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paid and one unpaid Commissioner for Estates, differs only in a slight degree from the actual state of things, and is not worth dispute. Our own opinion is that there should be three paid Commissioners, on account of the increase of the work. There is no contradiction between the suggestion as to Diocesan Boards and the present arrangement; such boards exist, and do much towards building new churches and ascertaining where these are required. Their line of action would and does assist the General Board, which sends forth schemes for new parishes, not originated by itself, but by the bishop of the diocese, by a Diocesan Board, or by local promoters. In short, the recommendations of the Committee are a slight caricature of the existing condition of affairs, and cannot claim to be a reform.
We have shown that we are not insensible to the dangers of centralizing the control of a large amount of property. But the Committee makes no suggestion towards another scheme. In fact, the multiplication of centres would be yet more dangerous. One office in London will be observed, criticised, examined by Parliament, checked by an efficient audit. A number of offices would be less responsible, less observed, more likely to be treated carelessly. The dangers that beset great pecuniary trusts must be met in this case by reducing the duties of the Commission to the simplest form, by prescribing a clear inethod of rendering the accounts, far more clear than the present mode, by careful auditors, and by reports to Parliament. The Commission is now a permanent institution; to break it into two, or into several offices for the control of land, would be to multiply the present dangers and attenuate the securities. Such a proposition would meet no serious support. · As to the supposed centralization of all diocesan and parochial arrangements, it does not exist, and therefore need not be cured. Can any instance be cited in which the Commissioners have interfered vexatiously between the bishop or the local promoters of a scheme and the plan they had in view? The powers of the Commission are lent for the carrying out schemes recommended to them; there is no pretence at originating schemes which would not find local approval. The usual course of operations is that the local promoters see clearly what they want, but are somewhat helpless when it comes to the mode of effecting it; whilst the Commission which could not have seen the want, has abundant means for working out the remedy at the service of those who cannot be expected to have mastered the difficulties of Acts of Parliament and Orders in Council so completely.
The somewhat wild hitting of these latest opponents of the Commission serves to show that, even in 1863, its position was less dangerous. Two fruitful years have since provided about a million and a half of capital, not to Bishops or Deans and Chapters, but to the worst endowed of the parochial Clergy, who are faithfully labouring almost without reward, in the self-denying retirement of some rural parish, or, more often, among thousands of souls who need all the care that can be given them. Some begin to think that the Commission, by its work, has made out its title to be left for a little while in peace. Its constitution may be objectionable, but we will not arrest so efficient a labourer in order to give him a new constitution. Those who know the English clergy best, can best bear witness to the prudence and dignity with which many of them bear the trials of poverty; how they have to see their children grow up without the education which more fortunate parents gave to themselves, how the comforts of life and the provision for the future are denied them. These evils, this injustice, the Commission is making haste to lighten. Hundreds of benefices each year receive aid from it. We will be thankful for it, or at lowest we will not molest it any more in a work that others are so thankful for.
Nor is this question one that affects money only, and mere bodily wants. The pastor of his people needs, for his efficiency, that he should be set free from the peril of embarrassment, and from the need of eking out his maintenance by some less holy calling. To raise him just above want, is often to free the shackled spirit and mind from a slavery which not all his selfdenial and devotion could break. The strongest will, the deepest love, will hardly be enough to enable him to carry words of comfort and do acts of succour to those whom God has given him to tend, if the face of his pale wife, laden with anxiety, haunts him, and children cling about his skirts for bread.
There has been an incredible amount of quiet suffering of this kind; and it has hindered spiritual work and progress. The cloud is beginning to lift. From the sordid bondage of grinding poverty many will be set free; and it will be felt in their utterance of their sacred message, in the higher tone they inspire, in the energy with which they throw themselves into their work, that a change has passed upon them. The great task of dealing with this evil, which seemed hopeless twenty years ago, is now full of hope. Those who have gone so far towards its accomplishment have no doubt done no more than their duty. Still they have done it well, and the results have already more than doubled the highest expectation. And the Committee of the House of Commons, after hearing their story, thinks their 'constitution objectionable. The country at large will give a more hearty verdict.
ART. VIII.—1. Parliamentary Government considered with Refer
ence to Reform. By EARL GREY. London, 1864. 2. The Election of Representatives, Parliamentary and Municipal.
By THOMAS HARE, Esq. London, 1865. 3. Principles of Reform, Political and Legal. By John Boyd
KINNEAR. London, 1865. 4. Constitutionalism of the Future; or, Parliament the Mirror
of the Nation. By JAMES LORIMER. 5. An Essay on the History of the English Government and Con
stitution from the Reign of Henry VII, to the present Time.
By JOHN EARL RUSSELL. New Edition, 1865. 6. The Ideas of the Day on Policy. By CHARLES BUXTON, M.A.,
M.P. London, 1866.
