Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

concoct of those Liberals who pre- and easier political virtue. Sir ferred patriotism and their own George Trevelyan, indeed, has cerconvictions to that servile follow- tainly gone to the very verge of ing of Mr. Gladstone, which is just concession in some of his recent now the fundamental article of the utterances, and curiously enough, Radical creed. But, as soon as it while hinting that the language of became apparent that the Liberal- the Times' savoured more of deUnionist strength was sufficient to votion to the interests of the Conenable them to overpower the com- servative Government than to those bined Gladstone Nationalist vote of the Union, has induced the beby supporting the Government, a lief that the unity of the empire wiser spirit began to influence the was scarcely of more value with ex-officials of the late Administra- him than the reunion of the Libetion, and the more prudent of their ral party. Sir George Trevelyan, supporters. Then came whispers however, is a strictly honourable of regret at the severance of men man; and although we regret that who held so many principles in in his desire to reconcile and to be common-of conviction that, after reconciled to old friends, he should all, the differences between them have made speeches which have had rather been differences of de- encouraged the idea that he was tail than of principle, and of desire prepared to approximate more that such a sad state of things, nearly to the Separatist party, we entailing the continued existence have never feared his abandonment of a Tory Government, should no of the flag under which he fought longer be allowed to continue. last year, or doubted his attachHence came about those famous ment to Unionist principles. conferences, the actual proceedings Of course it is now the object at which, whether conducted at a of the Gladstonians to dwell upon “ Round Table' or elsewhere, have their points of agreement with, just never been divulged, but the main as at the general election it was object of which was to reunite the their policy to make prominent their scattered divisions of the army differences from the Unionists. which had once been led by Mr If we study Mr. Gladstone's speech Gladstone.

at the dinner so conveniently given It matters but little from whom by Mr Barran, M. P., on the 17th the suggestion of such conferences of March, we shall find that in originally came. From the first speaking of those who “stand on we entertained neither doubt nor quite a different footing" from fear of their result. The attempt “the Tories,” “nearer to ourselves'' to reconcile irreconcilable princi- (the Gladstonians) and “appearing ples can never succeed in reality, to take pleasure in the name of and only in appearance when it is Liberal Unionists,” Mr Gladstone unprincipled men who have to dis-“will not say anything that could cuss the terms of reconciliation. be possibly understood as censure The leaders of the liberal Union- or condemnation of any one,” Nay, ists had given proofs too strong and more,—“ in regard to those friends too recent of having been actuated of the Liberal party from whom !! by high principle to allow us for a Gladstonians is are momentarily moment to suppose that they could divided,” Mr Gladstone thinks that be persuaded to a course of action " there are two duties incumbent!' which might commend itself to upon his followers, the first of men of more flexible temperament which is that they “shall do no

a

thing that can wound,” that they they came to be examined, proved “shall say nothing that can wound to be without value." The second and nothirg that can embarrass sentence is as follows: " As rethem." Mr Gladstone even goes gards the main proposals we have further in this after-dinner oration, in view, it is futile to talk of refor he declares that he desires his ceiling; "and the third, with referfriends to regard the Liberal ence to arrangements for the settleUnionists as they “regarded them ment of the land question by some two years ago," and to repent of plan for the purchase and sale of any words which they may have Irish estates, declares that any used "which seem at variance such plan known to Mr Gladstone with such a declaration." All this "absolutely and essentially requires Gladstonian honey is, of course, as a vital condition the institution intended to catch such Unionist of a real Irish Government able to flies as may be weak enough to speak and act for Ireland, “ withput their trustful feet within its out which,” says the speaker, I reach. If there be such, however, do not see how to stir a step towards and if they should be inclined to the adoption of such a plan.forget the scornful vituperation From the above quotations, which was hurled at their heads Liberal Unionists will see that when there was a chance that it Mr Gladstone adheres to that promight injure them, they will do prosal for a separate Parliament well to read Mr. Gladstone's and separate Government for Irespeech several times over, as in- land which was rejected last year; deed all Mr Gladstone's speeches and that if they should allow themmust be read, by those who de- selves to be cajoled into the belief sire to discover their real drift that he intends to make any such and meaning, or rather the several concessions as would bridge over drifts and meanings which are the gulf of principle which really usually discernible to the care- divides them, not only will they ful reader. In this instance, have deceived themselves, but Mr among all the civilities addressed Gladstone will be able to point to to Liberal Unionists, coupled with this speech as a proof that they the hope expressed that “a variety have done so with their eyes open, of points” may be discovered upon and they will have only their own which "improvements may be credulity to blame for the awkward made" in the Home Rule proposals position in which they will have of last year—improvements, of been landed. It is easy enough to course, which would tend to con- talk about the bills of last year ciliate the Unionists—there are being “dead and buried "'; but it is three sentences pregnant with palpable to the most casual obmeaning, to which the attention server that their principle—that of of the reader should be directed. the division of the power and ParThe first is, that there “could be liament of the empire-is as much no greater misfortune than that” alive as ever, and that if this were the Unionists and Gladstonians not the case, Mr G dstone would should « pretend—not falsely, but at once lose the support of the conscientiously-pretend and pro- Parnellites. To obtain that supfess” that they had made an port he has already done much, agreement, when in point of fact” and as far as one can judge of the they had “only agreed upon cer- future by the past, he is more likely tain forms of words which, when to bid higher for its retention than

