But, gentlemen, the charge against the House of Lords is that the dignities are hereditary, and we are told that if we have a House of Peers they should be peers for life. There are great authorities in favor of this, and even my noble friend near me [Lord Derby], the other day, gave in his adhesion to a limited application of this principle. Now, gentlemen, in the first place, let me observe that every peer is a peer for life, as he cannot be a peer after his death; but some peers for life are succeeded in their dignities by their children. The question arises, who is most responsible—a peer for life whose dignities are not descendible, or a peer for life whose dignities are hereditary? Now, gentlemen, a peer for life is in a very strong position. He says: "Here I am; I have got power and I will exercise it." I have no doubt that, on the whole, a peer for life would exercise it for what he deemed was the public good. Let us hope that. But, after all, he might and could exercise it according to his own will. Nobody can call him to account; he is independent of everybody. But a peer for life whose dignities descend is in a very different position. He has every inducement to study public opinion, and, when he believes it just, to yield; because he naturally feels that if the order to which he belongs is in constant collision with public opinion, the chances are that his dignities will not descend to his posterity.
Therefore, gentlemen, I am not prepared myself to believe that a solution of any difficulties in the public mind on this subject is to be found by creating peers for life. I know there are some philosophers who believe that the best substitute for the House of Lords would be an assembly formed of ex-governors of colonies. I have not sufficient experience on that subject to give a decided opinion upon it. When the Muse of Comedy threw her frolic grace over society, a retired governor was generally one of the characters in every comedy; and the last of our great actors,—who, by the way, was a great favorite at Manchester,—Mr. Farren, was celebrated for his delineation of the character in question. Whether it be the recollection of that performance or not, I confess I am inclined to believe that an English gentleman—born to business, managing his own estate, administering the affairs of his county, mixing with all classes of his fellow-men, now in the hunting field, now in the railway direction, unaffected, unostentatious, proud of his ancestors, if they have contributed to the greatness of our common country—is, on the whole, more likely to form a Senator agreeable to English opinion and English taste than any substitute that has yet been produced.
Gentlemen, let me make one observation more on the subject of the House of Lords before I conclude. There is some advantage in political experience. I remember the time when there was a similar outcry against the House of Lords, but much more intense and powerful; and, gentlemen, it arose from the same cause. A Liberal government had been installed in office, with an immense Liberal majority. They proposed some violent measures. The House of Lords modified some, delayed others, and some they threw out. Instantly there was a cry to abolish or to reform the House of Lords, and the greatest popular orator [Daniel O'Connell] that probably ever existed was sent on a pilgrimage over England to excite the people in favor of this opinion. What happened? That happened, gentlemen, which may happen to-morrow. There was a dissolution of Parliament. The great Liberal majority vanished. The balance of parties was restored. It was discovered that the House of Lords had behind them at least half of the English people. We heard no more cries for their abolition or their reform, and before two years more passed England was really governed by the House of Lords, under the wise influence of the Duke of Wellington and the commanding eloquence of Lyndhurst; and such was the enthusiasm of the nation in favor of the second chamber that at every public meeting its health was drunk, with the additional sentiment, for which we are indebted to one of the most distinguished members that ever represented the House of Commons: "Thank God, there is the House of Lords."
Gentlemen, you will, perhaps, not be surprised that, having made some remarks upon the monarchy and the House of Lords, I should say something respecting that house in which I have literally passed the greater part of my life, and to which I am devotedly attached. It is not likely, therefore, that I should say anything to depreciate the legitimate position and influence of the House of Commons. Gentlemen, it is said that the diminished power of the throne and the assailed authority of the House of Lords are owing to the increased power of the House of Commons, and the new position which of late years, and especially during the last forty years, it has assumed in the English constitution. Gentlemen, the main power of the House of Commons depends upon its command over the public purse, and its control of the public expenditure; and if that power is possessed by a party which has a large majority in the House of Commons, the influence of the House of Commons is proportionately increased, and, under some circumstances, becomes more predominant. But, gentlemen, this power of the House of Commons is not a power which has been created by any reform act, from the days of Lord Grey, in 1832, to 1867. It is the power which the House of Commons has enjoyed for centuries, which it has frequently asserted and sometimes even tyrannically exercised. Gentlemen, the House of Commons represents the constituencies of England, and I am here to show you that no addition to the elements of that constituency has placed the House of Commons in a different position with regard to the throne and the House of Lords from that it has always constitutionally occupied.
Gentlemen, we speak now on this subject with great advantage. We recently have had published authentic documents upon this matter which are highly instructive. We have, for example, just published the census of Great Britain, and we are now in possession of the last registration of voters for the United Kingdom. Gentlemen, it appears that by the census the population at this time is about 32,000,000. It is shown by the last registration that, after making the usual deductions for deaths, removals, double entries, and so on, the constituency of the United Kingdom may be placed at 2,200,000. So, gentlemen, it at once appears that there are 30,000,000 people in this country who are as much represented by the House of Lords as by the House of Commons, and who, for the protection of their rights, must depend upon them and the majesty of the throne. And now, gentlemen, I will tell you what was done by the last reform act.
Lord Grey, in his measure of 1832, which was no doubt a statesmanlike measure, committed a great, and for a time it appeared an irretrievable, error. By that measure he fortified the legitimate influence of the aristocracy, and accorded to the middle classes great and salutary franchises; but he not only made no provision for the representation of the working classes in the constitution, but he absolutely abolished those ancient franchises which the working classes had peculiarly enjoyed and exercised from time immemorial. Gentlemen, that was the origin of Chartism, and of that electoral uneasiness which existed in this country more or less for thirty years.
The Liberal party, I feel it my duty to say, had not acted fairly by this question. In their adversity they held out hopes to the working classes, but when they had a strong government they laughed their vows to scorn. In 1848 there was a French revolution, and a republic was established. No one can have forgotten what the effect was in this country. I remember the day when not a woman could leave her house in London, and when cannon were planted on Westminster Bridge. When Lord Derby became prime minister affairs had arrived at such a point that it was of the first moment that the question should be sincerely dealt with. He had to encounter great difficulties, but he accomplished his purpose with the support of a united party. And gentlemen, what has been the result? A year ago there was another revolution in France, and a republic was again established of the most menacing character. What happened in this country? You could not get half a dozen men to assemble in a street and grumble. Why? Because the people had got what they wanted. They were content, and they were grateful.
But, gentlemen, the constitution of England is not merely a constitution in State, it is a constitution in Church and State. The wisest sovereigns and statesmen have ever been anxious to connect authority with religion—some to increase their power, some, perhaps, to mitigate its exercise. But the same difficulty has been experienced in effecting this union which has been experienced in forming a second chamber—either the spiritual power has usurped upon the civil, and established a sacerdotal society, or the civil power has invaded successfully the rights of the spiritual, and the ministers of religion have been degraded into stipendiaries of the state and instruments of the government. In England we accomplish this great result by an alliance between Church and State, between two originally independent powers. I will not go into the history of that alliance, which is rather a question for those archaeological societies which occasionally amuse and instruct the people of this city. Enough for me that this union was made and has contributed for centuries to the civilization of this country. Gentlemen, there is the same assault against the Church of England and the union between the State and the Church as there is against the monarchy and against the House of Lords. It is said that the existence of nonconformity proves that the Church is a failure. I draw from these premises an exactly contrary conclusion; and I maintain that to have secured a national profession of faith with the unlimited enjoyment of private judgment in matters spiritual, is the solution of the most difficult problem, and one of the triumphs of civilization.
It is said that the existence of parties in the Church also proves its incompetence. On that matter, too, I entertain a contrary opinion. Parties have always existed in the Church; and some have appealed to them as arguments in favor of its divine institution, because, in the services and doctrines of the Church have been found representatives of every mood in the human mind. Those who are influenced by ceremonies find consolation in forms which secure to them the beauty of holiness. Those who are not satisfied except with enthusiasm find in its ministrations the exaltation they require, while others who believe that the "anchor of faith" can never be safely moored except in the dry sands of reason find a religion within the pale of the Church which can boast of its irrefragable logic and its irresistible evidence.
