"June 10th. To F. W. Cobden: There is another fit of apprehension about the Corn Bill, owing to the uncertainty of Peel's position. I can't understand his motive for constantly poking his coercive bill in our faces at these critical moments. The Lords will take courage at anything that seems to weaken the government morally. They are like a fellow going to be hanged who looks out for a reprieve, and is always hoping for a lucky escape until the drop falls."
"June 18th. To Mrs. Cobden: The Lords will not read the Corn Bill the third time before Tuesday next, and I shall be detained in town to vote on the Coercion Bill on Thursday, after which I shall leave for Manchester. I send you a 'Spectator' paper, by which you will see that I am a 'likeable' person, I hope you will appreciate this."
"June 23d. To Mrs. Cobden: I have been plagued for several days with sitting to Herbert for the picture of the Council of the League, and it completely upsets my afternoons. Besides my mind has been more than ever upon the worry about that affair which is to come off after the Corn Bill is settled, and about which I hear all sorts of reports. You must therefore excuse me if I could not sit down to write a letter of news.....I thought the Corn Bill would certainly be read the third time on Tuesday (to- morrow), but I now begin to think it will be put off till Thursday. There is literally no end to this suspense. But there are reports of Peel being out of office on Friday next, and the peers may yet ride restive."
"June 26th. To Mrs. Cobden: My Dearest Kate-Hurrah! Hurrah! the Corn Bill is law, and now my work is done. I shall come down to- morrow morning by the six o'clock train in order to be present at a Council meeting at three, and shall hope to be home in time for a late tea."
A CORN-LAW RHYME
[Ebenezer Elliott, "The Corn-Law Rhymer," contributed to the agitation such "Songs" as this.]
Child, is thy father dead? Father is gone! Why did they tax his bread? God's will be done! Mother has sold her bed; Better to die than wed! Where shall she lay her head? Home we have none!
Father clammed thrice a week- God's will be done! Long for work did he seek, Work he found none; Tears on his hollow cheek Told what no tongue could speak! Why did his master break? God's will be done!
Doctor said air was best- Food we had none; Father with panting breast Groaned to be gone; Now he is with the blest- Mother says death is best! We have no place of rest- Yes, we have one!
SIR ROBERT PEEL
[On the night when the bill for the repeal of the Corn Laws came up for its passage in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister, who had been elected on a protectionist "platform," concluded the debate in a powerful speech, which culminated in these impressive sentences.]
THE REPEAL OF THE CORN LAWS (1846)
This night is to decide between the policy of continued relaxation of restriction, or the return to restraint and prohibition. This night you will select the motto which is to indicate the commercial policy of England. Shall it be "advance" or "recede"? Which is the fitter motto for this great empire? Survey our position, consider the advantage which God and nature have given us, and the destiny for which we are intended. We stand on the confines of western Europe, the chief connecting link between the Old World and the New. The discoveries of science, the improvement of navigation, have brought us within ten days of St. Petersburg, and will soon bring us within ten days of New York. We have an extent of coast greater in proportion to our population and the area of our land than any other great nation, securing to us maritime strength and superiority. Iron and coal, the sinews of manufacture, give us advantages over every rival in the great competition of industry. Our capital far exceeds that which they can command. In ingenuity, in skill, in energy, we are inferior to none. Our national character, the free institutions under which we live, the liberty of thought and action, an unshackled press, spreading the knowledge of every discovery and of every advance in science- -combine with our natural and physical advantages to place us at the head of those nations which profit by the free interchange of their products. And is this the country to shrink from competition? Is this the country to adopt a retrograde policy? Is this the country which can only flourish in the sickly, artificial atmosphere of prohibition? Is this the country to stand shivering on the brink of exposure to the healthful breezes of competition?
Choose your motto. "Advance" or "recede." Many countries are watching with anxiety the selection you may make. Determine for "advance," and it will be the watchword which will animate and encourage in every state the friends of liberal commercial policy. Sardinia has taken the lead. Naples is relaxing her protective duties and favoring British produce. Prussia is shaken in her adherence to restriction. The government of France will be strengthened; and backed by the intelligence of the reflecting, and by conviction of the real welfare of the great body of the community, will perhaps ultimately prevail over the self-interest of the commercial and manufacturing aristocracy which now predominates in her chambers. Can you doubt that the United States will soon relax her hostile tariff, and that the friends of a freer commercial intercourse—the friends of peace between the two countries—will hail with satisfaction the example of England?
This night, then—if on this night the debate shall close—you will have to decide what are the principles by which your commercial policy is to be regulated. Most earnestly, from a deep conviction, founded not upon the limited experience of three years alone, but upon the experience of the results of every relaxation of restriction and prohibition, I counsel you to set the example of liberality to other countries. Act thus, and it will be in perfect consistency with the course you have hitherto taken. Act thus, and you will provide an additional guarantee for the continued contentment, and happiness, and well-being of the great body of the people. Act thus, and you will have done whatever human sagacity can do for the promotion of commercial prosperity.
You may fail. Your precautions may be unavailing. They may give no certain assurance that mercantile and manufacturing prosperity will continue without interruption. It seems to be incident to great prosperity that there shall be a reverse—that the time of depression shall follow the season of excitement and success. That time of depression must perhaps return; and its return may be coincident with scarcity caused by unfavorable seasons. Gloomy winters, like those of 1841 and 1842, may again set in. Are those winters effaced from your memory? From mine they never can be.....
These sad times may recur. "The years of plenteous-ness may have ended," and "the years of dearth may have come"; and again you may have to offer the unavailing expressions of sympathy, and the urgent exhortations to patient resignation.....
When you are again exhorting a suffering people to fortitude under their privations, when you are telling them, "These are the chastenings of an all-wise and merciful Providence, sent for some inscrutable but just and beneficent purpose, it may be, to humble our pride, or to punish our unfaithfulness, or to impress us with the sense of our own nothingness and dependence on His mercy," when you are thus addressing your suffering fellow-subjects, and encouraging them to bear without repining the dispensations of Providence, may God grant that by your decision of this night you may have laid in store for yourselves the consolation of reflecting that such calamities are, in truth, the dispensations of Providence—that they have not been caused, they have not been aggravated, by laws of man, restricting, in the hour of scarcity, the supply of food!
LORD SHAFTESBURY INTRODUCTION TO THE CAUSE OF LABOR
[In February, 1833, when the failure of Michael Sadler to be returned to Parliament left his "Short Time Bill" without a champion, Lord Ashley (afterwards known as Lord Shaftesbury) was asked to lead the cause. His decision was thus announced to the local "Short Time Committees" in the manufacturing towns.]
Rev. G. S. Bull to Short Time Committees.
London, February 6, 1833.
