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been our object in the past, what is the policy to be pursued in the future, I will not give up the faith and belief that the popular voice will insist that the Unionist idea must be upheld. Therefore I do not hesitate to believe that those who, under the influence of a great name and under the specious influence of a gifted leader, were seduced into following a great programme will turn back from that mistake and rejoin what was the faith of their fathers, what was their own faith, until suddenly, without time for reflection, they were induced to take a sudden departure. I have faith that they will be recalled. What, then, becomes the duty for us to pursue ? To reorganise ourselves into a body to which we can welcome them when they are ready to return to the paths from which they have strayed. I do not desire that we should be simply a protesting body, but that we should take care to point out to the popular intelligence what is the faith we possess.”
It has been necessary to dwell at some length on the attitude of the Unionist Liberals in order to show the various feelings which animated the principal leaders of a party small in numbers and unrepresented in office, yet holding the balance of power between the two great parties in Parliament. Had the Unionists been led by men to whom the tenure of office offered any attraction, they might doubtless have obtained a rearrangement of the Cabinet: but for the present they preferred, on the one hand, to submit to the taunts of their former colleagues, who accused them of exercising power whilst shrinking from its responsibilities; and, on the other, to be misinterpreted by those of the electorate who, having been taught to speak of themselves as Liberals, were unable to vote for candidates who adopted the programme and sometimes even the name of Conservatives.
CHAPTER II. The Meeting of Parliament–The Debate on the Address- Prolonged Debates in
the Commons-Mr. Parnell's Amendment-Justice of the Opposition-New Rules of Procedure - The Closure Resolution-Charges against the Corporation of the City of London—The Irish Members and the Supplementary Estimates --Resignation of Sir M. Hicks-Beach-The Army and Navy Estimates—The Budget-Lord Salisbury and Mr. Gladstone on the Position
of Parties. PARLIAMENT, which had been originally summoned to meet three weeks in anticipation of its usual time, assembled (Jan. 27) under somewhat gloomy circumstances for the Ministry. The abrupt secession of Lord R. Churchill had necessitated overtures to the Liberal Unionists, which many of Lord Salisbury's own supporters resented as unnecessary and compromising; and they pointed with some show of reason to Mr. Goschen's unexpected failure at Liverpool as evidence of the powerlessness of the Cnionist vote at the polls. At the same time the negotiations
polls. At the
going on between a section of the Unionists and the Gladstonian Liberals suggested the idea that there was a readiness on the part of some at least of the former to hasten the moment of their reconciliation to their former colleagues. There was, moreover, a feeling of disappointment, which found expression on all sides, that the Queen had resisted all efforts to induce her to open in person the session which was to celebrate her fiftieth year of reign. It was nevertheless by Royal Commission that the following programme of Parliamentary work was laid before the two Houses. “MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
“My relations with all foreign Powers continue to be friendly.
“ The affairs of South-eastern Europe are still in an unsettled condition; but I do not apprehend that any disturbance of European peace will result from the unadjusted controversies which have arisen in that region. While deploring the events which compelled Prince Alexander of Bulgaria to retire from the government of that principality, I have not judged it expedient to interfere in the proceedings for the election of his successor until they arrive at that stage at which my assent is required by the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin.
“The task which has been undertaken by my Government in Egypt is not yet accomplished; but substantial advance has been made towards the assurance of external and internal tranquillity.
“In Burmah operations have been conducted by my troops with bravery and skill for the purpose of extirpating the brigandage which has grown up during recent years of misgovernment. The bands of marauders by whom Upper Burmah has been long infested have been dispersed, and many of the leaders have laid down their arms. I entertain a confident hope that the general pacification of the country will be effected during the present season.
“ Commercial treaties have been concluded with the kingdoms of Greece and Roumania.
“Papers on these subjects will be laid before you. “GENTLEMEN OF THE HOUSE OF Commons,
“The Estimates for the coming year will be submitted to you. They have been framed with a careful regard to economy and to the efficiency of the public service. “ MY LORDS AND GENTLEMEN,
" The condition of Ireland still requires your anxious attention. Grave crimes have happily been rarer during the last few months than during a similar period in the preceding year. But the relations between the owners and occupiers of land, which in the early part of the autumn exhibited signs of improvement, have since been seriously disturbed in some districts by organised attempts to incite the latter class to combine against the fulfilment of their legal obligations. The efforts of my Government to cope with this evil have been seriously impeded by difficulties incident to the method at present prescribed by statute for dealing with such offences. Your early attention will be called to proposals for reforms in legal procedure which seem necessary to secure the prompt and efficient administration of the criminal
* Since I last addressed you the Commissioners directed to inquire into certain subjects of great importance to the material welfare of Ireland have been actively prosecuting their labours. The Report of the Commission on the operation of the recent Acts dealing with the tenure and purchase of land will be shortly laid before you, and will doubtless receive from you the early and careful attention which the serious importance of the subject demands.
“ Bills for the Improvement of Local Government in England and Scotland will be laid before you, and, should circumstances render it possible, they will be followed by a measure dealing with the same subject in Ireland.
“A Bill for Improving and Cheapening the process of Private Bill Legislation in England, Scotland, and Ireland will be submitted to you.
“You will be asked to consider measures having for their object to remove hindrances which exist to the cheap and rapid transfer of land, to facilitate the provision of allotments for small householders, and to provide for the readier sale of glebe lands.