Gentlemen, I am inclined sometimes to believe that those who advocate the abolition of the union between Church and State have not carefully considered the consequences of such a course. The Church is a powerful corporation of many millions of her Majesty's subjects, with a consummate organization and wealth which in its aggregate is vast. Restricted and controlled by the State, so powerful a corporation may be only fruitful of public advantage, but it becomes a great question what might be the consequences of the severance of the controlling tie between these two bodies. The State would be enfeebled, but the Church would probably be strengthened. Whether that is a result to be desired is a grave question for all men. For my own part, I am bound to say that I doubt whether it would be favorable to the cause of civil and religious liberty. I know that there is a common idea that if the union between Church and State was severed, the wealth of the Church would revert to the State; but it would be well to remember that the great proportion of ecclesiastical property is the property of individuals. Take, for example, the fact that the great mass of Church patronage is patronage in the hands of private persons. That you could not touch without compensation to the patrons. You have established that principle in your late Irish Bill, where there was very little patronage. And in the present state of the public mind on the subject, there is very little doubt that there would be scarcely a patron in England—irrespective of other aid the Church would receive—who would not dedicate his compensation to the spiritual wants of his neighbors.
It was computed some years ago that the property of the Church in this manner, if the union was terminated, would not be less than between 80,000,000 and 90,000,000 pounds, and since that period the amount of private property dedicated to the purposes of the Church has very largely increased. I therefore trust that when the occasion offers for the country to speak out it will speak out in an unmistakable manner on this subject; and recognizing the inestimable services of the Church, that it will call upon the government to maintain its union with the State. Upon this subject there is one remark I would make. Nothing is more surprising to me than the plea on which the present outcry is made against the Church of England. I could not believe that in the nineteenth century the charge against the Church of England should be that churchmen, and especially the clergy, had educated the people. If I were to fix upon one circumstance more than another which redounded to the honor of churchmen, it is that they should fulfill this noble office; and, next to being "the stewards of divine mysteries," I think the greatest distinction of the clergy is the admirable manner in which they have devoted their lives and their fortunes to this greatest of national objects.
Gentlemen, you are well acquainted in this city with this controversy. It was in this city—I don't know whether it was not in this hall—that that remarkable meeting was held of the Nonconformists to effect important alterations in the Education Act, and you are acquainted with the discussion in Parliament which arose in consequence of that meeting. Gentlemen, I have due and great respect for the Nonconformist body. I acknowledge their services to their country, and though I believe that the political reasons which mainly called them into existence have entirely ceased, it is impossible not to treat with consideration a body which has been eminent for its conscience, its learning, and its patriotism; but I must express my mortification that, from a feeling of envy or of pique, the Nonconformist body, rather than assist the Church in its great enterprise, should absolutely have become the partisans of a merely secular education. I believe myself, gentlemen, that without the recognition of a superintending Providence in the affairs of this world all national education will be disastrous, and I feel confident that it is impossible to stop at that mere recognition. Religious education is demanded by the nation generally and by the instincts of human nature. I should like to see the Church and the Nonconformists work together; but I trust, whatever may be the result, the country will stand by the Church in its efforts to maintain the religious education of the people. Gentlemen, I foresee yet trials for the Church of England; but I am confident in its future. I am confident in its future because I believe there is now a very general feeling that to be national it must be comprehensive. I will not use the word "broad," because it is an epithet applied to a system with which I have no sympathy. But I would wish churchmen, and especially the clergy, always to remember that in our "Father's home there are many mansions," and I believe that comprehensive spirit is perfectly consistent with the maintenance of formularies and the belief in dogmas without which I hold no practical religion can exist.
Gentlemen, I have now endeavored to express to you my general views upon the most important subjects that can interest Englishmen. They are subjects upon which, in my mind, a man should speak with frankness and clearness to his countrymen, and although I do not come down here to make a party speech, I am bound to say that the manner in which those subjects are treated by the leading subject of this realm is to me most unsatisfactory. Although the prime minister of England is always writing letters and making speeches, and particularly on these topics, he seems to me ever to send forth an "uncertain sound." If a member of Parliament announces himself a Republican, Mr. Gladstone takes the earliest opportunity of describing him as a "fellow-worker" in public life. If an inconsiderate multitude calls for the abolition or reform of the House of Lords, Mr. Gladstone says that it is no easy task, and that he must think once or twice, or perhaps even thrice, before he can undertake it. If your neighbor, the member for Bradford, Mr. Miall, brings forward a motion in the House of Commons for the severance of Church and State, Mr. Gladstone assures Mr. Miall with the utmost courtesy that he believes the opinion of the House of Commons is against him, but that if Mr. Miall wishes to influence the House of Commons he must address the people out of doors; whereupon Mr. Miall immediately calls a public meeting, and alleges as its cause the advice he has just received from the prime minister.
But, gentlemen, after all, the test of political institutions is the condition of the country whose fortunes they regulate; and I do not mean to evade that test. You are the inhabitants of an island of no colossal size; which, geographically speaking, was intended by nature as the appendage of some continental empire—either of Gauls and Franks on the other side of the Channel or of Teutons and Scandinavians beyond the German Sea. Such indeed, and for a long period, was your early history. You were invaded; you were pillaged and you were conquered; yet amid all these disgraces and vicissitudes there was gradually formed that English race which has brought about a very different state of affairs. Instead of being invaded, your land is proverbially the only "inviolate land"—"the inviolate land of the sage and free." Instead of being plundered, you have attracted to your shores all the capital of the world. Instead of being conquered, your flag floats on many waters, and your standard waves in either zone. It may be said that these achievements are due to the race that inhabited the land, and not to its institutions. Gentlemen, in political institutions are the embodied experiences of a race. You have established a society of classes which give vigor and variety to life. But no class possesses a single exclusive privilege, and all are equal before the law. You possess a real aristocracy, open to all who desire to enter it. You have not merely a middle class, but a hierarchy of middle classes, in which every degree of wealth, refinement, industry, energy, and enterprise is duly represented.
And now, gentlemen, what is the condition of the great body of the people? In the first place, gentlemen, they have for centuries been in the full enjoyment of that which no other country in Europe has ever completely attained—complete rights of personal freedom. In the second place, there has been a gradual, and therefore a wise, distribution on a large scale of political rights. Speaking with reference to the industries of this great part of the country, I can personally contrast it with the condition of the working classes forty years ago. In that period they have attained two results— the raising of their wages and the diminution of their toil. Increased means and increased leisure are the two civilizers of man. That the working classes of Lancashire and Yorkshire have proved not unworthy of these boons may be easily maintained; but their progress and elevation have been during this interval wonderfully aided and assisted by three causes, which are not so distinctively attributable to their own energies. The first is the revolution in locomotion, which has opened the world to the working man, which has enlarged the horizon of his experience, increased his knowledge of nature and of art, and added immensely to the salutary recreation, amusement, and pleasure of his existence. The second cause is the cheap postage, the moral benefits of which cannot be exaggerated. And the third is that unshackled press which has furnished him with endless sources of instruction, information, and amusement.
Gentlemen, if you would permit me, I would now make an observation upon another class of the laboring population. This is not a civic assembly, although we meet in a city. That was for convenience, but the invitation which I received was to meet the county and all the boroughs of Lancashire; and I wish to make a few observations upon the condition of the agricultural laborer. That is a subject which now greatly attracts public attention. And, in the first place, to prevent any misconception, I beg to express my opinion that an agricultural laborer has as much right to combine for the bettering of his condition as a manufacturing laborer or a worker in metals. If the causes of his combination are natural—that is to say, if they arise from his own feelings and from the necessities of his own condition—the combination will end in results mutually beneficial to employers and employed. If, on the other hand, it is factitious and he is acted upon by extraneous influences and extraneous ideas, the combination will produce, I fear, much loss and misery both to employers and employed; and after a time he will find himself in a similar, or in a worse, position.