Dear Sir:—I have to inform you that in furtherance of the object of the delegates' meeting, I have succeeded, under Mr. Sadler's sanction, in prevailing upon Lord Ashley to move his (Mr. Sadler's) bill.
Lord Ashley gave notice yesterday afternoon, at half-past two, of a motion on the 5th of March, for leave "to renew the bill brought in by Mr. Sadler last session, to regulate the labor of children in the mills and factories of the United Kingdom, with such amendments and additions as appear necessary from the evidence given before the select Committee of this House."
This notice, I am very happy to say (for I was present), was received with hearty and unusual cheers from all parts of a House of more than three hundred. No other notice was so cheered; and more than forty, some of them very popular, were given at the same time.
I am informed that Lord Ashley received many unexpected assurances of support immediately after his notice, and has had more since.
Pray call your committee together directly, and read this to them. As to Lord Ashley, he is noble, benevolent, and resolute in mind, as he is manly in person. I have been favored with several interviews, and all of the most satisfactory kind. On one occasion his Lordship said, "I have only zeal and good intentions to bring to this work; I can have no merit in it, that must all belong to Mr. Sadler. It seems no one else will undertake it, so I will; and without cant or hypocrisy, which I hate, I assure you I dare not refuse the request you have so earnestly pressed. I believe it is my duty to God and to the poor, and I trust he will support me. Talk of trouble! What do we come to Parliament for?"
In a letter he writes: "To me it appeared an affair, less of policy than of religion, and I determined, therefore, at all hazards to myself, to do what I could in furtherance of the views of that virtuous and amiable man" (meaning Mr. Sadler).
I have just left his Lordship, and find him more determined than ever. He says, it is your cause; if you support him, he will never flinch.
Yours most faithfully, G. S. BULL.
THE MOTIVES OF A REFORMER
[To Richard Oastler, a zealous leader of the working-people outside of Parliament, who had pledged him his support, Lord Ashley wrote this characteristic letter.]
Lord Ashley to Mr. Richard Oastler.
February 16, 1833.
Dear Sir:-I am much obliged to you for your kind and energetic letter; much, very much, is owing to your humanity and zeal, and though I cannot reckon deeply on the gratitude of multitudes, yet I will hope that your name will, for years to come, be blessed by those children who have suffered, or would have suffered, the tortures of a factory. It is very cruel upon Mr. Sadler that he is debarred from the joy of putting the crown on his beloved measure; however, his must be the honor, though another may complete it; and for my part, I feel that, if I were to believe that my exertions ought to detract the millionth part from his merits, I should be one of the most unprincipled and contemptible of mankind. Ask the question simply, Who has borne the real evil, who has encountered the real opposition, who roused the sluggish public to sentiments of honor and pity? Why, Mr. Sadler; and I come in (supposing I succeed) to terminate in the twelfth hour his labor of the eleven. I greatly fear my ability to carry on this measure. I wish, most ardently I wish, that some other had been found to undertake the cause; nothing but the apprehension of its being lost induced me to acquiesce in Mr. Bull's request. I entertain such strong opinions on the matter that I did not dare, as a Christian, to let my diffidence, or love of ease, prevail over the demands of morality and religion.
THE DIARY OF A PHILANTHROPIST
[Lord Shaftesbury's copious diaries were not intended for publication, but late in life he permitted Mr. Hodder to introduce selections from them in his authorized Biography. These extracts from the period when he was fighting the cause of the London chimney-sweeps, reflect the spirit of the great philanthropist, the legislator who at twenty-five proposed "to found a public policy upon the principles of the Bible."]
July 4th. Anxious, very anxious, about my sweeps; the Conservative (?) Peers threaten a fierce opposition, and the Radical Ministers warmly support the bill. Normanby has been manly, open, kind-hearted, and firm. As I said to him in a letter, so say I now, "God help him with the bill, and God bless him for it!" I shall have no ease or pleasure in the recess, should these poor children be despised by the Lords, and tossed to the mercy of their savage purchasers. I find that Evangelical religionists are not those on whom I can rely. The Factory Question, and every question for what is called "humanity," receive as much support from the "men of the world" as from the men who say they will have nothing to do with it!
I do not wonder at the Duke of Wellington—I have never expected from him anything of the "soft and tender" kind. Let people say what they will, he is a hard man. Steven tells me he left the Oxford Petition at Apsley House, thinking that the Duke, as Chancellor, would present it; he received this answer, "Mr. Steven has thought fit to leave some petitions at Apsley House; they will be found with the porter."
July 21st. Much anxiety, hard labor, many hopes, and many fears, all rendered useless by "counting out the House." The object of years within my grasp, and put aside in a moment. A notice to investigate the condition of all the wretched and helpless children in pin-works, needle-works, collieries, etc. The necessary and beneficial consequence of the Factory Question! God knows I had felt for it, and prayed for it; but the day arrived; everything seemed adverse-a morning sitting, a late period of the session, and a wet afternoon; and true enough, at five o'clock there were but thirty-seven members, and these mostly Radicals or Whigs. Shall I have another opportunity? The inquiry, without a statement in Parliament, will be but half the battle, nay, not so much—I must have public knowledge and public opinion working with it. Well, it is God's cause, and I commit it altogether to him. I am, however, sadly disappointed, but how weak and short- sighted is man! This temporary failure may be the harbinger of success.
August 24th. Succeeded in both my suits. I undertook them in a spirit of justice. I constituted myself, no doubt, a defender of the poor, to see that the poor and miserable had their rights; but "I looked, and there was none to help. I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore God's arm, it brought salvation to me, and his fury, it upheld me." I stood to lose several hundred pounds, but I have not lost a farthing; I have advanced the cause, done individual justice, anticipated many calamities by this forced prevention, and soothed, I hope, many angry, discontented Chartist spirits by showing them that men of rank and property can, and do, care for the rights and feelings of all their brethren. Let no one ever despair of a good cause for want of coadjutors; let him persevere, persevere, persevere, and God will raise him up friends and assistants! I have had, and still have, Jowett and Low; they are matchless.
September 16th. I hear encouraging things, both of my speech in the House of Commons, and of my suit v. Stocks. The justice of the suit is so manifest that even (so to speak) "my enemies are at peace with me." What man ever lost in the long run by seeking God's honor?
September 19th. Steven wrote to me yesterday, and gave me information that he had at last succeeded in negotiating the delivery of the wretched sweep behind my house in London. I had begun to negotiate, but the master stood out for more money than was fair, and we determined to seek the unnatural father of the boy, and tempt him, by the offer of a gratuitous education. We have done so, and have prospered; and the child will this day be conveyed from his soot-hole to the Union School on Norwood Hill, where, under God's blessing and especial, merciful grace, he will be trained in the knowledge, and love, and faith of our common Lord and only Saviour Jesus Christ. I entertain hopes of the boy; he is described as gentle, and of a sweet disposition; we all know he has suffered, and were eager to rescue him from his temporal and spiritual tyrant. May God, in his unbounded goodness and mercy, accept and defend the child, and train him up to his honor and service, now and forever, through the mediation and love of our dear and blessed Lord!