to risk its loss by receding from else must be postponed until that last year's demands. Upon the crisis has been passed and that probability of the contentment and danger troddlen under foot. We pacification of Ireland being ob- freely admit that the Radical tained by concessions to these de- Unionist, who anxiously desires mands, it is well to note Mr. reforms in Church and State, the Bright's letter to a Birmingham furtherance of which may have Home-Ruler on March the 15th. been his principal object and inMr. Bright avows his continued terest in political lise, has a greater sympathy for Ireland and the demand made upon him than that Irish; and with respect to Mr. which is made upon his ConservaParnell and his Nationalist col- tive fellow-worker in the Unionist leagues, he thus expresses him- cause. But he is asked to abandon self: “I am asked why I cannotno opinion and to surrender no trust those leaders. I do trust principle. On the contrary, if he them most entirely. I have seen has confidence in his own ideas their course for seven years past, and theories, he should feel that he and have heard and read their is far more likely to disseminate the speeches. I believe in those one and obtain the adoption of the speeches, and see in them only other by being brought into conhatred to England and disloyalty tact and alliance with men who, to the Crown, and I am unwilling recognising his honest loyalty to to intrust to their tender mercies the empire in the hour of its peril, any portion of the population now will in the future regard him and under the government of the Im- his opinions with increased considperial Parliament.” If we contrasteration and respect. Conservative the calm, sensible tone of this letter Unionists may hope, on the other with the wild ravings of the Pall hand, that their alliance with the Mall Gazette' and the intemperate more moderate of their heretofore nonsense of Gladstonian orators political opponents may show the upon provincial platforms, and, latter how small and unimportant alas ! even in the House of Com- are the differences which have as mons itself, we shall not have yet prevented them from a thormnch difficulty in discovering ough and perfect combination, and where the truth is to be found, that such a desirable event may and which is the right path for yet be the outcome of the present patriots to follow.

condition of affairs. Let it, morevover, be ever borne We are by no means insensible in mind that in calling upon of the difficulties which lie in the Unionists, whether Conservative way of even such an alliance as or Liberal, to band themselves that which at the present moment together and stand shoulder to happily exists between the different shoulder against the common sections of politicians who constienemies of the empire, we ask no tute the Unionist party. As Mr one to sacrifice his opinion and Chamberlain justly observed in a convictions upon any of the grave recent speech at Birmingham, it political and social questions which is almost impossible to persuade await solution in the future. We Tories to vote for Radicals, or only seek to have it recognised and Radicals for Tories; and the abaccepted, that the crisis is so grave, stentions from going to the poll on and the danger to the empire so this account lost many seats to the real and serious, that everything Unionist cause at the last general

" As re

as

[ocr errors]

thing that can wound," that they they came to be examined, proved “shall say nothing that can wound to be without value.” The second and nothirg that can embarrass sentence is as follows: them.” Mr Gladstone even goes gards the main proposals we have further in this after-dinner oration, in view, it is futile to talk of refor he declares that he desires his ceding; "and the third, with referfriends to regard the Liberalence to arrangements for the settleUnionists as they “regarded them ment of the land question by some two years ago," and to repent of plan for the purchase and sale of any words which they may have Irish estates, declares that any used

