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of her works, let us be thankful to have
"Mourn rather for that holy spirit,
From the People's Journal.
You would like to know, good reader, day, to frequent this highway of British something about the man that is now at the celebrities? No: he is not an M. P.; he head of the government-whose name you is a newly-made Queen's counsel: but you see daily in the newspapers, and whose in- have made a very fair guess, for his honors fluence you feel, more or less directly, in are yet blushing on him, and he walks with the laws of the country, but with whom you quite as much pomposity and consciousness never come into personal contact-whom of importance as if he were a real veritable you seldom or never see at meetings, like member of parliament. You may know an Mr. Wakley or the Bishop of London, or M.P. in London, as you may know an in the streets, like the Duke of Wellington Englishman in Paris-by his lofty bearing. -who is one of the most powerful and in- See the proud, haughty Briton, stalking fluential, yet at the same time one of the along the Boulevard! He seems to think most modest and retiring, men in the em- the country and all it contains is his by pire. Come with me. We will go where right of conquest, or that he is one of the we are likely to catch a glimpse of him, natural lords of the earth. So with an when he is not aware that he is observed. M.P. going down to the House. With Let us lounge a few minutes about White-crest erect and chest expanded he stalks hall. About this time the chief men in parliament are making their way down to the two Houses, more especially towards the lower House, where public business begins at half-past four. There is a constant stream of people; but, even if there were not that source of amusement, there is enough to engage the attention in the historical associations of the place-the wondrous contrasts every time-honored spot presents between its past and its present existence. But we have enough of living objects to arrest our notice.
Can you pick out, from the numerous pedestrians who pass, those who are members of the legislature can you distinguish them from the crowd of loungers, lawyers, parliamentary agents, witnesses, and country cousins, who are accustomed, about this hour of the
along; with eyes not deigning to look down, he sniffs the air, and holds himself aloof, like some superior being. The only human creature he will condescend to notice is some other M.P., as proud and consequential as himself. But who is he that has so wondrously unbent this stiff automaton? A rather shabby looking man, and none of the cleanest. Positively, the M.P. bends to him-speaks to him-bows to him at parting! It is a constituent, and a general election is at hand.
But let us leave our general speculations. There comes one along the pavement, who walks not proudly, yet has a presence" upon him not to be passed over. Small, even diminutive as he is, what a dignity there is in his carriage! It seems the dignity not so much of pride as of extreme
But this Lord John Russell has been one of the most unlucky men in her Majesty's Entitled, by his policy and position, long since to hold the highest place, he has ever been disappointed. Tantalized for years with the glittering cup held up to his grasp, it has been his doom ever to see it seized by the hand of a rival. He has always prepared the way for another's triumph. And now he deserves a better fate than to be a stop-gap Premier
modesty or reserve. And yet, if you look | triumphs, of disappointments, must not a again, there is much self-reliance in that man endure who in this country, whatever firm though rather precise and measured may have been his original station, rises by step. What composure! what gravity! his talents alone to the highest political what quiet self-absorption! How plain, position in the kingdom, and rules by uniunpretending, his black frock coat and loose versal consent of the most gifted of his controwsers, made in no fashion of the hour, temporaries. We Englishmen allow ouryet fitting well, and unprofaned by even a selves much license in speaking of our grain of dust! And how dazzlingly white political governors; but however we may the linen is, contrasted with the jet-black attack and abuse them in the heat of party silk neck-tie! Upon the whole, what a passions, we are never backward in doing perfect air of unstudied neatness! Look justice to their personal merits. Tory, again, and you will observe that although whig, and radical, are all alike in that reso small in stature, and formed, in face, spect. hands, and feet, on so petite a scale, he grows on you the more you regard him. He occupies in your vision the whole of dominions. that broad pavement, as Edmund Kean used to "fill" the stage. Observe well his countenance. It is pale with much thinking and long vigils. It has a character of gravity and wisdom. It looks like the Memnon's head at the British Museum seen through the wrong end of a telescope. It is as an heroic head dwarfed. The brow, how wide-the eyebrows, how boldly,-forced into office almost against his will, strongly drawn. You cannot see the depth and obliged to seem the author of contraof the forehead, it is so overshadowed by dictory, and possibly unpopular, measures. that rather sombre broad-brimmed hat. But he struggles nobly against his fate. But the nose, how beautifully formed, how No man could have made more than he has straight and delicate; the mouth, clearly of so untoward a position. However, we marked and well defined; the lips, how do not deal with politics, except by way of finely