THE CRY OF THE CHILDREN
[Mrs Browning's poem belongs to this epoch and agitation.]
Do you hear the children weeping, Oh, my brothers, Ere-the sorrow comes with years? They are leaning their young heads against their mothers, And that cannot stop their tears. The young lambs are bleating in the meadows, The young birds are chirping in the nest, The young fawns are playing with the shadows, The young flowers are blowing towards the west;
But the young, young children, Oh, my brothers, They are weeping bitterly! They are weeping in the play-time of the others, In the country of the free. Do you question the young children in the sorrow, Why their tears are falling so? The old man may weep for his to-morrow, Which is lost in long ago; The old tree is leafless in the forest, The old year is ending in the frost, The old wound, if stricken, is the sorest, The old hope is hardest to be lost!
But the young, young children, Oh, my brothers, Do you ask them why they stand Weeping sore before the bosoms of their mothers In our happy fatherland? They look up with their pale and sunken faces, And their looks are sad to see, For the man's hoary anguish draws and presses Down the cheeks of infancy; "Your old earth," they say, "is very dreary," "Our young feet," they say, "are very weak; Few paces have we taken, yet are weary- Our grave-rest is very far to seek; Ask the aged why they weep, and not the children, For the outside earth is cold, And we young ones stand without in our bewildering, And the graves are for the old."
"True," say the children, "it may happen That we die before our time; Little Alice died last year, her grave is shapen Like a snowball in the rime. We looked into the pit prepared to take her; Was no room for any work in the close clay! From the sleep wherein she lieth none will wake her, Crying, 'Get up, little Alice, it is day.' If you listen by that grave in sun and shower With your ear down, little Alice never cries; Could we see her face, be sure we could not know her, For the smile has time for growing in her eyes! And merry go her moments, lull'd and still'd in The shroud by the kirk chime. It is good when it happens," say the children, "That we die before our time.
Alas! Alas! the children! They are seeking Death in life, as best to have; They are binding up their hearts away from breaking With a cerement from the grave. Go out, children, from the mine and from the city; Sing out, children, as the thrushes do; Pluck your handfuls of the meadow cowslips pretty, Laugh aloud to feel your fingers let them through! But they answer, "Are your cowslips of the meadows Like our weeds anear the mine? Leave us quiet in the dark of the coal-shadows, From your pleasures fair and fine! For oh," say the children, "we are weary, And we cannot run or leap; If we car'd for any meadows it were merely To drop down in them and sleep.
Our knees tremble sorely in the stooping, We fall upon our faces, trying to go; And underneath our heavy eyelids drooping, The reddest flower would look as pale as snow. For all day we drag our burden tiring Through the coal-dark underground; Or all day we drive the wheels of iron In the factories round and round.
"For all day the wheels are droning, turning; Their wind comes in our faces, Till our hearts turn, our heads with pulses burning, And the walls turn in their places; Turns the sky in high window blank and reeling, Turns the long light that drops adown the wall, Turn the black flies that crawl along the ceiling, All are turning, all the day, and we with all; And all day the iron wheels are droning And sometimes we could pray, 'O, ye wheels' (breaking out in mad moaning) 'Stop! be silent for to-day!'"
Aye, be silent! Let them hear each other breathing For a moment mouth to mouth! Let them touch each other's hands in a fresh wreathing Of their tender human youth! Let them feel that this cold metallic motion Is not all the life God fashions or reveals! Let them prove their living souls against the notion That they live in you, or under you, O wheels! Still, all day the iron wheels go onward, Grinding life down from its mark; And the children's souls which God is calling sunward Spin on blindly in the dark.
Now, tell the poor young children, Oh, my brothers, To look up to Him and pray; So the blessed One who blesseth all the others, Will bless them another day. They answer, "Who is God that he should hear us, While the rushing of the iron wheels is stirr'd? When we sob aloud the human creatures near us Pass by, hearing not, or answer not, a word. And we hear not (for the wheels in their resounding) Strangers speaking at the door; Is it likely God, with angels singing round him, Hears our weeping any more?
"Two words, indeed, of praying we remember, And at midnight's hour of harm, 'Our Father,' looking upward in the chamber, We say softly for a charm. We know no other words except 'Our Father,' And we think that, in some pause of the angels' song, God may pluck them with the silence sweet to gather, And hold both within his right hand which is strong. 'Our Father!' If he heard us he would surely (For they call him good and mild) Answer, smiling" down the steep world very purely, 'Come and rest with me, my child.'"
"But no!" say the children, weeping faster, "He is speechless as a stone; And they tell us, of his image is the master Who commands us to work on. Go to," say the children, "up in heaven, Dark, wheel-like turning clouds are all we find. Do not mock us; grief has made us unbelieving; We look up for God, but tears have made us blind." Do you hear the children weeping and disproving, Oh, my brothers, what ye preach? For God's possible is taught by his world's loving, And the children doubt of each.
And well may the children weep before you! They are weary ere they run; They have never seen the sunshine, nor the glory Which is brighter than the sun. They know the grief of man without its wisdom; They sink in man's despair without its calm; Are slaves, without the liberty in Christendom; Are martyrs, by the pang without the palm; Are worn as if with age, yet unretrievingly The harvest of its memories cannot reap- Are orphans of the earthly love and heavenly Let them weep! Let them weep! They look up with their pale and sunken faces And their look is dread to see, For they mind you of their angels in high places With eyes turned on Deity. "How long," they say, "How long, O cruel nation, Will you stand to move the world, on a child's heart— Stifle down with a mailed heel its palpitation, And tread onward to your throne amid the mark? Our blood splashes upward, O gold-heaper, And your purple shows your path! But the child's sob in the silence curses deeper Than the strong man in his wrath.
LORD PALMERSTON THE MORAL INFLUENCE OF ENGLAND
[In March, 1849, Lord Palmerston dilated as follows upon the moral greatness and influence of England.]
I say, in contradiction to the honorable gentleman, that this country does stand well with the great majority of the foreign powers; that the character of this country stands high; that the moral influence of England is great—a moral influence that I do not take credit to this government for having created, but which is founded on the good sense and the wise and enlightened conduct of the British nation. Foreign countries have seen that in the midst of the events which have violently convulsed other countries in Europe, and which have shaken to their foundations ancient institutions, this country has held fast to her ancient landmarks, standing firm in her pride of place:
Fell not, but stands unshaken, from within,
Or from without, 'gainst all temptations armed.
