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modifying the form of oath shut out the Jews again; or shut out any new Jewish candidates. Of course such a condition of things as that could not endure. An act passed not long after which consolidated the acts referring to oaths of allegiance, abjuration, and supremacy, and enabled Jews on all occasions whatever to omit the words “on the true faith of a Christian." Thus the Jew was at last placed on a position of political equalitywith the Christian fellowsubjects, and an anomaly and a scandal was removed from our legislation.
About the same time as that which saw Baron Rothschild admitted to take his seat in the House of Commons, the absurd property qualification for members of Parliament was abolished. This ridiculous system originally professed to secure that a man should be a member of the House of Commons who did not own a certain amount of landed property. The idea of defining a man's fitness to sit in Parliament according to his possession of landed property, was in itself preposterous; but such as the law was it was evaded every day. It had not the slightest real force. Fictitious conveyances were issued as a matter of course. Any one who desired a seat in Parliament could easily find some friend or patron who would convey to him by formal deed the fictitious ownership of landed property enough to satisfy the requirements of the law. This was done usually with as little pretence at concealment as the borrowing of an umbrella. It was perfectly well known to everybody that a great many members of the House of Commons did not possess, and did not even pretend to possess a single acre of land their own property. What made the thing more absurd was that men who were rich enough to spend thousands of pounds in contesting boroughs and counties, had often to go through this form of having a fictitious conveyance made to them because they did not happen to have invested any part of their wealth in land. Great city mga.
nates, known for their wealth, and known in many cases for their high personal honor as well, had to submit to this foolish ceremonial. The property qualification was a device of the reign of Anne. The evasion of it became so many and so notorious that in George II.'s time an act was passed mak. ing it necessary for every member to take an oath that he possessed the requisite amount of property. In the present reign a declaration was substituted for the oath, and it was provided that it a man had not landed property, it would be a enough for him to prove that he had funded property to the same amount-six hundred pounds a year for counties and three hundred pounds for boroughs. The manufacture of fictitious qualificatior.s went on as fast as ever. There were many men in good position, earning large incomes by a profession or otherwise, who yet had not realized money enough to put them in possession of a property of six hundred pounds or three hundred pounds a year-it might take ten thousand pounds to secure an imcome of three hundred pounds a year; twenty thousand pounds to secure six hundred pounds a year. Scores of members of Parliament were well-known not to have any such means. To make the anomaly more absurd, it should be noted that there was no property qualification in Scotland, and the Scotch members were then, as now, remarkable for their respectability and intelligence. Members for the universi. ties, too, were elected without a property qualification. Mr. Locke King stated in the House of Commons that after every general election there were from fifty to sixty cases in which it was found that persons had declared themselves to be possessed of the requisite qualification who were notoriously not in possession of it. Many men, too, it was well known, were purposely qualified by wealthy patrons in order that they might sit in Parliament as mere nominees and political servants.
As usual with Parliament, this anomaly was allowed to go
on until a sudden scandal made its abolition necessary. One luckless person, who probably had no position and few friends, was actually prosecuted for having made a false declaration as to his property qualification. He had been a little more indiscreet, or a little more open in his performance than other people, and he was pounced upon by “old father antic," the law. This practically settled the matter. Every one knew that many other members of Parliament deserved, in point of fact, just as well as he, the three months' imprisonment to which he was sentenced. Mr. Locke King introduced a bill to abolish the property qualification hitherto required from the representatives of English and Irish constituences, and it became law in a few days.
HEN Lord Ellenborough abruptly resigned the place
of President of the Board of Control he was succeeded by Lord Stanley, who, as we have seen already, became Secretary of State for India, under the new system of government. Lord Stanley had been Secretary for the Colonies, and in this office he was succeeded by Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton. For some time previously Sir Edward Lytton had been taking so marked a place in parliamentary life as to make it evident that when his party came into power he was sure to have a chance of distinguishing himself in office. Bulwer's political career had up to this time been little better than a failure. He started in public life as a Radical and a friend of O'Connell; he was indeed the means of introducing Mr. Disraeli to the leader of the Irish party. He began his parliamentary career before the Reform Bill. He was elected for St. Ives in 1831. After the passing of the bill, he represented Lincoln for several years. At the general election of 1841 he lost his seat, and it was not until July, 1852, that he was again returned to Parliament. This time he came in as member for the County of Herts. In the interval many things had happened-to quote the expression of Mr. Disraeli in 1874. Lytton had succeeded to wealth and to landed estates, and he had almost alto. gether changed his political opinions. From a poetic Radical he had become a poetic Conservative. In the “ Parlia. mentary Companion” for the year 1855 we find him thus quaintly described by his own hand it may be assumed : “Concurs in the general policy of Lord Derby; would readjust the income tax, and mitigate the duties on malt, tea, and soap; some years ago advocated the ballot, but seeing its utter inefficiency in France and America can no longer support that theory; will support education on a religious basis, and vote for a repeal of the Maynooth Grant." It will perhaps be assumed from this confession of faith that Lytton had not very clear views of any kind as to practical politics. It probably seemed a graceful and poetic thing, redolent of youth and Ernest Maltravers, to stand forth as an impassioned Radical in early years; and it was quite in keeping with the progress of Ernest Maltravers to tone down into a thoughtful Conservative opposing the Maynooth Grant and mitigating the duty on malt and soap, as one advanced in years, wealth, and gravity. At all events, it was certain that whatever Lytton attempted he would in the end carry to some considerable success.
His first years in the House of Commons had come to nothing. When he lost his seat most people fancied that he had accepted defeat, and had turned his back on parliamentary life forever. But Lytton possessed a marvellously strong will, and had a faith in himself which almost amounted to genius. When he wrote a play which proved a distinct failure some of the leading critics assured him that he had no dramatic turn at all. He believed on the contrary that he had; and he determined to write another play which should be of all things dramatic, and which should hold the stage. He went to work and produced the “ Lady of Lyons;" a play filled with turgid passages and preposterous situations, but which has nevertheless in so conspicuous a degree the dramatic or theatric qualities that it has always held the stage, and has never been wholly extinguished by any change of fashion or of fancy. In much the same way Sir Edward Lytton seems