Gentlemen, in my opinion, the farmers of England cannot, as a body, afford to pay higher wages than they do, and those who will answer me by saying that they must find their ability by the reduction of rents are, I think, involving themselves with economic laws which may prove too difficult for them to cope with. The profits of a fanner are very moderate. The interest upon capital invested in land is the smallest that any property furnishes. The farmer will have his profits and the investor in land will have his interest, even though they may be obtained at the cost of changing the mode of the cultivation of the country. Gentlemen, I should deeply regret to see the tillage of this country reduced, and a recurrence to pasture take place. I should regret it principally on account of the agricultural laborers themselves. Their new friends call them Hodge, and describe them as a stolid race. I must say that, from my experience of them, they are sufficiently shrewd and open to reason. I would say to them with confidence, as the great Athenian said to the Spartan who rudely assailed him: "Strike, but hear me."
First, a change in the cultivation of the soil of this country would be very injurious to the laboring class; and second, I am of opinion that that class instead of being stationary has made if not as much progress as the manufacturing class, very considerable progress during the last forty years. Many persons write and speak about the agricultural laborer with not so perfect a knowledge of his condition as is desirable. They treat him always as a human being who in every part of the country finds himself in an identical condition. Now, on the contrary, there is no class of laborers in which there is greater variety of condition than that of the agricultural laborers. It changes from north to south, from east to west, and from county to county. It changes even in the same county, where there is an alteration of soil and of configuration. The hind in Northumberland is in a very different condition from the famous Dorsetshire laborer; the tiller of the soil in Lincolnshire is different from his fellow-agriculturalist in Sussex. What the effect of manufactures is upon the agricultural districts in their neighborhood it would be presumption in me to dwell upon; your own experience must tell you whether the agricultural laborer in North Lancashire, for example, has had no rise in wages and no diminution in toil. Take the case of the Dorsetshire laborer—the whole of the agricultural laborers on the southwestern coast of England for a very long period worked only half the time of the laborers in other parts of England, and received only half the wages. In the experience of many, I dare say, who are here present, even thirty years ago a Dorsetshire laborer never worked after three o'clock in the day; and why? Because the whole of that part of England was demoralized by smuggling. No one worked after three o'clock in the day, for a very good reason—because he had to work at night. No farmer allowed his team to be employed after three o'clock, because he reserved his horses to take his illicit cargo at night and carry it rapidly into the interior. Therefore, as the men were employed and remunerated otherwise, they got into a habit of half work and half play so far as the land was concerned, and when smuggling was abolished—and it has only been abolished for thirty years— these imperfect habits of labor continued, and do even now continue to a great extent. That is the origin of the condition of the agricultural laborer in the southwestern part of England.
But now gentlemen, I want to test the condition of the agricultural laborer generally; and I will take a part of England with which I am familiar, and can speak as to the accuracy of the facts—I mean the group described as the south-midland counties. The conditions of labor there are the same, or pretty nearly the same, throughout. The group may be described as a strictly agricultural community, and they embrace a population of probably a million and a half. Now, I have no hesitation in saying that the improvement in their lot during the last forty years has been progressive and is remarkable. I attribute it to three causes. In the first place, the rise in their money wages is no less than fifteen per cent. The second great cause of their improvement is the almost total disappearance of excessive and exhausting toil, from the general introduction of machinery. I don't know whether I could get a couple of men who could or, if they could, would thresh a load of wheat in my neighborhood. The third great cause which has improved their condition is the very general, not to say universal, institution of allotment grounds. Now, gentlemen, when I find that this has been the course of affairs in our very considerable and strictly agricultural portion of the country, where there have been no exceptional circumstances, like smuggling, to degrade and demoralize the race, I cannot resist the conviction that the condition of the agricultural laborers, instead of being stationary, as we are constantly told by those not acquainted with them, has been one of progressive improvement, and that in those counties—and they are many—where the stimulating influence of a manufacturing neighborhood acts upon the land, the general conclusion at which I arrive is that the agricultural laborer has had his share in the advance of national prosperity. Gentlemen, I am not here to maintain that there is nothing to be done to increase the well-being of the working classes of this country, generally speaking. There is not a single class in the country which is not susceptible of improvement; and that makes the life and animation of our society. But in all we do we must remember, as my noble friend told them at Liverpool, that much depends upon the working classes themselves; and what I know of the working classes in Lancashire makes me sure that they will respond to this appeal. Much, also, may be expected from that sympathy between classes which is a distinctive feature of the present day; and, in the last place, no inconsiderable results may be obtained by judicious and prudent legislation. But, gentlemen, in attempting to legislate upon social matters, the great object is to be practical—to have before us some distinct aims and some distinct means by which they can be accomplished.
Gentlemen, I think public attention as regards these matters ought to be concentrated upon sanitary legislation. That is a wide subject, and, if properly treated, comprises almost every consideration which has a just claim upon legislative interference. Pure air, pure water, the inspection of unhealthy habitations, the adulteration of food,—these and many kindred matters may be legitimately dealt with by the legislature; and I am bound to say the legislature is not idle upon them; for we have at this time two important measures before Parliament on the subject. One—by a late colleague of mine, Sir Charles Adderley—is a large and comprehensive measure, founded upon a sure basis, for it consolidates all existing public acts, and improves them. A prejudice has been raised against that proposal, by stating that it interferes with the private acts of the great towns. I take this opportunity of contradicting that. The bill of Sir Charles Adderley does not touch the acts of the great towns. It only allows them, if they think fit, to avail themselves of its new provisions.
The other measure by the government is of a partial character. What it comprises is good, so far as it goes, but it shrinks from that bold consolidation of existing acts which I think one of the great merits of Sir Charles Adderley's bill, which permits us to become acquainted with how much may be done in favor of sanitary improvement by existing provisions. Gentlemen, I cannot impress upon you too strongly my conviction of the importance of the legislature and society uniting together in favor of these important results. A great scholar and a great wit, three hundred years ago, said that, in his opinion, there was a great mistake in the Vulgate, which, as you all know, is the Latin translation of the Holy Scriptures, and that, instead of saying "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity"—Vanitas vanitatum, omnia vanitas—the wise and witty king really said:"Sanitas sanitatum, omnia sanitas." Gentlemen, it is impossible to overrate the importance of the subject. After all the first consideration of a minister should be the health of the people. A land may be covered with historic trophies, with museums of science and galleries of art, with universities and with libraries; the people may be civilized and ingenious; the country may be even famous in the annals and action of the world, but, gentlemen, if the population every ten years decreases, and the stature of the race every ten years diminishes, the history of that country will soon be the history of the past.
Gentlemen, I said I had not come here to make a party speech. I have addressed you upon subjects of grave, and I will venture to believe of general, interest; but to be here and altogether silent upon the present state of public affairs would not be respectful to you, and, perhaps, on the whole, would be thought incongruous. Gentlemen, I cannot pretend that our position either at home or abroad is in my opinion satisfactory. At home, at a period of immense prosperity, with a people contented and naturally loyal, we find to our surprise the most extravagant doctrines professed and the fundamental principles of our most valuable institutions impugned, and that, too, by persons of some authority. Gentlemen, this startling inconsistency is accounted for, in my mind, by the circumstances under which the present administration was formed. It is the first instance in my knowledge of a British administration being avowedly formed on a principle of violence. It is unnecessary for me to remind you of the circumstances which preceded the formation of that government. You were the principal scene and theatre of the development of statesmanship that then occurred. You witnessed the incubation of the portentous birth. You remember when you were informed that the policy to secure the prosperity of Ireland and the content of Irishmen was a policy of sacrilege and confiscation. Gentlemen, when Ireland was placed under the wise and able administration of Lord Abercorn, Ireland was prosperous, and I may say content. But there happened at that time a very peculiar conjuncture in politics. The Civil War in America had just ceased; and a band of military adventurers—Poles, Italians, and many Irishmen—concocted in New York a conspiracy to invade Ireland, with the belief that the whole country would rise to welcome them. How that conspiracy was baffled—how those plots were confounded, I need not now remind you. For that we were mainly indebted to the eminent qualities of a great man who has just left us. You remember how the constituencies were appealed to to vote against the government which had made so unfit an appointment as that of Lord Mayo to the vice-royalty of India. It was by his great qualities when Secretary for Ireland, by his vigilance, his courage, his patience, and his perseverance that this conspiracy was defeated. Never was a minister better informed. He knew what was going on at New York just as well as what was going on in the city of Dublin.