That has given confidence to foreign countries in the government and people of this country. When other monarchies were shaken to their very foundations, England stood unhurt, by its evident security giving confidence to other powers. They have seen that the government of England is not like that of other countries, struggling for its existence, and occupied in guarding against daily dangers. They have seen that the British Constitution acts in unison with the spirit of the nation, with whose interests it is charged. They know that its advice is worthy of being listened to; and that advice is valued and respected, and is not spurned with contumely, as the honorable member would wish us to suppose.
THE "CIVIS ROMANUS" SPEECH
[Nothing which Lord Palmerston ever said or did made more for his popularity and reputation than the closing passage of his speech in the Commons in the "Don Pacifico" debate in June, 1850. He had been speaking for five hours, and it was almost morning when he flung out these high-spirited words.]
I believe I have now gone through all the heads of the charges which have been brought against me in this debate. I think I have shown that the foreign policy of the government in all the transactions with respect to which its conduct has been impugned, has throughout been guided by those principles which, according to the resolution of the honorable and learned gentleman, ought to regulate the conduct of the government of England in the management of our foreign affairs. I believe that the principles on which we have acted are those which are held by the great mass of the people of this country. I am convinced these principles are calculated, so far as the influence of England may properly be exercised with respect to the destinies of other countries, to conduce to the maintenance of peace, to the advancement of civilization, to the welfare and happiness of mankind.
I do not complain of the conduct of those who have made these matters the means of attack upon her Majesty's ministers. The government of a great country like this is, undoubtedly, an object of fair and legitimate ambition to men of all shades of opinion. It is a noble thing to be allowed to guide the policy and to influence the destiny of such a country; and if ever it was an object of honorable ambition, more than ever must it be so at the moment at which I am speaking. For while we have seen, as stated by the right honorable baronet, the political earthquake rocking Europe from side to side; while we have seen thrones shaken, shattered, leveled, institutions overthrown and destroyed; while in almost every country of Europe the conflict of civil war has deluged the land with blood, from the Atlantic to the Black Sea, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, this country has presented a spectacle honorable to the people of England and worthy of the admiration of mankind.
We have shown that liberty is compatible with order; that individual freedom is reconcilable with obedience to the law. We have shown the example of a nation in which every class of society accepts with cheerfulness the lot which Providence has assigned to it, while at the same time every individual of each class is constantly striving to raise himself in the social scale not by injustice and wrong, not by violence and illegality, but by persevering good conduct, and by the steady and energetic exertion of the moral and intellectual faculties with which his Creator has endowed him. To govern such a people as this is indeed an object worthy of the ambition of the noblest man who lives in the land, and therefore I find no fault with those who may think any opportunity a fair one for endeavoring to place themselves in so distinguished and honorable a position; but I contend that we have not in our foreign policy done anything to forfeit the confidence of the country. We may not, perhaps, in this matter or in that, have acted precisely up to the opinions of one person or of another; and hard indeed it is, as we all know by our individual and private experience, to find any number of men agreeing entirely in any matter on which they may not be equally possessed of the details of the facts, circumstances, reasons, and conditions which led to action. But making allowance for those differences of opinion which may fairly and honorably arise among those who concur in general views, I maintain that the principles which can be traced through all our foreign transactions, as the guiding rule and directing spirit of our proceedings, are such as deserve approbation.
I therefore fearlessly challenge the verdict which this House, as representing a political, a commercial, a constitutional country, is to give on the question now brought before it-whether the principles on which the foreign policy of her Majesty's government has been conducted, and the sense of duty which has led us to think ourselves bound to afford protection to our fellow-subjects abroad, are proper and fitting guides for those who are charged with the government of England; and whether, as the Roman in days of old held himself free from indignity when he could say, Civis Romanus sum, so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong.
THE SEPOY MUTINY
THE DEFENSE OF LUCKNOW
[Tennyson's poem was inspired by the recital of one of the most notable features of the Great Mutiny.]
Banner of England, not for a season, O banner of Britain, hast thou Floated in conquering—battle, or flapped to the battle-cry! Never with mightier glory than when we had reared thee on high Flying at top of the roofs in the ghastly siege of Lucknow— Shot thro' the staff or the halyard, but ever we raised thee anew, And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.
Frail were the works that defended the hold that we held with our lives- Women and children among us, God help them, our children and wives! Hold it we might, and for fifteen days, or for twenty at most. "Never surrender, I charge you, but every man die at his post!" Voice of the dead whom we loved, our Laurence, the best of the brave: Cold were his brows when we kissed him-we laid him that night in his grave. "Every man die at his post!" and there halted on our houses and halls Death from their rifle-bullets, and death from their cannon- balls; Death in our innermost chamber, and death at our slight barricade; Death while we stood with the musket, and death while we stooped to the spade; Death to the dying, and wounds to the wounded, for often there fell, Striking the hospital wall, crashing thro' it, their shot and their shell; Death—for their spies were among us, their marksmen were told of our best, So that the brute bullet broke thro' the brain that would think for the rest; Bullets would sing by our foreheads, and bullets would rain at our feet— Fire from ten thousand at once of the rebels who girdled us round— Death at the glimpse of a finger from over the breadth of a street; Death from the heights of the mosque and the palace, and death in the ground! Mine? Yes, a mine. Countermine! down, down! and creep thro' the hole! Keep the revolver in hand! you can hear him—the murderous mole! Quiet, ah! quiet—wait till the point of the pick-ax be thro'! Click with the pick coming nearer and nearer again than before— Now let it speak, and you fire, and the dark pioneer is no more; And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.
Aye, but the foe sprung his mine many times, and it chanced on a day Soon as the blast of that underground thunder-clap echoed away, Dark thro' the smoke and the sulphur, like so many fiends in their hell, Cannon-shot, musket-shot, volley on volley, and yell upon yell— Fiercely on all the defenses our myriad enemy fell. What have they done? Where is it? Out yonder, guard the Redan! Storm at the water-gate! storm at the Bailey-gate! storm! and it ran Surging and swaying all round us, as ocean on every side Plunges and heaves at a bank that is daily drowned by the tide— So many thousands, that if they be bold enough, who shall escape? Kill or be killed, live or die, they shall know we are soldiers and men! Ready! take aim at their leaders—their masses are gapped with our grape— Backward they reel like the wave, like the wave flinging forward again, Flying and foiled at the last by the handful they could not subdue; And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.
Handful of men as we were, we were English in heart and in limb, Strong with the strength of the race, to command, to obey, to endure, Each of us fought as if hope for the garrison hung but on him; Still, could we watch at all points? We were every day fewer and fewer. There was a whisper among us, but only a whisper that passed: "Children and wives—if the tigers leap into the fold unawares- Every man die at his post-and the foe may outlive us at last— Better to fall by the hands that they love, than to fall into theirs." Roar upon roar in a moment, two mines by the enemy sprung, Clove into perilous chasms our walls and our poor palisades, Rifleman, true is your heart, but be sure that your hand be as true! Sharp is the fire of assault, better aimed are your flank fusillades— Twice do we hurl them to earth from the ladders to which they had clung, Twice from the ditch where they shelter, we drive them with hand- grenades; And ever upon our topmost roof our banner of England blew.