Now I shall have no more peace!' was the exclamation of George II. when Henry Pelham died in 1754. In like manner, Lord Palmerston's death last autumn was the sign of the beginning of storms. In both instances the post vacated, the highest to which an English subject can aspire, was speedily and naturally filled up. That the Duke of Newcastle was the legitimate successor of his brother was determined within a week; that Lord Russell was the legitimate successor of Lord Palmerston was hardly for a day matter of serious doubt. But in neither instance was the prompt decision of this question followed by calm security. With Henry Pelham was removed the influence which had brought together and kept in hand all the turbulent and ambitious politicians of the time; with Lord Palmerston was removed the influence which restrained and soothed into comparative rest the yet deeper turbulence of the spirit of party. Henry Pelham's death let loose the restlessness of individuals; Lord Palmerston's death has let loose at once the restlessness of individuals and the violence of factions.
No one can say whither this will carry us,—to what end, perhaps fortunate, perhaps disastrous, it may lead; yet he must be a careless observer who does not perceive that new aspects of political affairs are opening up. It is not, perhaps, too much to say that Lord Palmerston's death marked an era in the political history of the country. The maintenance, save in a few extreme cases, of the Treaties of Vienna, the protectorate of Turkey, jealousy of France, and dislike towards America, have been, since Waterloo, the leading ideas of our Foreign policy. All of these ideas greatly influenced Lord Palmerston: of one at least he was the prominent champion, Much of his diplomacy was directed to inculcating on Continental Governments that moderation by which only the basis of 1815 might be maintained. Despite his admiration for the French Emperor, he is believed never to have much valued the Commercial Treaty, and the intimacy thence resulting. His Southern sympathies were not always concealed ; his determination to uphold the Turkish power was uniformly avowed. Of late years the influence of these ideas has been steadily waning; not one of them will dominate in the politics of the future. That we shall advance in cordiality with the French, that we shall grow into friendship with America, may be among our well-founded hopes; that we shall never engage in another war in support of Turkish misrule is a matter almost of certainty.
On Home politics again, Catholic Emancipation and the Reform Bill stamped a certain seal of finality hardly yet broken. Since these measures we have improved in many ways, especially in our commercial legislation; but, with the exception of Freetrade, no great idea has found place amongst us. Resting on Emancipation, we have acquiesced in the Irish Church; satisfied with the Reform Bill, we have not cared to investigate the position and influence of a great landed aristocracy. This refusal to entertain fresh political motives perfectly suited Lord Palmerston. This negative Conservatism, as it were, he approved, and might have for some time perpetuated. But signs have of late not been wanting that its power is passing. Political speculation is bolder than it has ever been; political ideas are actively working; party conflict is plainly close at hand; and it may be that new party combinations will follow. On the practical point of the 'outs or the ins,' no one can tell what a day may bring forth; but at a critical time like the present, political discussion possesses an importance and interest beyond what can attach to the fate of any particular administration.
Doubtless the leading topic at present is Parliamentary Reform. To the cause of Reform the whole Liberal party stand committed. It has become a question of paramount importance, not only in the interests of party, but in the interests of the nation. It is something, indeed, that all our leading public men are pledged to it; but it is much more that its satisfactory solution will increase the strength and prosperity of the nation. Parliamentary Reform is to be desired at once as a means and as an end. As an end, because it is in itself a thing just and right; as a means, because it will afford us the best security that a sound political economy, love of freedom, and sympathy with the poor, will continue to prevail in the councils of the State, and will be carried out yet more fully than they have been, to
the sure increase of the honour of the country, the happiness and contentment of the people.
The foolish notion that there is no real difference between Tory and Liberal principles, which Tory partisans have for some years back been wont to inculcate, has lately been rather exploded. The notion hardly deserves serious refutation; but when we are claiming support for Reform on the ground that the influence of Liberal principles will be thereby preserved and extended, it may be worth while to mark the opposite sentiments with which Tories and Liberals approach the more pressing topics of the day. We can trace this opposition of sentiment both in Foreign politics and in Home politics—can see it clearly in the immediate past, can anticipate it, almost with certainty, in the future.
A greater contrast can hardly be imagined than that which exists between the principles which have actuated our foreign policy under a Liberal Government, and the principles which have been avowed by the Opposition. Had the Tories been in office for the last few years, England, in her relations with France, would have alternated between foolish distrust and humiliating subserviency. She would have lent her influence to crush the rising hopes of Italian freedom, and, in all human probability, would have been involved in war with America. As late as 1861, Mr. Disraeli permitted himself to sneer at 'the phantom of a united Italy;' and had the opinions of Tory statesmen and the doctrines of Tory lawyers been given effect to, England would have declared herself an active partisan of the South, or at least English-born 'Alabamas' would have swarmed over the Atlantic Ocean-leading, most likely, to an immediate rupture with America, and certainly to the utter destruction of English trade, should the Tories of the future ever hurry England into war.
How different was the policy of England under a Liberal administration, especially while Lord Russell held the seals of the Foreign Office, has been already shown in this Journal." Lord Russell had indeed no easy task; for the attitude of England, in questions of foreign policy, is often perplexing and inconsistent. It is not too much to say that she is at present the most conservative power in Europe. She has endeavoured, more steadily than any other nation, to uphold the treaties of 1815; and yet she has a keen sympathy with the new principle of nationality, before the full development of which these treaties could not endure for a day. Again, she is enamoured of peace--we may almost say determined against war, and is yet loath to relinquish
i North British Review, May 1864, No. Ixxx.