chiselled; and on all the counte- illustration: let us content ourselves with nance what benevolence! He raises his a very brief enumeration of the main facts eyes as he passes on: they are clear, deep, of his early career, with which those who mild. As the glance rests for a moment, have only regarded him as a party leader it reveals a thoughtful, regulated mind. may not be acquainted; and then we will He is gone; and you observe as he pursues sketch a few points of his character. He his way down Parliament street with firm, is the third and youngest son of the late but slow and cautious step, with what in- Duke of Bedford, by his first wife, a daughstinctive respect he is treated, even by those ter of Viscount Torrington. He was born who do not know that he is LORD JOHN on the 19th August, 1792, and first went RUSSELL, now Prime Minister of England. to school at Sandwich. From thence he Prime Minister of England! Think of went to Cambridge, where, however, he did the combination of qualities-the know- not particularly distinguish himself. In ledge, the self-command, the tact, the un- 1814, he entered Parliament as member for ceasing labor required in order to fill that Tavistock, and made his maiden speech in proud position! And to fill it, too, as it the July of that year, on the Alien Act has been filled for the last ten or fifteen Repeal Bill. To follow him minutely in years, when, not the favor of the Sovereign, his parliamentary career is unnecessary, or the sinister influence of an aristocracy and would be unprofitable. In 1819 he beusurping popular rights, and bolstering up gan that parliamentary agitation of the some subservient nominee, but the deli-question of reform which he continued berate approval of the whole people-of the during a series of years, and which ended enlightened, many-minded people of Eng- in his being selected to bring in the great land-has been the test of fitness. And Reform Bill itself. In 1820 he was rewhat a history does not the phrase itself turned for Huntingdonshire, but in 1826 unfold! what a series of struggles, what an he lost his seat (owing to his advocacy of eventful life of toil, of ambition, of Catholic emancipation), and sat for Bandon
Bridge. He then again represented Tavis- | John Russell, and pointed the attention of tock. In 1831 he was returned for the county the country to Sir Robert Peel as being of Devon; but in 1835 he was rejected on more fit to govern than he. Perhaps Lord account of his support of the appropriation John may take some notice of him to-night; clause, on the occasion afforded by his re- so that we shall hear him speak under suming office with the Melbourne cabinet, favorable circumstances. A little further on the resignation of Sir Robert Peel. He on than he, is Mr. Macaulay, the portly was then elected for Stroud, for which man with a pale, bilious complexion, but borough he sat till the general election of round, full face, as if the sun of Hindostan 1841, when he was returned for London. had had power to steal his color, but not to His subsequent public life has been a series sap his constitution. I need not remind of struggles with Sir Robert Peel for power, you of his brilliant triumphs in literature in which he has regularly laid down prin- and oratory. The little, fragile, pale, ciples which have been accepted by the small-faced man, with massive forehead public, while his rival has by favor of cir- and gleaming eyes, is Mr. Sheil. Next him cumstances, and a most opportune plasticity sits Lord Palmerston, a debater, when he of character, as regularly succeeded in chooses, of first-rate powers, and a foreign standing before the world as the minister minister of universal information, remarkwho has carried them out. In this respectable insight, and grand views, but fettered Lord John Russell suffers a double disad- by circumstances. That tall thin person, vantage-not merely in the deprivation of with handsome expressive features, and who present power, but also in possible exclu- seems pale more from hard work than illsion from future fame; for history, which ness, is Sir George Grey, the Home Secreseeks for, and seizes on strong and promi-tary-a man of developing talents, and an nent events and characters, may overlook his silent services, in recording the more grand and attractive triumphs of Sir Robert Peel.
While we have been indulging in these retrospections and reflections, Lord John Russell has made his way down to the House of Commons. Let us follow him there. Up all sorts of matted staircases, through all sorts of winding passages, with doors on each side, mysteriously numbered, from which issue now and then, as we pass, plain, ill-dressed, very tired-looking persons (M. P.'s who have been all day serving on committees), and you find yourself at the lower end of that long, plain, chapel-like building, the temporary House of Commons. You are in what is called the speaker's gallery-a row of exclusive seats, sliced off from the front of the strangers' gallery, and used to accommodate the private friends of the members. Run your eye along the front bench on the left-hand side. It accommodates many men whose names are bruited abroad, some of world-wide reputation. One of the nearest-mark wellthat small, pale, debilitated-looking man, with head of Roman mould, and finely outlined features, but with a restless, dissatisfied aspect. It is Mr. Roebuck-a politician of unimpeached virtue, sternly devoted to the public good, and a speaker of no mean pretensions, but unfortunate in having an incorrigible acerbity of temper. He last night made a very severe attack on Lord! VOL. XI. No. III.