Then on another wild morning, another wild earthquake out-tore, Clean from our lines of defense ten or twelve good paces or more. Rifleman high on the roof, hidden there from the light of the sun— One has leapt upon the breach crying out, "Follow me, follow me!" Mark him-he falls! then another, and down goes he. Had they been bold enough then, who can tell but the traitors had won? Boardings and rafters and doors! an embrasure! make way for the gun! Now double-charge it with grape! it is charged and we fire and they run. Praise to our Indian brothers, and let the dark face have his due! Thanks to the kindly dark faces who fought with us, faithful and few, Fought with the bravest among us, and drove them, and smote them and slew, That ever upon our topmost roof our banner in India blew.
Men will forget what we suffer, and not what we do; we can fight! But to be soldier all day, and be sentinel all thro' the night— Ever the mine and assault, our sallies, their lying alarms, Bugles and drums in the darkness, and shoutings and soundings to arms; Ever the labor of fifty that had to be done by five; Ever the marvel among us that one should be left alive; Ever the day with its traitorous death from the loopholes around; Ever the night with its coffinless corpse to be laid in the ground; Heat like the mouth of a hell, or a deluge of cataract skies, Stench of old offal decaying, and infinite torment of flies, Thoughts of the breezes of May blowing over an English field, Cholera, scurvy, and fever, the wound that would not be healed; Lopping away of the limb by the pitiful, pitiless knife— Torture and trouble in vain-for it never could save us a life. Valor of delicate women who tended the hospital bed; Horror of women in travail among the dying and dead; Grief for our perishing children, and never a moment for grief, Toil and ineffable weariness, faltering hopes of relief; Havelock baffled, or beaten, or butchered for all that we knew— Then day and night, day and night coming down on the still shatter'd walls Millions of musket-bullets and thousands of cannon-balls; But ever upon the topmost roof our banner of England blew.
Hark, cannonade, fusillade! Is it true what was told by the scout, Outram and Havelock breaking their way thro' the fell mutineers? Surely the pibroch of Europe is ringing again in our ears! All on a sudden the garrison utter a jubilant shout, Havelock's glorious Highlanders answer with conquering cheers, Sick from the hospital echo them, women and children come out, Blessing the wholesome white faces of Havelock's good fusileers, Kissing the war-hardened hand of the Highlander, wet with their tears! Dance to the pibroch! Saved! We are saved! Is it you? Is it you? Saved by the valor of Havelock; saved by the blessing of heaven! "Hold it for fifteen days!" We have held it for eighty-seven! And ever aloft on the palace roof the old banner of England blew.
THE LIGHT BRIGADE AT BALAKLAVA
[In a letter to the London Times Mr. W. H. Russell, the war correspondent, described the charge of the Light Brigade at Balaklava, one of the most notable incidents of the Crimean War.]
Supposing the spectator, then, to take his stand on one of the heights forming the rear of our camp before Sebastopol, he would have seen the town of Balaklava, with its scanty shipping, its narrow strip of water, and its old forts, on his right hand; immediately below he would have beheld the valley and plain of coarse meadowland, occupied by our cavalry tents, and stretching from the base of the ridge on which he stood to the foot of the formidable heights at the other side; he would have seen the French trenches lined with zouaves a few feet beneath, and distant from him, on the slope of the hill; a Turkish redoubt lower down, then another in the valley, then, in a line with it, some angular earthworks; then, in succession, the other two redoubts up to Canrobert's Hill.
At the distance of two and a half miles across the valley is an abrupt rocky mountain range of most irregular and picturesque formation, covered with scanty brushwood here and there, or rising into barren pinnacles and plateaux of rock. In outline and appearance this portion of the landscape was wonderfully like the Trosachs. A patch of blue sea was caught in between the overhanging cliffs of Balaklava as they closed in the entrance to the harbor on the right. The camp of the marines, pitched on the hillsides more than ten hundred feet above the level of the sea, was opposite to the spectator as his back was turned to Sebastopol and his right side towards Balaklava.....
Soon after occurred the glorious catastrophe which filled us all with sorrow. It appeared that the Quartermaster-General, Brigadier Airey, thinking that the light cavalry had not gone far enough in front when the enemy's horse had fled, gave an order in writing to Captain Nolan, Fifteenth Hussars, to take to Lord Lucan, directing his lordship "to advance" his cavalry nearer to the enemy. A braver soldier than Captain Nolan the army did not possess.....I had the pleasure of his acquaintance, and I know he entertained the most exalted opinions respecting the capabilities of the English horse soldier. Properly led, the British hussar and dragoon could, in his mind, break square, take batteries, ride over columns of infantry, and pierce any other cavalry in the world as if they were made of straw. He thought they had not had the opportunity of doing all that was in their power, and that they missed even such chances as had been offered to them— that, in fact, they were in some measure disgraced. A matchless horseman and a first-rate swordsman, he held in contempt, I am afraid, even grape and canister. He rode off with his orders to Lord Lucan.
.... When Lord Lucan received the order from Captain Nolan, and had read it, he asked, we are told, "Where are we to advance to?" Captain Nolan pointed with his finger to the line of the Russians, and said, "There are the enemy, and there are the guns," or words to that effect, according to the statements made after his death.
It must be premised that Lord Raglan had in the morning only ordered Lord Lucan to move from the position he had taken near the center redoubt to "the left of the second line of redoubts occupied by the Turks." Seeing that the ninety-third and invalids were cut off from the aid of the cavalry, Lord Raglan sent another order to Lord Lucan to send his heavy horse towards Balaklava, and that officer was executing it just as the Russian horse came over the bridge. The heavy cavalry charge took place, and afterwards the men dismounted on the scene of it. After an interval of half an hour, Lord Raglan again sent an order to Lord Lucan: "Cavalry to advance and take advantage of any opportunity to recover the heights. They will be supported by infantry, which has been ordered to advance upon two fronts." Lord Raglan's reading of this order is, that the infantry had been ordered to advance on two fronts; but no such interpretation is borne out by the wording of the order. It does not appear either that the infantry had received orders to advance, for the Duke of Cambridge and Sir G. Cathcart state that they were not in receipt of such instruction. Lord Lucan advanced his cavalry to the ridge, close to No. 5 redoubt, and while there received from Captain Nolan an order which is, verbatim, as follows: "Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front, follow the enemy, and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the guns; troops of horse artillery may accompany. French cavalry is on your left. Immediate."