When the Fenian conspiracy had been entirely put down, it became necessary to consider the policy which it was expedient to pursue in Ireland; and it seemed to us at that time that what Ireland required after all the excitement which it had experienced was a policy which should largely develop its material resources. There were one or two subjects of a different character, which, for the advantage of the State, it would have been desirable to have settled, if that could have been effected with a general concurrence of both the great parties in that country. Had we remained in office, that would have been done. But we were destined to quit it, and we quitted it without a murmur. The policy of our successors was different. Their specific was to despoil churches and plunder landlords, and what has been the result? Sedition rampant, treason thinly veiled, and whenever a vacancy occurs in the representation a candidate is returned pledged to the disruption of the realm. Her Majesty's new ministers proceeded in their career like a body of men under the influence of some delirious drug. Not satiated with the spoliation and anarchy of Ireland, they began to attack every institution and every interest, every class and calling in the country. It is curious to observe their course. They took into hand the army. What have they done? I will not comment on what they have done. I will historically state it, and leave you to draw the inference. So long as constitutional England has existed there has been a jealousy among all classes against the existence of a standing army. As our empire expanded, and the existence of a large body of disciplined troops became a necessity, every precaution was taken to prevent the danger to our liberties which a standing army involved.
It was a first principle not to concentrate in the island any overwhelming number of troops, and a considerable portion was distributed in the colonies. Care was taken that the troops generally should be officered by a class of men deeply interested in the property and the liberties of England. So extreme was the jealousy that the relations between that once constitutional force, the militia, and the sovereign were rigidly guarded, and it was carefully placed under local influences. All this is changed. We have a standing army of large amount, quartered and brigaded and encamped permanently in England, and fed by a considerable and constantly increasing reserve.
It will in due time be officered by a class of men eminently scientific, but with no relations necessarily with society; while the militia is withdrawn from all local influences, and placed under the immediate command of the Secretary of War. Thus, in the nineteenth century, we have a large standing army established in England, contrary to all the traditions of the land, and that by a Liberal government, and with the warm acclamations of the Liberal party.
Let us look what they have done with the Admiralty. You remember, in this country especially, the denunciations of the profligate expenditure of the Conservative government, and you have since had an opportunity of comparing it with the gentler burden of Liberal estimates. The navy was not merely an instance of profligate expenditure, but of incompetent and inadequate management. A great revolution was promised in its administration. A gentleman [Mr. Childers], almost unknown to English politics, was strangely preferred to one of the highest places in the councils of her Majesty. He set to at his task with ruthless activity. The Consulative Council, under which Nelson had gained all his victories, was dissolved. The secretaryship of the Admiralty, an office which exercised a complete supervision over every division of that great department,—an office which was to the Admiralty what the Secretary of State is to the kingdom,—which, in the qualities which it required and the duties which it fulfilled, was rightly a stepping-stone to the cabinet, as in the instances of Lord Halifax, Lord Herbert, and many others,—was reduced to absolute insignificance. Even the office of Control, which of all others required a position of independence, and on which the safety of the navy mainly depended, was deprived of all its important attributes. For two years the opposition called the attention of Parliament to these destructive changes, but Parliament and the nation were alike insensible. Full of other business, they could not give a thought to what they looked upon merely as captious criticism. It requires a great disaster to command the attention of England; and when the Captain was lost, and when they had the detail of the perilous voyage of the Megara, then public indignation demanded a complete change in this renovating administration of the navy.
And what has occurred? It is only a few weeks since that in the House of Commons I heard the naval statement made by a new First Lord [Mr. Goschen], and it consisted only of the rescinding of all the revolutionary changes of his predecessor, the mischief of every one of which during the last two years has been pressed upon the attention of Parliament and the country by that constitutional and necessary body, the Opposition. Gentlemen, it will not do for me—considering the time I have already occupied, and there are still some subjects of importance that must be touched—to dwell upon any of the other similar topics, of which there is a rich abundance. I doubt not there is in this hall more than one farmer who has been alarmed by the suggestion that his agricultural machinery should be taxed.
I doubt not there is in this hall more than one publican who remembers that last year an act of Parliament was introduced to denounce him as a "sinner." I doubt not there are in this hall a widow and an orphan who remember the profligate proposition to plunder their lonely heritage. But, gentlemen, as time advanced it was not difficult to perceive that extravagance was being substituted for energy by the government. The unnatural stimulus was subsiding. Their paroxysms ended in prostration. Some took refuge in melancholy, and their eminent chief alternated between a menace and a sigh. As I sat opposite the treasury bench the ministers reminded me of one of those marine landscapes not very unusual on the coast of South America. You behold a range of exhausted volcanoes. Not a flame flickers on a single pallid crest. But the situation is still dangerous. There are occasional earthquakes, and ever and anon the dark rumbling of the sea.
But, gentlemen, there is one other topic on which I must touch. If the management of our domestic affairs has been founded upon a principle of violence, that certainly cannot be alleged against the management of our external relations. I know the difficulty of addressing a body of Englishmen on these topics. The very phrase "Foreign Affairs" makes an Englishman convinced that I am about to treat of subjects with which be has no concern. Unhappily the relations of England to the rest of the world, which are "Foreign Affairs," are the matters which most influence his lot. Upon them depends the increase or reduction of taxation. Upon them depends the enjoyment or the embarrassment of his industry. And yet, though so momentous are the consequences of the mismanagement of our foreign relations, no one thinks of them till the mischief occurs and then it is found how the most vital consequences have been occasioned by mere inadvertence.
I will illustrate this point by two anecdotes. Since I have been in public life there has been for this country a great calamity and there is a great danger, and both might have been avoided. The calamity was the Crimean War. You know what were the consequences of the Crimean War: A great addition to your debt, an enormous addition to your taxation, a cost more precious than your treasure —the best blood of England. Half a million of men, I believe, perished in that great undertaking. Nor are the evil consequences of that war adequately described by what I have said. All the disorders and disturbances of Europe, those immense armaments that are an incubus on national industry and the great obstacle to progressive civilization, may be traced and justly attributed to the Crimean War. And yet the Crimean War need never have occurred.
When Lord Derby acceded to office, against his own wishes, in 1852, the Liberal party most unconstitutionally forced him to dissolve Parliament at a certain time by stopping the supplies, or at least by limiting the period for which they were voted. There was not a single reason to justify that course, for Lord Derby had only accepted office, having once declined it, on the renewed application of his sovereign. The country, at the dissolution, increased the power of the Conservative party, but did not give to Lord Derby a majority, and he had to retire from power. There was not the slightest chance of a Crimean War when he retired from office; but the Emperor of Russia, believing that the successor of Lord Derby was no enemy to Russian aggression in the East, commenced those proceedings, with the result of which you are familiar. I speak of what I know, not of what I believe, but of what I have evidence in my possession to prove—that the Crimean War never would have happened if Lord Derby had remained in office.