or which seem at variance such plan known to Mr Gladstone with such a declaration." All this "absolutely and essentially requires Gladstonian honey is, of course, vital condition the institution intended to catch such Unionist of a real Irish Government able to flies as may be weak enough to speak and act for Ireland, "withput their trustful feet within its out which,” says the speaker, reach. If there be such, however, do not see how to stir a step towards and if they should be inclined to the adoption of such a plan." forget the scornful vituperation From the above quotations, which was hurled at their heads Liberal Unionists will see that when there was a chance that it Mr Gladstone adheres to that promight injure them, they will do prosal for a separate Parliament well to read Mr. Gladstone's and separate Government for Irespeech several times over, as in- land which was rejected last year; deed all Mr Gladstone's speeches and that if they should allow themmust be read, by those who de- selves to be cajoled into the belief sire to discover their real drift that he intends to make any such and meaning, or rather the several concessions as would bridge over drifts and meanings which are the gulf of principle which really usually discernible to the care- divides them, not only will they ful reader. In this instance, have deceived themselves, but Mr among all the civilities addressed Gladstone will be able to point to to Liberal Unionists, coupled with this speech as a proof that they the hope expressed that "a variety have done so with their eyes open, of points" may be discovered upon and they will have only their own which "improvements may be credulity to blame for the awkward made" in the Home Rule proposals position in which they will have of last year—improvements, of been landed. It is easy enough to course, which would tend to con- talk about the bills of last year ciliate the Unionists—there are being “dead and buried ”; but it is three sentences pregnant with palpable to the most casual obmeaning, to which the attention server that their principle—that of of the reader should be directed. the division of the power and ParThe first is, that there “could be liament of the empire—is as much no greater misfortune than that” alive as ever, and that if this were the Unionists and Gladstonians not the case, Mr Gladstone would should « pretend—not falsely, but at once lose the support of the conscientiously-pretend and pro- Parnellites. To obtain that supfess” that they had made an port he has already done much, agreement, when in point of fact" and as far as one can judge of the they had “only agreed upon cer- future by the past, he is more likely tain forms of words which, when to bid higher for its retention than to risk its loss by receding from else must be postponed until that last year's demands. Upon the crisis has been passed and that probability of the contentment and danger trodden under foot. We pacification of Ireland being ob- freely admit that the Radical tained by concessions to these de- Unionist, who anxiously desires mands, it is well to note Mr. reforms in Church and State, the Bright's letter to a Birmingham furtherance of which may have Home-Ruler on March the 15th. been his principal object and inMr. Bright avows his continued terest in political life, has a greater sympathy for Ireland and the demand made upon him than that Irish; and with respect to Mr. which is made upon his ConservaParnell and his Nationalist col- tive fellow-worker in the Unionist leagues, he thus expresses him- cause. But he is asked to abandon self: “I am asked why I cannotno opinion and to surrender no trust those leaders. I do trust principle. On the contrary, if he them most entirely. I have seen has confidence in his own ideas their course for seven years past, and theories, he should feel that he and have heard and read their is far more likely to disseminate the speeches. I believe in those one and obtain the adoption of the speeches, and see in them only other by being brought into conhatred to England and disloyalty tact and alliance with men who, to the Crown, and I am unwilling recognising his honest loyalty to to intrust to their tender mercies the empire in the hour of its peril, any portion of the population now will in the future regard him and under the government of the Im- his opinions with increased considperial Parliament." If we contrasteration and respect. Conservative the calm, sensible tone of this letter Unionists may hope, on the other with the wild ravings of the · Pall hand, that their alliance with the Mall Gazette' and the intemperate more moderate of their heretofore nonsense of Gladstonian orators political opponents may show the upon provincial platforms, and, latter how small and unimportant alas ! even in the House of Com- are the differences which have as mons itself, we shall not have yet prevented them from a thormnch difficulty in discovering ough and perfect combination, and where the truth is to be found, that such a desirable event may and which is the right path for yet be the outcome of the present patriots to follow.

condition of affairs. Let it, morevover, be ever borne We are by no means insensible in mind that in calling upon of the difficulties which lie in the Unionists, whether Conservative way of even such an alliance as or Liberal, to band themselves that which at the present moment together and stand shoulder to happily exists between the different shoulder against the common sections of politicians who constienemies of the empire, we ask no tute the Unionist party. As Mr one to sacrifice his opinion and Chamberlain justly observed in a convictions upon any of the grave recent speech at Birmingham, it political and social questions which is almost impossible to persuade await solution in the future. We Tories to vote for Radicals, or only seek to have it recognised and Radicals for Tories; and the abaccepted, that the crisis is so grave, stentions from going to the poll on and the danger to the empire so this account lost many seats to the real and serious, that everything Unionist cause at the last general

« PoprzedniaDalej »