Lord Lucan with reluctance—gave the order to Lord Cardigan to advance upon the guns, conceiving that his orders compelled him to do so.....It is a maxim of war that "cavalry never act without a support," that "infantry should be close at hand when cavalry carry guns, as the effect is only instantaneous," and that it is necessary to have on the flank of a line of cavalry some squadrons in column, the attack on the flank being most dangerous. The only support our light cavalry had was the reserve of heavy cavalry at a great distance behind them, the infantry and guns being far in the rear. There were no squadrons in column at all, and there was a plain to charge over, before the enemy's guns could be reached, of a mile and a half in length.
At ten minutes past eleven our light cavalry brigade advanced. The whole brigade scarcely made one effective regiment, according to the numbers of continental armies; and yet it was more than we could spare. As they rushed towards the front, the Russians opened on them from the guns in the redoubt on the right, with volleys of musketry and rifles. They swept proudly past, glittering in the morning sun in all the pride and splendor of war. We could scarcely believe our senses! Surely that handful of men were not going to charge an army in position? .... They advanced in two lines, quickening their pace as they closed towards the enemy. A more fearful spectacle was never witnessed by those who, without power to aid, beheld their heroic countrymen rushing to the arms of death. At the distance of twelve hundred yards, the whole line of the enemy belched forth, from thirty iron mouths, a flood of smoke and flame, through which hissed the deadly balls. Their flight was marked by instant gaps in our ranks, by dead men and horses, by steeds flying wounded or riderless across the plain. The first line was broken- -it was joined by the second, they never halted or checked their speed an instant. With diminished ranks, thinned by those thirty guns, which the Russians had laid with the most deadly accuracy, with a halo of flashing steel above their heads, and with a cheer which was many a noble fellow's death-cry, they flew into the smoke of the batteries; but ere they were lost to view, the plain was strewed with their bodies and with the carcasses of horses. They were exposed to an oblique fire from the batteries on the hills on both sides, as well as to the direct fire of musketry.
Through the clouds of smoke we could see their sabres flashing as they rode up to the guns and dashed between them, cutting down the gunners as they stood. We saw them riding through the guns, as I have said; to our delight we saw them returning, after breaking through a column of Russian infantry, and scattering them like chaff, when the flank fire of the battery on the hill swept them down. Wounded men and dismounted troopers flying towards us told the sad tale—demi-gods could not have done what they had failed to do. At the very moment when they were about to retreat a regiment of lancers was hurled upon their flank. Colonel Shewell, of the Eighth Hussars, whose attention was drawn to them by Lieutenant Phillips, saw the danger, and rode his few men straight at them, cutting his way through with fearful loss..... It was as much as our heavy cavalry brigade could do to cover the retreat of the miserable remnants of that band of heroes as they returned to the place they had so lately quitted in all the pride of life. At thirty-five minutes past eleven not a British soldier, except the dead and dying, was left in front of these bloody Muscovite guns.
WILLIAM EWART GLADSTONE
[In 1886, Mr. Gladstone, being then in his seventy-seventh year, brought in his first bill for Irish Home Rule. The wonderful series of speeches in its behalf was closed by one of great power on the night of June 7th. It was already clear that the secessions from the Liberal ranks would prevent the passage of the bill to its second reading. Just before the division the Prime Minister spoke. The extract given below reproduces his final appeal.]
HOME RULE FOR IRELAND
This is the earliest moment in our parliamentary history when we have the voice of Ireland authentically expressed in our hearing. Majorities of Home Rulers there may have been upon other occasions; a practical majority of Irish members never has been brought together for such a purpose. Now, first, we can understand her; now, first, we are able to deal with her; we are able to learn authentically what she wants and wishes, what she offers and will do; and as we ourselves enter into the strongest moral and honorable obligations by the steps which we take in this House, so we have before us practically an Ireland under the representative system able to give us equally authentic information, able morally to convey to us an assurance the breach and rupture of which would cover Ireland with disgrace.....What is the case of Ireland at this moment? Have honorable gentlemen considered that they are coming into conflict with a nation? Can anything stop a nation's demand, except its being proved to be immoderate and unsafe? But here are multitudes, and I believe millions upon millions, out-of-doors, who feel this demand to be neither immoderate nor unsafe. In our opinion, there is but one question before us about this demand. It is as to the time and circumstance of granting it. There is no question in our minds that it will be granted. We wish it to be granted in the mode prescribed by Mr. Burke. Mr. Burke said, in his first speech at Bristol:
"I was true to my old-standing, invariable principle, that all things which came from Great Britain should issue as a gift of her bounty and beneficence, rather than as claims recovered against struggling litigants, or at least if your beneficence obtained no credit in your concessions, yet that they should appear the salutary provisions of your wisdom and foresight—not as things wrung from you with your blood by the cruel gripe of a rigid necessity."
The difference between giving with freedom and dignity on the one side, with acknowledgment and gratitude on the other, and giving under compulsion, giving with disgrace, giving with resentment dogging you at every step of your path, this difference is, in our eyes, fundamental, and this is the main reason not only why we have acted, but why we have acted now. This, if I understand it, is one of the golden moments of our history—one of those opportunities which may come and may go, but which rarely return, or, if they return, return at long intervals, and under circumstances which no man can forecast.
There have been such golden moments even in the tragic history of Ireland, as her poet says—
"One time the harp of Innisfail Was tuned to notes of gladness."
And then he goes on to say—
" But yet did oftener tell a tale Of more prevailing sadness."
But there was such a golden moment—it was in 1795—it was on the mission of Lord Fitzwilliam. At that moment it is historically clear that the Parliament of Grattan was on the point of solving the Irish problem. The two great knots of that problem were, in the first place, Roman Catholic emancipation; and in the second place, the Reform of Parliament. The cup was at her lips, and she was ready to drink it, when the hand of England rudely and ruthlessly dashed it to the ground in obedience to the wild and dangerous intimations of an Irish faction.
"Ex illo fluere ac retro sublapsa referri, Spes Danaum."