The great danger is the present state of our relations with the United States. When I acceded to office I did so, so far as regarded the United States of America, with some advantage. During the whole of the Civil War in America both my noble friend near me and I had maintained a strict and fair neutrality. This was fully appreciated by the government of the United States, and they expressed their wish that with our aid the settlement of all differences between the two governments should be accomplished. They sent here a plenipotentiary, an honorable gentleman, very intelligent and possessing general confidence. My noble friend near me, with great ability, negotiated a treaty for the settlement of all these claims. He was the first minister who proposed to refer them to arbitration, and the treaty was signed by the American government. It was signed, I think, on November 10th, on the eve of the dissolution of Parliament. The borough elections that first occurred proved what would be the fate of the ministry, and the moment they were known in America the American government announced that Mr. Reverdy Johnson, the American minister, had mistaken his instructions, and they could not present the treaty to the Senate for its sanction—the sanction of which there had been previously no doubt. But the fact is that, as in the case of the Crimean War, it was supposed that our successors would be favorable to Russian aggression, so it was supposed that by the accession to office of Mr. Gladstone and a gentleman you know well, Mr. Bright, the American claims would be considered in a very different spirit. How they have been considered is a subject which, no doubt, occupies deeply the minds of the people of Lancashire. Now, gentlemen, observe this—the question of the Black Sea involved in the Crimean War, the question of the American claims involved in our negotiations with Mr. Johnson, are the two questions that have again turned up, and have been the two great questions that have been under the management of his government.
How have they treated them? Prince Gortschakoff, thinking he saw an opportunity, announced his determination to break from the Treaty of Paris, and terminate all the conditions hostile to Russia which had been the result of the Crimean War. What was the first movement on the part of our government is at present a mystery. This we know, that they selected the most rising diplomatist of the day and sent him to Prince Bismarck with a declaration that the policy of Russia, if persisted in, was war with England. Now, gentlemen, there was not the slightest chance of Russia going to war with England, and no necessity, as I shall always maintain, of England going to war with Russia. I believe I am not wrong in stating that the Russian government was prepared to withdraw from the position they had rashly taken; but suddenly her Majesty's government, to use a technical phrase, threw over the plenipotentiary, and, instead of threatening war, if the Treaty of Paris were violated, agreed to arrangements by which the violation of that treaty should be sanctioned by England, and, in the form of a congress, showed themselves guaranteeing their own humiliation. That Mr. Odo Russell made no mistake is quite obvious, because he has since been selected to be her Majesty's ambassador at the most important court of Europe. Gentlemen, what will be the consequence of this extraordinary weakness on the part of the British government it is difficult to foresee. Already we hear that Sebastopol is to be refortified, nor can any man doubt that the entire command of the Black Sea will soon be in the possession of Russia. The time may not be distant when we may hear of the Russian power in the Persian Gulf, and what effect that may have upon the dominions of England and upon those possessions on the productions of which you every year more and more depend, are questions upon which it will be well for you on proper occasions to meditate.
I come now to that question which most deeply interests you at this moment, and that is our relations with the United States. I approved the government referring this question to arbitration. It was only following the policy of Lord Stanley. My noble friend disapproved the negotiations being carried on at Washington. I confess that I would willingly have persuaded myself that this was not a mistake, but reflection has convinced me that my noble friend was right. I remember the successful negotiation of the Clayton-Bulwer treaty by Sir Henry Bulwer. I flattered myself that treaties at Washington might be successfully negotiated; but I agree with my noble friend that his general view was far more sound than my own. But no one, when that commission was sent forth, for a moment could anticipate the course of its conduct under the strict injunctions of the government. We believed that commission was sent to ascertain what points should be submitted to arbitration, to be decided by the principles of the law of nations. We had not the slightest idea that that commission was sent with power and instructions to alter the law of nations itself. When that result was announced, we expressed our entire disapprobation; and yet trusting to the representations of the government that matters were concluded satisfactorily, we had to decide whether it were wise, if the great result was obtained, to wrangle upon points however important, such as those to which I have referred.
Gentlemen, it appears that, though all parts of England were ready to make those sacrifices, the two negotiating States—the government of the United Kingdom and the government of the United States—placed a different interpretation upon the treaty when the time had arrived to put its provisions into practice. Gentlemen, in my mind, and in the opinion of my noble friend near me, there was but one course to take under the circumstances, painful as it might be, and that was at once to appeal to the good feeling and good sense of the United States, and, stating the difficulty, to invite confidential conference whether it might not be removed. But her Majesty's government took a different course. On December 15th her Majesty's government were aware of a contrary interpretation being placed on the Treaty of Washington by the American government. The prime minister received a copy of their counter case, and he confessed he had never read it. He had a considerable number of copies sent to him to distribute among his colleagues, and you remember, probably, the remarkable statement in which he informed the house that he had distributed those copies to everybody except those for whom they were intended.
Time went on, and the adverse interpretation of the American government oozed out, and was noticed by the press. Public alarm and public indignation were excited; and it was only seven weeks afterward, on the very eve of the meeting of Parliament,—some twenty-four hours before the meeting of Parliament,—that her Majesty's government felt they were absolutely obliged to make a "friendly communication" to the United States that they had arrived at an interpretation of the treaty the reverse of that of the American government. What was the position of the American government? Seven weeks had passed without their having received the slightest intimation from her Majesty's ministers. They had circulated their case throughout the world. They had translated it into every European language. It had been sent to every court and cabinet, to every sovereign and prime minister. It was impossible for the American government to recede from their position, even if they had believed it to be an erroneous one. And then, to aggravate the difficulty, the prime minister goes down to Parliament, declares that there is only one interpretation to be placed on the treaty, and defies and attacks everybody who believes it susceptible of another.
Was there ever such a combination of negligence and blundering? And now, gentlemen, what is about to happen? All we know is that her Majesty's ministers are doing everything in their power to evade the cognizance and criticism of Parliament. They have received an answer to their "friendly communication"; of which, I believe, it has been ascertained that the American government adhere to their interpretation; and yet they prolong the controversy. What is about to occur it is unnecessary for one to predict; but if it be this— if after a fruitless ratiocination worthy of a schoolman, we ultimately agree so far to the interpretation of the American government as to submit the whole case to arbitration, with feeble reservation of a protest, if it be decided against us, I venture to say that we shall be entering on a course not more distinguished by its feebleness than by its impending peril. There is before us every prospect of the same incompetence that distinguished our negotiations respecting the independence of the Black Sea; and I fear that there is every chance that this incompetence will be sealed by our ultimately acknowledging these direct claims of the United States, which, both as regards principle and practical results, are fraught with the utmost danger to this country. Gentlemen, don't suppose, because I counsel firmness and decision at the right moment, that I am of that school of statesmen who are favorable to a turbulent and aggressive diplomacy. I have resisted it during a great part of my life. I am not unaware that the relations of England to Europe have undergone a vast change during the century that has just elapsed. The relations of England to Europe are not the same as they were in the days of Lord Chatham or Frederick the Great. The Queen of England has become the sovereign of the most powerful of Oriental States. On the other side of the globe there are now establishments belonging to her, teeming with wealth and population, which will, in due time, exercise their influence over the distribution of power. The old establishments of this country, now the United States of America, throw their lengthening shades over the Atlantic, which mix with European waters. These are vast and novel elements in the distribution of power. I acknowledge that the policy of England with respect to Europe should be policy of reserve, but proud reserve; and in answer to those statesmen—those mistaken statesmen who have intimated the decay of the power of England and the decline of its resources, I express here my confident conviction that there never was a moment in our history when the power of England was so great and her resources so vast and inexhaustible.
And yet, gentlemen, it is not merely our fleets and armies, our powerful artillery, our accumulated capital, and our unlimited credit on which I so much depend, as upon that unbroken spirit of her people, which I believe was never prouder of the imperial country to which they belong. Gentlemen, it is to that spirit that I above all things trust. I look upon the people of Lancashire as fairly representative of the people of England. I think the manner in which they have invited me here, locally a stranger, to receive the expression of their cordial sympathy, and only because they recognize some effort on my part to maintain the greatness of their country, is evidence of the spirit of the land. I must express to you again my deep sense of the generous manner in which you have welcomed me, and in which you have permitted me to express to you my views upon public affairs. Proud of your confidence, and encouraged by your sympathy, I now deliver to you, as my last words, the cause of the Tory party, of the English constitution, and of the British empire.