“The Commission which I issued in 1885 to inquire into the lamentable depression under which trade and agriculture have been suffering for many years has presented a valuable report, which, together with the important evidence collected by them, will be laid before you.
“A Bill for altering the mode of levying tithes in England and Wales will be submitted to you.
“In regard to Scotland, you will be asked to consider measures for the reform of the Universities, for completing recent legislation as to the powers of the Secretary for Scotland, and for amending the procedure of criminal courts.
“Measures dealing with the regulation of railway rates, and for preventing the fraudulent use of merchandise marks, will also be brought under your consideration.
“In the performance of these and all your other momentous duties I earnestly pray that the blessing of Almighty God may attend your labours.”
In the House of Lords, before proceeding to the debate on the address, the leaders of the House and of the Opposition paid a generous and feeling tribute to the memory of the Earl of Iddesleigh. The Marquess of Salisbury, after describing him as one of the shrewdest councillors the Queen had ever had,
added that “as a friend, as a member of society, he was probably more beloved than any statesman we have seen in our time. His gentle temper, his unfailing high spirits and courteousness, his uniform kindness to all, made him universally appreciated and regarded. As a debater, he was known in the other House as one who might not move to passion, but who carried conviction, both by the weight of his arguments and by the force of his character. As a councillor I should say that he was especially shining; and those who sat with him in council can best value the peculiar qualities of his mind. I should note two peculiarities which distinguished him from other men. One was that from the field of his political vision the element of personal antagonism was almost—if not entirely-absent, that he judged of every question by its merits, and it never seemed to occur to him to inquire by whom it had been supported. And another peculiarity was the remarkable caution of the man-remarkable, I say, because it was not mere caution. He was eminently cautious, as cautious as any man with whom I have ever conversed, but the peculiarity of it was this, that the caution had in it no shade of timidity. While his temper was cold and abstract, his counsel always erred, if it erred at all, on the side of caution. When perplexity or real danger arrived, there was no man who was freer from any counsel of fear than Lord Iddesleigh. This made him a man whose influence within the Cabinet, within the councils of the party, were far higher and greater than appeared by his action in the public eye. This House and the country and our party have lost a wise, self-restrained, noble councillor. His soul was never soiled by any mere vulgar ambition. He devoted his life and his strength, without caring for any apparent reward, to the service of his country and of his Queen.”
Earl Granville could not forget that some years previously he had spoken of Sir Stafford Northcote as a formidable foe of twenty years, but a dear friend of many more. So far from being, as was sometimes alleged, a feeble opponent, some of Lord Granville's colleagues in the House of Commons had admired and sometimes coriplained of the sagacity, the skill, and readiness with which Sir Stafford had sustained their attacks, the vigour with which he had returned the blow. Referring to the acceptance of the offer to become a member of the Commis. sion for the Settlement of the Alabama Claims, Lord Granville stated that with his great modesty he declined the high honours which were offered to him. He was willing to co-operate with his political opponents for great public objects, but he declined to receive rewards and honours from them.
Passing to the ordinary business of the evening, the address in answer to the Queen's Speech was formally moved by the Earl of Erne and seconded by Viscount Torrington, both of whom expressed the hope that the Government would propose legislation for restoring law and order in Ireland. Lord Granville then
proceeded to criticise the action of the Ministry during the recess, and to discuss the changes which had taken place in its personnel. While giving Lord Salisbury much credit for the readiness which he had shown to make way for Lord Hartington, he contended that this, as well as the taking of Mr. Goschen into his Cabinet, were signs of weakness in the Ministry. Moreover, as Lord Hartington had refused to put on the uniform or livery of the Government, he could not see what advantage Lord Salisbury could have hoped to gain by offering Lord Northbrook and Lord Lansdowne seats in the Cabinet. He suggested that the Government had parted with their most popular member without much regret; and, passing on to the present condition of the Government, he stated that Lord Salisbury, in dissociating the office of First Lord of the Treasury from that of Prime Minister, had taken a course which was in contempt of all official tradition. Next, he expressed the opinion that no man had sufficient physical strength to perform efficiently the duties of Prime Minister and those of Secretary of Foreign Affairs, so onerous were the latter. He had observed that in the autumn, before he had assumed the office of Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Lord Salisbury gave audiences to the Ministers of foreign Powers, and he disapproved such a proceeding, which had been opposed by Lord Palmerston, Lord Russell, and Mr. Gladstone. The business of the Foreign Office ought to be performed by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, under the general superintendence of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet. As to the policy of the Government at present, it did not seem to be in accord with what some months before leading members of it declared to be the lines on which the Cabinet intended to proceed. Glancing at the paragraphs in the Queen's Speech referring to foreign affairs, he complained that certain topics of interest which might have been expected to find a place in them were not alluded to. That absence of grave crime in Ireland to which allusion was made in the royal speech he attributed, not to the action of the Government, but to a feeling on the part of the Irish people that a wide-spread sympathy with them was shown in Scotland and England. He thought it better not to refer to the proposed amendment in the criminal law in Ireland till the measures were produced. There were a great number of Irish landlords in that House who by moderation to their tenants had entitled themselves to sympathy. Some of those noble lords had expressed their opinion that the late Government did not know how to deal with Ireland. He asked whether any one of them who was not in office would get up in his place and express the opinion that the present Government knew how to deal with it. If not, those noble lords ought to consider whether the time had not arrived when the Irish people should be allowed to manage their own affairs.
In reply Lord Salisbury expressed his fear that the leader of the Opposition was too much inclined to believe all be read in