There has been no great day of hope for Ireland, no day when you might hope completely and definitely to end the controversy, till now—more than ninety years. The long periodic time has at last run out, and the star has again mounted into the heavens. What Ireland was doing for herself in 1795 we at length have done. The Roman Catholics have been emancipated—emancipated after a woeful disregard of solemn promises through twenty-nine years, emancipated slowly, sullenly, not from good will, but from abject terror, with all the fruits and consequences which will always follow that method of legislation. The second problem has been also solved, and the representation of Ireland has been thoroughly reformed; and I am thankful to say that the franchise was given to Ireland on the readjustment of last year with a free heart, with an open hand, and the gift of that franchise was the last act required to make the success of Ireland in her final effort absolutely sure. We have given Ireland a voice; we must all listen for a moment to what she says. We must all listen— both sides, both parties, I mean as they are, divided on this question—divided, I am afraid, by an almost immeasurable gap. We do not undervalue or despise the forces opposed to us. I have described them as the forces of class and its dependents; and that as a general description—as a slight and rude outline of a description—is, I believe, perfectly true. I do not deny that many are against us whom we should have expected to be for us. I do not deny that some whom we see against us have caused us by their conscientious action the bitterest disappointment. You have power, you have wealth, you have rank, you have station, you have organization. What have we? We think that we have the people's heart; we believe and we know we have the promise of the harvest of the future. As to the people's heart, you may dispute it, and dispute it with perfect sincerity. Let that matter make its own proof. As to the harvest of the future, I doubt if you have so much confidence, and I believe that there is in the breast of many a man who means to vote against us to-night a profound misgiving approaching even to a deep conviction that the end will be as we foresee, and not as you do—that the ebbing tide is with you and the flowing tide is with us. Ireland stands at your bar expectant, hopeful, almost suppliant. Her words are the words of truth and soberness. She asks a blessed oblivion of the past, and in that oblivion our interest is deeper than even hers. My right honorable friend, the member for East Edinburgh (Mr. Goschen) asks us to-night to abide by the traditions of which we are the heirs. What traditions? By the Irish traditions? Go into the length and breadth of the world, ransack the literature of all countries, find, if you can, a single voice, a single book, find, I would almost say, as much as a single newspaper article, unless the product of the day, in which the conduct of England towards Ireland is anywhere treated except with profound and bitter condemnation. Are these the traditions by which we are exhorted to stand? No; they are a sad exception to the glory of our country. They are a broad and black blot upon the pages of its history; and what we want to do is to stand by the traditions of which we are the heirs in all matters except our relations with Ireland, and to make our relations with Ireland to conform to the other traditions of our country. So we treat our traditions—so we hail the demand of Ireland for what I call a blessed oblivion of the past. She asks also a boon for the future; and that boon for the future, unless we are much mistaken, will be a boon to us in respect of honor, no less than a boon to her in respect of happiness, prosperity, and peace. Such, sir, is her prayer. Think, I beseech you, think well, think wisely, think not for the moment, but for the years that are to come, before you reject this bill.
IRISH NATIONALIST POETRY
[From the abundance of poetry which has been inspired by the Irish Nationalist cause, the two following poems have been selected as characteristic. The first, by Michael Scanlan, has been called the Marseillaise of the Fenian movement. The second is by Fanny Parnell.]
THE FENIAN MEN
See who come over the red-blossomed heather, Their green banners kissing the pure mountain air, Heads erect, eyes to front, stepping proudly together, Sure freedom sits throned in each proud spirit there! Down the hills twining, Their blessed steel shining Like rivers of beauty they flow from each glen, From mountain and valley, 'tis liberty's rally Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!
Our prayers and our tears have been scoffed and derided, They've shut out God's sunlight from spirit and mind; Our foes were united and we were divided, We met, and they scattered us all to the wind; But once more returning, Within our veins burning The fires that illumined dark Aherlou glen, We raise the old cry anew, Slogan of Con and Hugh, Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!
We have men from the Nore, from the Suir, and the Shannon; Let the tyrants come forth, we'll bring force against force; Our pen is the sword and our voice is the cannon, Rifle for rifle, horse against horse. We've made the false Saxon yield Many a red battle-field, God on our side we will do so again; Pay them back woe for woe, Give them back blow for blow, Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!
Side by side for this cause have our forefathers battled When our hills never echoed the tread of a slave; On many green fields, where the leaden hail rattled Thro' the red gap of glory they marched to the grave, And we who inherit Their names and their spirit Will march 'neath our banner of liberty; then All who love Saxon law Native or Sassenah Out, and make way for the Fenian Men!
Up for the cause, then, fling forth our green banners, From the east to the west, from the south to the north— Irish land, Irish men, Irish mirth, Irish manners— From the mansion and cot let the slogan go forth; Sons of old Ireland now, Love you our sireland now? Come from the kirk, or the chapel, or glen; Down with all faction old; Concert and action bold, This is the creed of the Fenian Men!
Shall mine eyes behold thy glory, O my country, Shall mine eyes behold thy glory? Or shall the darkness close around them ere the sun blaze Break at last upon thy story?
When the nations ope for thee their queenly circle, As a sweet new sister hail thee, Shall these lips be sealed in callous death and silence That have known but to bewail thee?
Shall the ear be deaf that only loved thy praises When all men their tribute bring thee? Shall the mouth be clay that sang thee in thy squalor When all poet's mouths shall sing thee?
Ah, the harpings and the salvos and the shoutings Of thy exiled sons returning! I should hear though dead and moldered, and the grave-damps Should not chill my bosom's burning.
Ah, the tramp of feet victorious! I should hear them 'Mid the shamrocks and the mosses, And my heart should toll within the shroud and quarter As a captive dreamer tosses.
I should turn and rend the cere-clothes round me, Giant sinews I should borrow, Crying, "Oh, my brothers, I have also loved her, In her loneliness and sorrow.
"Let me join with you the jubilant procession, Let me chant with you her story; Then contented I shall go back to the shamrocks Now mine eyes have seen her glory."
[The speech which most endeared Disraeli to the Tories was delivered in the House of Commons January 22,1846. Peel had just declared his conversion to free trade and his intention to repeal the Corn Law duties, when Disraeli rose and in behalf of the unconverted Tory protectionists poured his fire into the face of the Prime Minister.]
Sir, I rise with some feeling of embarrassment to address the House at this stage of the debate, as it is only since I have entered the House that I have had the advantage of reading her Majesty's speech; and I had understood that the great question which now agitates the country was not to be discussed on the present occasion.....I should have abstained from intruding myself on the House at the present moment, had it not been for the peculiar tone of the right honorable gentleman (Sir Robert Peel). I think that tone ought not to pass unnoticed. At the same time I do not wish to conceal my opinions on the general subject. I am not one of the converts. I am, perhaps, a member of a fallen party. To the opinions which I have expressed in this House in favor of protection I adhere. They sent me to this House, and if I had relinquished them, I should have relinquished my seat also. I must say that the tone of the right honorable gentleman is hardly fair towards the House, while he stops discussion upon a subject on which he himself has entered and given vent to his feelings with a fervency unusual to him. Sir, I admire a minister who says he holds power to give effect to his own convictions. These are sentiments that we must all applaud. Unfortunate will be the position of this country when a minister pursues a line of policy adverse to the convictions which he himself entertains. But when we come to a question of such high delicacy as the present, we may be permitted to ask ourselves what are the circumstances which require one so able, and one so eminent, to enter upon the vindication of himself, and to rise in this House, amid the cheers of his former opponents, to place himself in a position of an apologetical character to those who were once of his own party? I have no doubt that the right honorable gentleman has arrived at a conscientious conclusion on this great subject. The right honorable gentleman says that it is not so much by force of argument as by the cogency of observation that he has arrived at this conclusion. But, sir, surely the observation which the right honorable gentleman has made might have been made when he filled a post scarcely less considerable than that which he now occupies, and enjoyed power scarcely less ample than that which he now wields in this House. I want to know how it is that the right honorable gentleman, who certainly enjoys the full maturity of manhood, should not have arrived at this opinion, which I deplore, although conscientious, at the moment when his present government was formed! What, sir, are we to think of the eminent statesman who, having served under four sovereigns; unable to complain of want of experience or royal confidence; who, having been called on to steer the ship on so many occasions, and under such perilous circumstances, has only during the last three years found it necessary entirely to change his convictions on that important topic which must have presented itself for more than a quarter of a century to his consideration?