excellent minister and next him is Mr. Labouchere, the descendant of a Huguenot, and preserving in face, voice, and character, all the marks of a French origin. He is the Irish Secretary, and a first-rate man of business. He with the silvery hair, florid complexion, youthful air, almost boyish face, and projecting nether lip, is Lord Morpeth, the most popular of the Whig ministers-a man of unaffected manners, frank nature, good debating talents, extensive information, business habits, and unflinching honesty of purpose. And if you run your eye along the serried ranks that fill the benches up to the wall, you will see many a face denoting high intellectual powers, many a favorite of the people, many a successful lawyer, many a millionaire. They form a powerful and compact party-one which any man-however great his fame, might well be proud to lead.
But why do I draw your attention to these distinguished men-but a few of those who constitute the Liberal party? It is that you may the better estimate the value and importance of him in whom they place so much confidence as to have made him their leader.
Silent, abstracted, with his face overshadowed by his hat, one leg crossed over the knee of the other, and deeply absorbed in reading some dispatches that have just been brought to him in the red box, the key of which dangles from his eye-glass chain, sits Lord John Russell, the diminu
tive but imposing man who passed us so personal matter. And the members genemodestly in the street, but who here is able rally appear equally anxious; for although to give the law to, and take the lead of, they generally prefer to ask their questions some of the élite of his contemporaries when there is a crowded House, because He is about to go through half-an-hour of they are more universally listened to, they ministerial purgatory; he is going, accord- have asked fewer than ever to-night. ing to the jocular phrase current in the Aye! now there seems a stir of attention House, to say his "catechism." From all through the House; the members all about a quarter to five to a quarter past, settle themselves in the best positions for the ministers are always down in their hearing; and those in the back rows crane places in either House of Parliament, in their necks forward. The little statesman order to answer any questions that may be in black has long since laid aside his papers put to them on the general policy of the and locked his red box. He rises, says country, or on the business of their particu- something confidentially to the Speaker, lar department, either by the leader of the and sits down again; and now you hear opposition, or by any private members of the sonorous voice from the chair say aloud parliament. The Prime Minister, of" that the order of the day be now read." course, usually comes in for a very large Whereupon Lord John Russell rises once share of this nightly torture; but no man more, stretches out his arm, steps up to the bears it better than Lord John Russell. table, then back again, as if he had not Sir James Graham used to be one of the quite made up his mind to begin; then most happy artists in the way of getting rid turns round and looks at the Speaker, then of troublesome questioners; but he always turns round the other way and looks at the did it at the expense of the feelings of the House, and at last comes out with a "Sar! questioner, leaving him and the house under hevin-ar-given notice-ar-that I should an unsatisfactory impression. Sir R. Peel take this opportoonity-ar"—————and so on. was also remarkably expert in the same "Well! Is that what they call oratory in Questions used to shower on him, the House of Commons? Why, we can and fall off again, like drops of water from show you a better specimen at our borough an oil skin. Yet even he used too transpa-meetings!" Softly, good stranger; wait a rent a cajolery. But Lord John Russell is little. No doubt the manner is affected; quite as successful as either, and his no doubt there is too much of that semitriumphs are not so costly. He generally aristocratic drawl; no doubt the style is contrives to give satisfaction, even when he cannot always afford information.