THE VENERABLE BEDE (672-735)
The VENERABLE BEDE, "The father of English literature," was bora about 672 in the county of Durham. The Anglo-Saxons, whose earliest historian he was, had been converted by St. Austin and others by the then not unusual process of preaching to the king until he was persuaded to renounce heathenism both for himself and his subjects. Bede, though born among a people not greatly addicted either to religion or letters, became a remarkable preacher, scholar, and thinker. Professionally a preacher, his sermons are interesting, chiefly because they are the earliest specimens of oratory extant from any Anglo-Saxon public speaker.
Best known as the author of the 'Ecclesiastical History of England,' Bede was a most prolific writer. He left a very considerable collection of sermons or homilies, many of which are still extant. He also wrote on science, on poetic art, on medicine, philosophy, and rhetoric, not to mention his hymns and his 'Book of Epigrams in Heroic and Elegaic Verse'—all very interesting and some of them valuable, as any one may see who will take the trouble to read them in his simple and easily understood Latin. It is a pity, however, that they are not adequately translated and published in a shape which would make the father of English eloquence the first English rhetorician, as he was the first English philosopher, poet, and historian, more readily accessible to the general public.
Bede's sermons deal very largely in allegory, and though he may have been literal in his celebrated suggestions of the horrors of hell— which were certainly literally understood by his hearers—it is pertinent to quote in connection with them his own assertion, that "he who knows how to interpret allegorically will see that the inner sense excels the simplicity of the letter as apples do leaves."
Bede's reputation spread not only through England but throughout Western Europe and to Rome. Attempts were made to thrust honors on him, but he refused them for fear they would prevent him from learning. He taught in a monastery at Jarrow where at one time he had six hundred monks and many strangers attending on his discourses.
He died in 735, just as he had completed the first translation of the Gospel of John ever made into any English dialect. The present Anglo-Saxon version, generally in use among English students, is supposed to include that version if not actually to present its exact language. The King James version comes from Bede's in a direct line of descent through Wycliff and Tyndale.
THE MEETING OF MERCY AND JUSTICE
There was a certain father of a family, a powerful king, who had four daughters, of whom one was called Mercy, the second Truth, the third Justice, the fourth Peace; of whom it is said, "Mercy and Truth are met together; Justice and Peace have kissed each other." He had also a certain most wise son, to whom no one could be compared in wisdom. He had, also, a certain servant, whom he had exalted and enriched with great honor: for he had made him after his own likeness and similitude, and that without any preceding merit on the servant's part. But the Lord, as is the custom with such wise masters, wished prudently to explore, and to become acquainted with, the character and the faith of his servant, whether he were trustworthy towards himself or not; so he gave him an easy commandment, and said, "If you do what I tell you, I will exalt you to further honors; if not, you shall perish miserably."
The servant heard the commandment, and without any delay went and broke it. Why need I say more? Why need I delay you by my words and by my tears? This proud servant, stiff-necked, full of contumely, and puffed up with conceit, sought an excuse for his transgression, and retorted the whole fault on his Lord. For when he said, "the woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she deceived me," he threw all the fault on his Maker. His Lord, more angry for such contumelious conduct than for the transgression of his command, called four most cruel executioners, and commanded one of them to cast him into prison, another to afflict him with grievous torments; the third to strangle him, and the fourth to behead him. By and by, when occasion offers, I will give you the right name of these tormentors.
These torturers, then, studying how they might carry out their own cruelty, took the wretched man and began to afflict him with all manner of punishments. But one of the daughters of the King, by name Mercy, when she had heard of this punishment of the servant, ran hastily to the prison, and looking in and seeing the man given over to the tormentors, could not help having compassion upon him, for it is the property of Mercy to have pity. She tore her garments and struck her hands together, and let her hair fall loose about her neck, and crying and shrieking, ran to her father, and kneeling before his feet began to say with an earnest and sorrowful voice: "My beloved father, am not I thy daughter Mercy? and art not thou called merciful? If thou art merciful, have mercy upon thy servant; and if thou wilt not have mercy upon him, thou canst not be called merciful; and if thou art not merciful, thou canst not have me, Mercy, for thy daughter." While she was thus arguing with her father, her sister Truth came up, and demanded why it was that Mercy was weeping. "Your sister Mercy," replied the father, "wishes me to have pity upon that proud transgressor whose punishment I have appointed." Truth, when she heard this, was excessively angry, and looking sternly at her father, "Am not I," said she, "thy daughter Truth? art not thou called true? Is it not true that thou didst fix a punishment for him, and threaten him with death by torments? If thou art true, thou wilt follow that which is true; if thou art not true, thou canst not have me, Truth, for thy daughter." Here, you see, Mercy and Truth are met together. The third sister, namely, Justice, hearing this strife, contention, quarreling, and pleading, and summoned by the outcry, began to inquire the cause from Truth. And Truth, who could only speak that which was true, said, "This sister of ours, Mercy, if she ought to be called a sister who does not agree with us, desires that our father should have pity on that proud transgressor." Then Justice, with an angry countenance, and meditating on a grief which she had not expected, said to her father, "Am not I thy daughter Justice? are thou not called just? If thou art just, thou wilt exercise justice on the transgressor; if thou dost not exercise that justice, thou canst not be just; if thou art not just, thou canst not have me, Justice, for thy daughter." So here were Truth and Justice on the one side, and Mercy on the other. Ultima coelicolum terras Astrea reliquit; this means, that Peace fled into a far distant country. For where there is strife and contention, there is no peace; and by how much greater the contention, by so much further peace is driven away.
Peace, therefore, being lost, and his three daughters in warm discussion, the King found it an extremely difficult matter to determine what he should do, or to which side he should lean. For, if he gave ear to Mercy, he would offend Truth and Justice if he gave ear to Truth and Justice, he could not have Mercy for his daughter; and yet it was necessary that he should be both merciful and just, and peaceful and true. There was great need then of good advice. The father, therefore, called his wise son, and consulted him about the affair. Said the son, "Give me my father, this present business to manage, and I will both punish the transgressor for thee, and will bring back to thee in peace thy four daughters." "These are great promises," replied the father, "if the deed only agrees with the word. If thou canst do that which thou sayest, I will act as thou shalt exhort me."
Having, therefore, received the royal mandate, the son took his sister Mercy along with him, and leaping upon the mountains, passing over the hills, came to the prison, and looking through the windows, looking through the lattice, he beheld the imprisoned servant, shut out from the present life, devoured of affliction, and from the sole of his foot even to the crown there was no soundness in him. He saw him in the power of death, because through him death entered into the world. He saw him devoured, because, when a man is once dead he is eaten of worms. And because I now have the opportunity of telling you, you shall hear the names of the four tormentors. The first, who put him in prison, is the Prison of the Present Life, of which it is said, "Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell in Mesech"; the second, who tormented him, is the Misery of the World, which besets us with all kinds of pain and wretchedness; the third, who was putting him to death, conquered death, bound the strong man, took his goods, and distributed the spoils; and ascending up on high, led captivity captive and gave gifts for men, and brought back the servant into his country, crowned with double honor, and endued with a garment of immortality. When Mercy beheld this, she had no grounds for complaint, Truth found no cause of discontent, because her father was found true. The servant had paid all his penalties. Justice in like manner complained not, because justice had been executed on the transgressor; and thus he who had been lost was found. Peace, therefore, when she saw her sisters at concord, came back and united them. And now, behold, Mercy and Truth are met together, Justice and Peace have kissed each other. Thus, therefore, by the Mediator of man and angels, man was purified and reconciled, and the hundredth sheep was brought back to the fold of God. To which fold Jesus Christ brings us, to whom is honor and power everlasting. Amen.