Sir, I must say that such a minister may be conscientious, but that he is unfortunate. I will say, also, that he ought to be the last man in the world to turn round and upbraid his party in a tone of menace. Sir, there is a difficulty in finding a parallel to the position of the right honorable gentleman in any part of history. The only parallel which I can find is an incident in the late war in the Levant.....I remember when that great struggle was taking place, when the existence of the Turkish empire was at stake, the late Sultan, a man of great energy and fertile in resources, was determined to fit out an immense fleet to maintain his empire. Accordingly a vast armament was collected. It consisted of some of the finest ships that were ever built. The crews were picked men, the officers were the ablest that could be found, and both officers and men were rewarded before they fought. There never was an armament which left the Dardanelles similarly appointed since the days of Solyman the Great. The Sultan personally witnessed the departure of the fleet; all the muftis prayed for the success of the expedition, as all the muftis here prayed for the success of the last general election. Away went the fleet, but what was the Sultan's consternation when the Lord High Admiral steered at once into the enemy's port! Now, sir, the Lord High Admiral on that occasion was very much misrepresented. He, too, was called a traitor, and he, too, vindicated himself. "True it is," said he, "I did place myself at the head of this valiant armada; true it is that my sovereign embraced me; true it is that all the muftis in the empire offered up prayers for my success; but I have an objection to war. I see no use in prolonging the struggle, and the only reason I had for accepting the command was that I might terminate the contest by betraying my master." ....
Well, now, the right honorable gentleman has turned round on us, and in a peroration, the elaborate character of which remarkably contrasted with the garrulous confidence of all the doings of his cabinet, the right honorable gentleman told us that he had been assured that a certain power had made him minister, and that a certain power would prevent him from being a minister; but that he protested against such an authority, and that he never would hold office by so servile a tenure. Sir, no one can fill a position such as that of the right honorable gentleman and give utterance to sentiments so magnanimous as his without reference to antecedents. And that leads us to the consideration of that government by parties, which must never be lost sight of in estimating the position of the right honorable gentleman. It is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to say, "I am the First Minister"—and by the by, I think the right honorable gentleman might as well adopt the phraseology of Walpole, and call himself the sole minister, for his speech was rich in egoistic rhetoric—it is all very well for him to speak of himself as the sole minister, for as all his cabinet voted against him, he is quite right not to notice them. I repeat, it is all very well for the right honorable gentleman to come forward to this table and say, "I am thinking of posterity, although certainly I am doing on this side of the table the contrary to that which I counseled when I stood upon the other; but my sentiments are magnanimous, my aim is heroic, and appealing to posterity, I care neither for your cheers nor your taunts."
But, sir, we must ask ourselves, as members of the House of Commons, as the subjects of a popular government—we must ask ourselves, what were the means, what the machinery, by which the right honorable gentleman acquired his position, how he obtained power to turn round upon his supporters, and to treat them with contempt and disdain? Sir, the right honorable gentleman has supported a different policy for a number of years. Well do we remember on this side of the House—perhaps not without a blush— well do we remember the efforts which we made to raise him to the bench on which he now sits. Who does not remember the "sacred cause of protection," the cause for which sovereigns were thwarted, Parliaments dissolved, and a nation taken in? Delightful, indeed, to have the right honorable gentleman entering into all his confidential details, when, to use his courtly language, he "called" upon his sovereign. Sir, he called on his sovereign; but would his sovereign have called on the right honorable baronet, if, in 1841, he had not placed himself, as he said, at the head of the gentlemen of England—that well- known position, to be preferred even to the confidence of sovereigns and courts? It is all very well for the right honorable baronet to take this high-flying course, but I think myself, I say it with great respect for gentlemen on this side of the House, and gentlemen on the other; I say it without any wish to achieve a party triumph, for I believe I belong to a party which can triumph no more, for we have nothing left on our side except the constituencies which we have betrayed; but I do say my conception of a great statesman is of one who represents a great idea—an idea which may lead him to power; an idea with which he may identify himself; an idea which he may develop; an idea which he may and can impress on the mind and conscience of a nation. That, sir, is my notion of what makes a man a great statesman. I do not care whether he be a manufacturer or a manufacturer's son. That is a grand, that is indeed an heroic, position. But I care not what may be the position of a man who never originates an idea—a watcher of the atmosphere, a man who, as he says, takes his observations, and when he finds the wind in a certain quarter, trims to suit it. Such a person may be a powerful minister, but he is no more a great statesman than the man who gets up behind a carriage is a great whip. Both are disciples of progress; both perhaps may get a good place. But how far the original momentum is indebted to their powers, and how far their guiding prudence regulates the lash or the rein, it is not necessary for me to notice.
[Rudyard Kipling's long poem "A Song of the English," and the shorter, "White Man's Burden," may be read in connection with this topic; but nothing better asserts the imperial idea than the lines written by Tennyson at the request of the Prince of Wales (Edward VII.) for the opening of the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in 1886.]
Welcome, welcome with one voice! In your welfare we rejoice, Sons and brothers that have sent, From isle and cape and continent, Produce of your field and flood, Mount and mine and primal wood; Works of subtle brain and hand, And splendors of the morning land, Gifts from every British zone; Britons, hold your own!
May we find, as ages run, The mother featured in the son; And may yours forever be That old strength and constancy Which has made your fathers great In our ancient island state; And wherever her flag fly, Glorying between sea and sky, Makes the might of Britain known, Britons, hold your own!
Britain fought her sons of yore— Britain failed; and nevermore, Careless of our growing kin, Shall we sin our fathers' sin; Men that in a narrower day— Unprophetic rulers they— Drove from out the mother's nest That young eagle of the West To forage for herself alone; Britons, hold your own!
Sharers of our glorious past, Brothers, must we part at last? Shall we not thro' good and ill Cleave to one another still? Britain's myriad voices call, "Sons, be welded, each and all, Into one imperial whole, One with Britain, heart and soul! One life, one flag, one fleet, one throne; Britons, hold your own!