lord Aberdeen resigned a few days
In the course of a close observation of afterwards, upon the defeat of the mi- public events, now not of the shortest, nistry on Mr. Roebuck's motion, Lord we remember no vote of the House of John Russell found himself in a state Commons more entirely in unison with of complete isolation. No one would the general feeling than that which join with a man who had deserted his drove Lord Aberdeen from office; and comrades under the very fire of an certainly no retirement of a statesman enemy; and when, amid the uncertain- from the public service was ever more ties of the ministerial interregnum that universally satisfactory than that of followed, he was applied to by the Messrs. Gladstone, and Sidney HerQueen to form a government, he could bert, and Sir James Graham, To not obtain the assistance of a single every man who went into society of friend or follower.
any class, public or private, or who The appointment of the Committee spoke for five minutes with a casual of Inquiry was resisted by the minis- acquaintance at the corner of a street, ters, and by a small section of the it was known, that among civilians, press in their interest, upon the soldiers, farmers, artisans, men and grounds that it would be virtually a women, rich and poor, the common transfer of the executive power into sentiment had been, for many months the hands of the House of Commons; distrust in those men's honesty that it would weaken the discipline of and patriotism; the common desire, the army; and that, by the disclosures a wish for their removal from the conit might lead to, it would impair the fidential service of the Crown. Yet, cordiality of our alliance with France.
strange to say, it was not until their, It produced none of these effects, own presumption forced the conclusion being, in truth, so conducted as to be upon the mind of Lord Palmerston, made a mere farce and blind, in so that he, their colleague, discovered far as its ostensible purpose was con- that their co-operation was not neces-, cerned. Persons who could have given sary to the formation of an adminisimportant testimony were not called tration-stranger still, that the leader upon; the examinations were carried of the Opposition, Lord Derby, did not on in the loosest and most desultory even sooner know, that to urge a stern manner, and yet
stopped and relentless war upon them and short in every case in which they their policy was the only course by seemed likely to elicit disclosures that which it was possible for him to conmight be damaging to the higher offi- ciliate popular support sufficient to cials; and in the end, the enormous warrant his acceptance of office. To mass of evidence accumulated was our mind nothing has ever appeared nothing more than a muddled dilution more remarkable than the general igof the statements of the newspaper norance of what is passing around, and correspondents, the truth of which no most concerns them, in which our pubone doubted and it was impossible to re
are commonly enveloped. fute. Nevertheless, the motion of Wrapped in the fog and smoke of LonMr. Roebuck did good service to the don, their mental vision seems incapable country, and the resistance offered to of perceiving any object but as it looms it by the ministers showed in a re- through that dense mist, which often markable manner the thick ignorance converts pigmies into giants, or shows of public opinion which blinded the some harmless or contemptible reptile majority of the members of the Coali- in the likeness of a formidable montion. Nor were their eyes more than ster. Many instances in point might partially opened by that extraordinary be adduced; but we doubt if we could majority of 305 to 148, which drove cite one more striking than the illusion them in a body from office. The under the influence of which Lord operation did not prevent the Peelite Derby frustrated what we must supsection from courting another humi. pose to be his own ambition, and scat
tered his party, by requesting Mr. was, perhaps, confounded by the noise Gladstone and Mr. Sidney Herbert to and fury of the Manchester clique ; accept seats in a cabinet of his
for upon no other hypothesis can we formation. Had he no friend at hand explain his persistence in a policy to tell him what was said in any draw- which had already produced such caing-room, or at any dinner-table, out- lamitous results, and which was in opside the charmed circle of placemen, position to every known inclination of actual or possible — no secretary or his mind. Fortunately for the honour barber from whom he could hear the of England this error was countergossip of a club or pot-house ? Were vailed by the presumptuous confidence his own ears stopped, that he heard in the vanity and folly of the English no murmur of the general voice? We and French diplomatists entertained by must imagine that he was thus isolated the Russian Court. The offer to acfrom the common world, before we can
cept a paper guarantee for the limitaapproach to a comprehension of the pos- tion of