A SERMON FOR ANY DAY
Beloved brethren, it is time to pass from evil to good, from darkness to light, from this most unfaithful world to everlasting joys, lest that day take us unawares in which our Lord Jesus Christ shall come to make the round world a desert, and to give over to everlasting punishment sinners who would not repent of the sins which they did. There is a great sin in lying, as saith Solomon, "The lips which lie slay the soul. The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God," no more doth his covetousness. Whence the Apostle saith, "The love of money and pride are the root of all evil." Pride, by which that apostate angel fell, who, as it is read in the prophecy, "despised the beginning of the ways of God. How art thou fallen from heaven!" We must avoid pride, which had power to deceive angels; how much more will it have power to deceive men! And we ought to fear envy, by which the devil deceived the first man, as it is written, "Christ was crucified through envy, therefore he that envieth his neighbor crucifieth Christ,"
See that ye always expect the advent of the Judge with fear and trembling, lest he should find us unprepared; because the Apostle saith, "My days shall come as a thief in the night." Woe to them whom it shall find sleeping in sins, for "then," as we read in the Gospel, "He shall gather all nations, and shall separate them one from the other, as a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father," where there is no grief nor sorrow; where there is no other sound but love, and peace, and everlasting gladness with all the elect of God; where no good thing can be wanting. Then shall the righteous answer and say, Lord, why hast thou prepared such glory and such good things? He shall answer, for mercy, for faith, for piety, and truth and the like. Lord, when didst thou see these good things in us? The Lord shall answer, "Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me, and what ye did in secret, I will reward openly." Then shall the King say unto them on his left hand, "Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels, where shall be weepjng and gnashing of teeth," and tears of eyes; where death is desired and comes not; where the worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched; where is no joy, but sorrow; where is no rest, except pain; where nothing is heard but lamentations. Then they also shall answer and say, Lord, why hast thou prepared such punishments for us? For your iniquity and malignity, the Lord shall say.
Therefore, my brethren, I beseech you, that they who are in the habits of good works would persevere in every good work; and that they who are evil would amend themselves quickly, before sudden death come upon them. While, therefore, we have time, let us do good to all men, and let us leave off doing ill, that we may attain to eternal life.
THE TORMENTS OF HELL
The Sunday is a chosen day, in which the angels rejoice. We must ask who was the first to request that souls might (on Sunday) have rest in hell; and the answer is that Paul the Apostle and Michael the Archangel besought the Lord when they came back from hell; for it was the Lord's will that Paul should see the punishments of that place. He beheld trees all on fire, and sinners tormented on those trees; and some were hung by the feet, some by the hands, some by the hair, some by the neck, some by the tongue, and some by the arm. And again, he saw a furnace of fire burning with seven flames, and many were punished in it; and there were seven plagues round about this furnace; the first, snow; the second, ice; the third, fire, the fourth, blood; the fifth, serpents; the sixth, lightning; the seventh, stench; and in that furnace itself were the souls of the sinners who repented not in this life. There they are tormented, and every one receiveth according to his works; some weep, some howl, some groan; some burn and desire to have rest, but find it not, because souls can never die. Truly we ought to fear that place in which is everlasting dolor, in which is groaning, in which is sadness without joy, in which are abundance of tears on account of the tortures of souls; in which a fiery wheel is turned a thousand times a day by an evil angel, and at each turn a thousand souls are burnt upon it. After this he beheld a horrible river, in which were many diabolic beasts, like fishes in the midst of the sea, which devour the souls of sinners; and over that river there is a bridge, across which righteous souls pass without dread, while the souls of sinners suffer each one according to its merits.
There Paul beheld many souls of sinners plunged, some to the knees, some to the loins, some to the mouth, some to the eyebrows; and every day and eternally they are tormented. And Paul wept, and asked who they were that were therein plunged to the knees. And the angel said, These are detractors and evil speakers; and those up to the loins are fornicators and adulterers, who returned not to repentance; and those to the mouth are they who went to Church, but they heard not the word of God; and those to the eyebrows are they who rejoiced in the wickedness of their neighbor. And after this, he saw between heaven and earth the soul of a sinner, howling betwixt seven devils, that had on that day departed from the body. And the angels cried out against it and said, Woe to thee, wretched soul! What hast thou done upon earth? Thou hast despised the commandments of God, and hast done no good works; and therefore thou shalt be cast into outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And after this, in one moment, angels carried a soul from its body to heaven; and Paul heard the voice of a thousand angels rejoicing over it, and saying, O most happy and blessed soul! rejoice to-day, because thou hast done the will of God. And they set it in the presence of God. ... And the angel said, Whoso keepeth the Sunday shall have his part with the angels of God. And Paul demanded of the angel, how many kinds of punishment there were in hell. And the angel said, there are a hundred and forty-four thousand, and if there were a hundred eloquent men, each having four iron tongues, that spoke from the beginning of the world, they could not reckon up the torments of hell. But let us, beloved brethren, hearing of these so great torments, be converted to our Lord that we may be able to reign with the angels.
HENRY WARD BEECHER (1813-1887)
A very great orator must be a thoroughly representative man, sensitive enough to be moved to the depths of his nature by the master-passions of his time. Henry Ward Beecher was a very great orator,—one of the greatest the country has produced,—and in his speeches and orations inspired by the feelings which evolved the Civil War and were themselves exaggerated by it to tenfold strength, we feel all the volcanic forces which buried the primitive political conditions of the United States deep under the ashes and lava of their eruption. Words are feeble in the presence of the facts of such a war. But what more could words do to suggest its meaning than they do in Mr. Beecher's oration on the raising of the flag at Fort Sumter, April 14th, 1865:—
"The soil has drunk blood and is glutted. Millions mourn for myriads slain, or, envying the dead, pray for oblivion. Towns and villages have been razed. Fruitful fields have been turned back to wilderness. It came to pass as the prophet had said: 'The sun was turned to darkness and the moon to blood.' The course of the law was ended. The sword sat chief magistrate in half the nation; industry was paralyzed; morals corrupted; the public weal invaded by rapine and anarchy; whole States were ravaged by avenging armies. The world was amazed. The earth reeled."
In such passages, Mr. Beecher has something of the force which immortalized the "Voluspa." The "bardic inspiration," which moved the early Norse poets to sing the bloody results of the "Berserker fury," peculiar to the Teutonic and Norse peoples, seems to control him as he recounts the dreadful features of the war and reminds the vanquished of the meaning of defeat.
In considering the oratory inspired by the passions which found their climax in the destructiveness of civil war,—and especially in considering such magnificent outbursts as Mr. Beecher's oration at Fort Sumter, intelligence will seek to free itself alike from sympathy and from prejudice that it may the better judge the effect of the general mind of the people on the orator, and the extent to which that general mind as he voiced it, was influenced by the strength of his individuality. If when we ourselves are moved by no passion we judge with critical calmness the impassioned utterances of the orators of any great epoch of disturbance, we can hardly fail to be repelled by much that the critical faculties will reject as exaggeration. But taking into account the environment, the traditions, the public opinion, the various general or individual impulses which influenced the oratory of one side or the other, we can the better determine its true relation to the history of the human intellect and that forward movement of the world which is but a manifestation of the education of intellect.
Mr. Beecher had the temperament, the habits, the physique of the orator. His ancestry, his intellectual training, his surroundings, fitted him to be a prophet of the crusade against slavery. Of those names which for a time were bruited everywhere as a result of the struggles of the three decades from 1850 to 1880, a majority are already becoming obscure, and in another generation most of the rest will be "names only" to all who are not students of history as a specialty. But the mind in Henry Ward Beecher was so representative; he was so fully mastered by the forces which sent Sherman on his march to the sea and Grant to his triumph at Appomattox, that he will always be remembered as one of the greatest orators of the Civil War period. Perhaps when the events of the war are so far removed in point of time as to make a critical judgment really possible, he may even rank as the greatest.