slovenly; the language rather commonplace at present; no doubt the voice seems A burly man, with florid face and strangely strained; as though a very little flaxen hair, and a good-humored smile, has man were trying to talk like a very big one. risen on the opposition side, and put a But listen again. You will find something question, in which, cleverly enough, he has better soon." Do you hear that sentiment? contrived to insinuate a sarcastic speech. Did you ever hear political wisdom for the He is quizzing the government for their people put before in much fewer words, or want of any fixed policy; or he has disco- more portable by the meanest understandvered some new poor law grievance; or- ing? Perhaps you do not well understand anything, in short, out of which he can the subject he has risen to speak upon? No. make a good hit for the electors of Fins- Well, I'll engage that by the time you have bury. It is Mr. Wakley! one of the most the whole of his speech, you shall not only honest and hardworking members of the thoroughly know all the facts and figures House. He and Lord John Russell are old that need be known, but that you shall also political allies; but Mr. Wakley does not get a clear insight into all the moral and think the noble lord has gone either fast political considerations that bear on it—in enough or far enough; and now and then fact, that you shall know about it as much they have had little tiffs-mere lovers' as the greatest statesman in the country. quarrels, however; for they generally How exquisitely clear is the whole dismake it up" again very soon. On this course! From the first small beginnings occasion, Lord John has confined himself down to the broad, grand peroration where to answering his question. Perhaps he does he sums up all, how it bears the subject on not wish to weaken the effect of the great its bosom, how it fertilizes the minds of the ministerial statement he has to make to- audience. Like some river stream, clear night, by drawing attention to any mere and pellucid at its source, that winds its
devious course through various tracks, now to be conveyed; and the whole object is pausing on its pebbly bed, now shooting effected by a few simple artistic touches, arrow-like along, now widening and swelling which leave irresistibly the impression on into deep lake-like pools, now bearing down your mind of latent power. Nay, even the all obstacles, till at last it pours its full object of the rebuke seems to feel its force volume at its outlet. If some sentences are and necessity, and to sit down quietly under labored and involved, how terse and epi-it. Lord John is very impartial in admigrammatic are others! Mark the simpli- nistering these castigations. Sometimes, if city of the diction: the powerful Saxon words! How happy the illustrations, never strained or sought after, yet always ready at the opportune moment. He no longer hems! and has! He is on the full tide of his philosophic spirit. How finely he inculcates his noble maxims of public conduct, how naturally and unaffectedly he draws the mind to contemplate the right and the just, not despising even the expedient! Observe how animated and interested the House have become. He holds them all in a chain, to which he adds new links at each new argument, each new development of his well regulated and statesmanlike mind. Review all he has been saying, and you will confess how he has impressed you with his self-possession, his coolness, his generalship, his extensive information, his insight, his wonderful faculty of making the philosophy of politics easy to the meanest understandings.
he has been very hard run, for instance, by Lord George Bentinck, about Irish railways, he will read that aspiring leader such a lesson as will make him heartily wish himself back into the ranks, and that he had never taken on himself those arduous duties. At other times the noble lord will quiz Sir Robert Peel; at others, Mr. Bright or Mr. Wakley. But when he entered the House, we anticipated he might retort on Mr. Roebuck for some of the severe things he had been saying against the government, and his open propitiation of Sir R. Peel. By degrees he approaches that part of his discourse which bears on the honorable member, who sits as usual in triumphant unconsciousness. But now he hears his name; he pricks up his ears! And what an iron pencil is etching his character in his own aqua fortis! How true the sketch, how strong the points of censure selected! He who is always the censor of his fellow-men, who imputes sordid motives to all, who sees only the bleak, dark side of men and things, how gently, yet how powerfully, is he rebuked! How delicate, yet how severe, is the satire! Nay, he seems himself almost conscious of its truth: he does not attempt a reply, as he would to a more rude or malevolent antagonist. And even his admirers are not angry with the satirist; for they see so many noble and useful qualities in that stern little Tribune, the member for Bath, that they would fain see them no longer shadowed by infirmity of temper or obliquity of moral vision.
But this is only one phase of his parliamentary character. A party leader is not merely required to make expositions of policy, or to give the word of command and mark out manoeuvres he is sometimes obliged to stand forward in single combat. And he must also be able to handle his weapons as well as the bravest or most skilful of his host; or men will not be content to follow his lead, or even to allow him to fight their battles. Now Lord John Russell does not make much pretence, but he is very brave and skilful nevertheless. Like David, with only his courage and his poor sling, he has many times stood up against fearful odds, and yet has prevailed. It is And now you have seen Lord John Rusquite a treat to see him ridiculing or de- sell in almost every aspect he wears in pubmolishing anybody; his proceedings are so lic. But that is not half his usefulness. quiet and unassuming, yet so masterly. If His integrity is a proverb. He has more it be a mere answer to an argument, it is personal friends than Sir R. Peel; because put so simply and forcibly; if it be an anec- he has been a more steady and consistent dote or an illustration, it is introduced so friend, though not so successful, of liberal aptly and humorously; if it be necessary principles. Had not Lord John prepared to quiz an opponent or to set him down, it the way, Sir Robert could never have caris done so effectually, yet with so much ried his great measures. As a statesman dignity. The grave, small, sedate face be- and party leader, Lord John sways by firmcomes illumined by sly humor (never ill-ness and quiet dignity; Sir Robert Peel natured), the mouth relaxes, and heralds by dictatorship and cold reserve. In general by a smile the irony in which the rebuke is knowledge they are nearly equal; but