the naval power of Russia in the bility of a man of his acuteness commit- Black Sea, accompanied though it was ting so obviousa mistake as that to which by a special salvo for the honour of the we have referred. The mistake, however, Czar, and by a concession of the status he did fall into, and thus brought to a quo in regard to territorial arrangeshort ending “those abortive negotia- ments, was refused. Lord Palmerston tions which (to use the language of the got another chance : and Lord John Times) made known, in so signal a Russell, in his extreme anxiety to make manner, the weakness and incompe- a good stroke, again over-reached himtency of the Opposition in the eyes of seit. When the proposal for a paper its own chosen leader.” From that limitation of the Russian fleet failed, moment Lord Palmerston became, if the Austrian minister, probably with a not the master of the situation, at all view to procrastinate, rather than with events the sole occupant of it. Yet, any hope of its acceptance, proposed upon his mind, also, the cloud of ig- “ a system of counterpoise "--that the norance seems still to have lain heavily, allies should be formally permitted by obscuring all that was passing around. the Czar to maintain ships in a certain Before the lucky insolence of the numerical proportion to his own in the Peelites had relieved him of the op- Black Sea, which they now sweep from probrium of their companionship, he shore to shore, without asking his leave, had rehabilitated the sham of the and upon whose waters a Russian cockVienna conferences, by commissioning boat dare not venture. Such an arLord John Russell to take part in them rangement would have been a chronic as minister plenipotentiary, for the war, yet Lord John Russell strongly special purpose of considering Aus- urged its acceptance upon the Cabinet. trian proposals of peace.
The light of public opinion was, how. had he got rid of his peace-at-any- ever, beginning to break through the price colleagues, and begun to rise clouds that darkened the vision of Lord proportionately in the public estima Palmerston, and the new proposal was tion, than he promulgated a sort of sternly and peremptorily rejected in a confession of faith in the pending ne- dispatch bearing Lord Clarendon's gociation, by placing his peace-pleni- name, in which the bubble of the Auspotentiary in his cabinet, and entrust- trian treaty of offence and defence, of ing him with the seals of the Colonial the 2nd of December, was burst, and Office. Yet, all this time the whole the British Government declared that country thought and said (as they “they would prefer the continuation had thought and said for many of war to a peace that would not be months), that the road to peace lay honourable, nor likely to last.” This through Sebastopol, and that the way despatch was dated upon the 8th of May, of Vienna could lead only to more ex- Lord John Russell having returned to tended and m re disastrous war. By London in the end of April, and occuacting upon that opinion, the people pied the interval in advocating his views had broken up the Aberdeen ministry, by personal communications with his and it was by virtue of its influence colleagues. Of all these proceedings that Lord Palmerston became First not a particle was made known to the Lord of the Treasury; yet he appears nation; but a good deal of suspicion to have had no clear perception of the having been excited by the sudden disstrength of the popular feeling, or he missal of the French minister, M.
Drouyn de l'Huys, from the cabinet liberally given to them to corrupt the of the Emperor, our own plenipoten- independence and undermine the vital tary, frightened by his fate, again came strength of Germany." Thin-skinned to the resolution to provide against Count Buol! who, yielding to the imdanger by casting out a stream-anchor pulse of passion, cast down, in a moment, in the shape of a loud announcement his chance of getting another order, and that his voice was still for war. On perhaps another bribe, by the services the 24th of May, Mr. Disraeli inoved a of that same friend in hoodwinking and resolution in the House of Commons, betraying the British nation. The fatal expressing “dissatisfaction with the circular did its work, and Lord John ambiguous language, and uncertain Russell stood convicted out of his own conduct of her Majesty's Government mouth of having paltered with the in reference to the great question of honour and safety of his country at peace or war;" and thereupon Lord Vienna, and of having deliberately deJohn Russell got up in his place, and ceived Parliament and people at home. having solemnly denounced the ambi. The result was his expulsion from tion of Russia, declared, “ in the words office for the second time within six of a high authority, that if she objected months. Upon this occasion, Sir to reduce her navy, it would be a proof Edward Bulwer Lytton performed the she intended aggression." She had not part before sustained by Mr. Roebuck. merely objected, but contemptuously On the 10th of July, Sir Edward gave refused to make any such reduction, notice that on the earliest opportunity to this very lord; and, but a short three that might present itself, he should weeks before, he had urged his col. move a resolution to the effect, “ that leagues to admit her objection, to aban- the conduct of the minister charged don their demand for limitation, and with the negotiations at Vienna, and adopting the “principle of counter- his continuance in office as a responsipoise,” to conclude a peace which they ble adviser of the Crown, have shaken pronounced would not be honourable the confidence which the country should nor likely to last." But of this latter place in those to whom the administrafeature in the case the public, as we tion of public affairs is intrusted.” On have said, then knew nothing, and all the 16th of July this motion was ripe ambiguity being purged out of the lan- for hearing, but the accused man did guage