RAISING THE FLAG OVER FORT SUMTER (Delivered April 14th, 1865, by request of President Lincoln)
On this solemn and joyful day we again lift to the breeze our fathers' flag, now again the banner of the United States, with the fervent prayer that God will crown it with honor, protect it from treason, and send it down to our children, with all the blessings of civilization, liberty, and religion. Terrible in battle, may it be beneficent in peace. Happily, no bird or beast of prey has been inscribed upon it. The stars that redeem the night from darkness, and the beams of red light that beautify the morning, have been united upon its folds. As long as the sun endures, or the stars, may it wave over a nation neither enslaved nor enslaving! Once, and but once, has treason dishonored it. In that insane hour when the guiltiest and bloodiest rebellion of all time hurled their fires upon this fort, you, sir [turning to General Anderson], and a small, heroic band, stood within these now crumbled walls, and did gallant and just battle for the honor and defense of the nation's banner. In that cope of fire, that glorious flag still peacefully waved to the breeze above your head unconscious of harm as the stars and skies above it. Once it was shot down. A gallant hand, in whose care this day it has been, plucked it from the ground, and reared it again—"cast down, but not destroyed." After a vain resistance, with trembling hand and sad heart, you withdrew it from its height, closed its wings, and bore it far away, sternly to sleep amid the tumults of rebellion, and the thunder of battle. The first act of war had begun. The long night of four years had set in. While the giddy traitors whirled in a maze of exhilaration, dim horrors were already advancing, that were ere long to fill the land with blood. To-day you are returned again. We devoutly join with you in thanksgiving to Almighty God that he has spared your honored life, and vouchsafed to you the glory of this day. The heavens over you are the same, the same shores are here, morning comes, and evening, as they did. All else, how changed! What grim batteries crowd the burdened shores! What scenes have filled this air, and disturbed these waters! These shattered heaps of shapeless stone are all that is left of Fort Sumter. Desolation broods in yonder city—solemn retribution hath avenged our dishonored banner! You have come back with honor, who departed hence four years ago, leaving the air sultry with fanaticism. The surging crowds that rolled up their frenzied shouts as the flag came down, are dead, or scattered, or silent, and their habitations are desolate. Ruin sits in the cradle of treason. Rebellion has perished. But there flies the same flag that was insulted. With starry eyes it looks over this bay for the banner that supplanted it, and sees it not. You that then, for the day, were humbled, are here again, to triumph once and forever. In the storm of that assault this glorious ensign was often struck; but, memorable fact, not one of its stars was torn out by shot or shell. It was a prophecy. It said: "Not a State shall be struck from this nation by treason!" The fulfillment is at hand. Lifted to the air to-day, it proclaims that after four years of war, "Not a State is blotted out." Hail to the flag of our fathers, and our flag! Glory to the banner that has gone through four years black with tempests of war, to pilot the nation back to peace without dismemberment! And glory be to God, who, above all hosts and banners, hath ordained victory, and shall ordain peace. Wherefore have we come hither, pilgrims from distant places? Are we come to exult that Northern hands are stronger than Southern? No; but to rejoice that the hands of those who defend a just and beneficent government are mightier than the hands that assaulted it. Do we exult over fallen cities? We exult that a nation has not fallen. We sorrow with the sorrowful. We sympathize with the desolate. We look upon this shattered fort and yonder dilapidated city with sad eyes, grieved that men should have committed such treason, and glad that God hath set such a mark upon treason that all ages shall dread and abhor it. We exult, not for a passion gratified, but for a sentiment victorious; not for temper, but for conscience; not, as we devoutly believe, that our will is done, but that God's will hath been done. We should be unworthy of that liberty intrusted to our care, if, on such a day as this, we sullied our hearts by feelings of aimless vengeance; and equally unworthy if we did not devoutly thank him who hath said: "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord," that he hath set a mark upon arrogant rebellion, ineffaceable while time lasts.
Since this flag went down on that dark day, who shall tell the mighty woes that have made this land a spectacle to angels and men? The soil has drunk blood and is glutted. Millions mourn for myriads slain, or, envying the dead, pray for oblivion. Towns and villages have been razed. Fruitful fields have been turned back to wilderness. It came to pass, as the prophet said: "The sun was turned to darkness and the moon to blood," The course of law was ended. The sword sat chief magistrate in half the nation; industry was paralyzed; morals corrupted; the public weal invaded by rapine and anarchy; whole States ravaged by avenging armies. The world was amazed. The earth reeled. When the flag sunk here, it was as if political night had come, and all beasts of prey had come forth to devour. That long night is ended. And for this returning day we have come from afar to rejoice and give thanks. No more war. No more accursed secession. No more slavery, that spawned them both. Let no man misread the meaning of this unfolding flag! It says: "Government has returned hither." It proclaims, in the name of vindicated government, peace and protection to loyalty, humiliation and pains to traitors. This is the flag of sovereignty. The nation, not the States, is sovereign. Restored to authority, this flag commands, not supplicates. There may be pardon, but no concession. There may be amnesty and oblivion, but no honeyed compromises. The nation to-day has peace for the peaceful, and war for the turbulent. The only condition to submission is to submit! There is the Constitution, there are the laws, there is the government. They rise up like mountains of strength that shall not be moved. They are the conditions of peace. One nation, under one government, without slavery, has been ordained and shall stand. There can be peace on no other basis. On this basis reconstruction is easy, and needs neither architect nor engineer. Without this basis no engineer nor architect shall ever reconstruct these rebellious States. We do not want your cities or your fields. We do not envy you your prolific soil, nor heavens full of perpetual summer. Let agriculture revel here, let manufactures make every stream twice musical, build fleets in every port, inspire the arts of peace with genius second only to that of Athens, and we shall be glad in your gladness, and rich in your wealth. All that we ask is unswerving loyalty and universal liberty. And that, in the name of this high sovereignty of the United States of America, we demand and that, with the blessing of Almighty God, we will have! We raise our fathers banner that it may bring back better blessings than those of old; that it may cast out the devil of discord; that it may restore lawful government, and a prosperity purer and more enduring than that which it protected before; that it may win parted friends from their alienation; that it may inspire hope, and inaugurate universal liberty; that it may say to the sword, "Return to thy sheath"; and to the plow and sickle, "Go forth"; that it may heal all jealousies, unite all policies, inspire a new national life, compact our strength, purify our principles, ennoble our national ambitions, and make this people great and strong, not for agression and quarrelsomeness, but for the peace of the world, giving to us the glorious prerogative of leading all nations to juster laws, to more humane policies, to sincerer friendship, to rational, instituted civil liberty, and to universal Christian brotherhood. Reverently, piously, in hopeful patriotism, we spread this banner on the sky, as of old the bow was painted on the cloud and, with solemn fervor, beseech God to look upon it, and make it a memorial of an everlasting covenant and decree that never again on this fair land shall a deluge of blood prevail. Why need any eye turn from this spectacle? Are there not associations which, overleaping the recent past, carry us back to times when, over North and South, this flag was honored alike by all? In all our colonial days we were one, in the long revolutionary struggle, and in the scores of prosperous years succeeding, we were united. When the passage of the Stamp Act in 1765 aroused the colonies, it was Gadsden, of South Carolina, that cried, with prescient enthusiasm, "We stand on the broad common ground of those natural rights that we all feel and know as men. There ought to be no New England man, no New Yorker, known on this continent, but all of us," said he, "Americans." That was the voice of South Carolina. That shall be the voice of South Carolina. Faint is the echo; but it is coming. We now hear it sighing sadly through the pines; but it shall yet break in thunder upon the shore. No North, no West, no South, but the United States of America. There is scarcely a man born in the South who has lifted his hand against this banner but had a father who would have died for it. Is memory dead? Is there no historic pride? Has a fatal fury struck blindness or hate into eyes that used to look kindly towards each other, that read the same Bible, that hung over the historic pages of our national glory, that studied the same Constitution? Let this uplifting bring back all of the past that was good, but leave in darkness all that was bad. It was never before so wholly unspotted; so clear of all wrong, so purely and simply the sign of justice and liberty. Did I say that we brought back the same banner that you bore away, noble and heroic sir? It is not the same. It is more and better than it was. The land is free from slavery since that banner fell.