of her Majesty's Government by not await his condemnation. A number the ex-Plenipotentary's lucid explana- of subordinate members of the Govern. tions, Mr. Roebuck and some other ment, being less ignorant of the state of members were converted, and the vote public opinion than their chiefs, had of censure was negatived by a majority intimated that their support could not of 100 in a large house. Out of doors also be counted upon in the approaching the tide of opinion turned and began to conflict, and Lord John Russell, signalset strongly in favour of LITTLE JOHN ising the occasion by a pathetic lament Russell who, with all his tricks, was over the instability of fortune and the re-discovered to be a true Englishman fragility of party friendships, resigned. at heart. But, a sad marplot is that The motion for a vote of censure was outspoken press of ours! Upon this then withdrawn ; and a few days afteroccasion, its mischievous activity car- wards (July 19) another indictment, ried to the ear of Count Buol words preferred by Mr. Roebuck against the spoken in the strictest confidence to Aberdeen Government, including such the English people, and forth with there of the present ministers as were members issued from Vienna a circular in which of it, and founded upon the Report of the whole tale we have briefed above the Sebastopol Inquiry Committee, was was narrated to the world with the set aside on the previous question," cruelest candour. Short-sighted Count by a majority of 107. Buol! who could not see that his noble Lord Palmerston had now baffled friend spoke only for the ear of John his open opponents, and he had also Bull, and in a strictly parliamentary gained a still greater advantage by sense, when he talked of those servants getting rid of seeming friends, but real of German princes among whom “the and most dangerous rivals. He stood Russian court distributes rewards, not, indeed, as the minister chosen by orders, distinctions, and by whom, in the nation to guide it through a perilsome cases, the receipt of money to pay ous crisis, but as the only man whom debts will be accepted, and has been a succession of storms and accidents had left at the helm. The confidence national cause. He has risen to his felt in his nationality of spirit and present elevation upon the blunders hatred of despotism, at the beginning and faults of others; he can scarcely of the session, had been much abated. be cast down from it except by blunHe was no longer reckoned upon as ders or faults of his own. A plain the statesman who was the minister, course is before him, and the simplest not of Austria, nor of Prussia, nor of policy will guide him safely to the Russia, but of England. Men are goal. The common sense of the najudged of by their companionships; tion has, in fact, now determined that and he had consorted, with too much but one division of parties shall exist. apparent harmony, with Gladstone, The mass of the people, without disand Herbert, and Graham, and Rus- tinction between Conservative and Lisell, to escape damage in his political beral, Whig and Tory, farmer and ma, reputation. He was indebted to the nufacturer, English, Irish, and Scotch, folly of the leaders of the Opposition stand for England and an honourable for another chance of retrieving his peace. On the opposite side is a small position. On the 29th of July, Mr. gang of partisans, bound together by Disraeli and Mr. Walpole joined with no common sympathies disunited from Messrs. Gladstone, Cardwell, Cobden, old allies in the popular ranks by the Ricardo, and Co., in opposing a reso- anti-national sentiment, which is the lution authorising the Crown to gua- single bond of their new association. rantee the Turkish loan ; and the Lord Palmerston bas but to stand with House being surprised into a division, the united nation openly and honestly, the ministers were only saved from de- and no party leader now apparent will feat by a bare majority of three. The be preferred to him. result of a different decision would Meanwhile, the time has arrived have been the nullification of a con- when it is necessary for those Whigs, vention concluded with France, and Radicals, and Conservatives, who have virtually a declaration by the Parlia- been following their respective Willsment of England that they no longer o'-the-wisp during the past session, to sanctioned the Western alliance. It examine their position, and to take was fortunately prevented by the pru- thought lest, upon the opening of a dence of some Conservative members, new one, they should find themselves among whom we feel satisfaction in pledged by a name to the support of being able to specify the representa- views which they must condemn, and, tives of our own city and the honour- what to some of them may perhaps able and learned member for Youghal. seem worse, bound to an unpopular This ill-timed enterprise, undertaken in and sinking cause. To the two former the very recklessness of party spirit, and classes it is, perhaps, little necessary in utter ignorance of the state of public to offer this caution : your small Whig opinion, gave a new impulse to the po- is a wary animal; and there is no pular feeling. Another small section of great danger that any of the species party politicians was included among will run himself to death, following the objects of the popular indignation Lord John Russell in a course which against philo-Russianism, and Lord manifestly does not lead towards the Palmerston was again brought out into treasury benches.
Of the Radicals prominence as the champion of Eng- we may say, with more respect, that land, and the representative of her de- in reference to the great question of termination stoutly to fight her way to the day they have already very genean honourable and permanent peace. rally manfully discharged themselves Enjoying the advantage of the preva- from any allegiance they might have lence of that sentiment throughout the been supposed to owe to their crazy country, and strengthening it by his leaders. Many of the Conservatives, latest words, the minister closed the however, do seem to us to require to session on the 14th of August, pro- be warned of the prudence of examinroguing Parliament to the 23rd of ing the colours of the banners under October. Whether or not he shall which they have been fighting. We then meet it under favourable aus- have carefully looked into the speeches pices, must depend upon the course of and motions of the regular Opposition circumstances, upon the conduct of in both Houses of Parliament for a other public men, but most of all upon definite pledge to an active prosecuhis own firmness and fidelity to the tion of the war, with a view to the humiliation of Russia and the substantial culiarity of the times is, in truth, the curtailment of her power of aggression, absolute ignorance of what is thought and we confess we have found none. and said by those , around them, in We have seen Mr. Disraeli joining which our public men seem to be with Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Cobden plunged. Had Lord Aberdeen known in a truly Russian opposition to the the estimation in which his policy was Turkish loan; and the language of the held throughout the land, we cannot Conservative leader's chief party-ma- think that, as a statesman, he would nifesto of the session was as ambiguous have persevered in it; or that, as a as any words it proposed to censure. man of honour, he would have continued Nay, we have heard and believe, that to occupy a position in which he was at a party-meeting, at which the terms the object of general distrust. Had of that motion were considered, a right the chivalrous Lord Derby had any honourable gentleman, formerly a col. conception of the contempt in which league of Mr. Disraeli's, objected to it the Russian members of the Coalition as going too far; and recommended cabinet were held by the nation, would that a paraphrase of Mr. Milner Gib- he have insulted his followers, and son’s amendment, censuring the Go. damaged his own character, by solicitvernment for not concluding peace ing their help? Gladstone, Graham, with Russia on the Vienna terms, and Herbert could not have been should be proposed, as the Derbyite aware of the extent to which they counter-proposition, in its stead.
were seen through, or they would There are many Conservative follow- carcely have abandoned positions of ers who know that this is true, and fur- great advantage for the furtherance of ther, that upon the same occasion, a their designs, to which we trust they noble earl, the representative of a duke- will never be permitted to return. dom, and known as a staunch partisan, Lord Palmerston did not know how adopted the right hon. gentleman's perilously he tempted his own fate when sentiments, and declared his participa- he soiled himself by associating Jobn tion in his views. Surely, then, it is Russell in his administration. The time the body of the party should in- subordinate Conservatives moved in quire whither it is following the head. a palpable obscure when they sepaIt would be awkward to find oneself in a rated themselves from the country by conclave of the Peace Congress at Man. their votes upon the Turkish loan. chester, or in a Puseyite combination- Scarcely less strange is the quietude in room at Oxford, when the desired end which the people beheld this ignorance of our journey lies in a direction very and its effects; and yet such calmness different. The question of, where are and forbearance have been ever the we going, and in what company,
habit of this nation, in seasons of certainly deserves consideration, and great peril. To try, or to count upon, we hope the hasty summary we have their long - suffering, ever so small a given of some remarkable events of shade too much, would be a more fatal the session may be found to aid in its blunder than any that has yet been solution. The most extraordinary pe- committed in this tragedy of errors.