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to have made up his mind that he would compel the world to confess him capable of playing the part of a politician. We have in a former chapter of this work alluded to the physical difficulties which stood in the way of his success as a parliamentary speaker, and in spite of which he accomplished his success. He was deaf, and his articulation was so defective that those who heard him speak in public for the first time often found themselves unable to understand him. Such difficulties would assureuly have scared any ordinary man out of the parliamentary arena forever. But Lytton seems to have determined that he would make a figure in Parliament. He set himself to public speaking as coolly as if he were a man, like Gladstone or Bright, whom nature had marked out for such a competition of her physi. cal gifts. He became a decided, and even in a certain sense, a great success. He could not strike into a debate actually going on; his defects of hearing shut him off from such a performance; and no man who is not a debater will ever hold a really high position in the House of Commons. But he could review a previous night's arguments in a speech abounding in splendid phrases and brilliant illustrations. He could pass for an orator. He actually did pass for an orator. Mr. Disraeli seems to have admired his speaking with a genuine and certainly a disinterested admiration; for he described it as though it were exactly the kind of elo. quence in which he would gladly have himself excelled if he could. In fact, Lytton reached the same relative level in parliamentary debate that he had reached in fiction and the drama. He contrived to appear as if he ought to rank among the best of the craftsmen.
Sir Edward Lytton, as Secretary for the Colonies, seemed resolved to prove by active and original work that he could be a practical colonial statesman as well as a novelist, a playwright, and a parliamentary orator. He founded the coiony - British Columbia, which at first was to comprise
all such territories within the queen's dominions “as are bounded to the south by the frontier of the United States of America, to the east by the main chain of the Rocky Mountains, to the north by Simpson's River and the Finlay branch of the Peace River, and to the west by the Pacific Ocean." It was originally intended that the colony should not include Vancouver's Island, but her Majesty was allowed. on receiving an address from the two Houses of the Legis. lature of Vancouver's Island, to annex that island to British Columbia. Vancouver's Island was in fact incorporated with British Columbia in 1866, and British Columbia was united with the Dominion of Canada in 1871.
Something, however, more strictly akin to Sir Edward Lytton's personal tastes was found in the mission to which he invited Mr. Gladstone. There had long been dissatisfaction and even disturbance in the Ionian Islands. These seven islands were constituted a sort of republic or commonwealth by the Treaty of Vienna. But they were consigned to the protectorate of Great Britain, which had the right of maintaining garrisons in them. Great Britain used to appoint a lord high commissioner who was generally a military man, and whose office combined the duties of commander-in-chief with those of civil governor. The little republic had a Senate of six members and a Legislative Assembly of forty members. It seems almost a waste of words to say that the islanders were not content with British government. For good or ill, the Hellenes wherever they are found are sure to be filled with an impassioned longing for Hellenic independence. The people of the Ionian Islands were eager to be allowed to enter into one system with the kingdom of Greece. It was idle to try to amuse them by telling them they constituted an independent republic, and were actually governing themselves. A duller people than the Greeks of the islands could not be deluded into the idea that they were a self-governing people, while they saw them.
selves presided over by an English lord high commissioner who was also the commander-in-chief of a goodly British army garrisoned in their midst. They saw that the lord high commissioner had a way of dismissing the republican parliament whenever he and they could not get on together. They knew that it they ventured to resist his orders, English soldiers would make short work of their effort at self-assertion. They might, therefore, well be excused if they failed to see much of the independent republic in such a system. It is certain that they got a great deal of material benefit from the presence of the energetic road-making British power. But they wanted to be above all things Greek. Their national principles and aspirations, their personal vanities, their truly Greek restlessness and craving for novelty, all combined to make them impatient of that foreign protectorate which was realiy foreign government. The popular constitution which had been given to the Septinsular Republic some ten years before Sir E. B. Lytton's time had enabled Hellenic agitation to make its voice and its claims more effectual. In England after the usual fashion a great many shallow politicians were raising an outcry against the popular constitution, as if it were the cause of all tlie confusion. Because it enabled discontent to make its voice heard they condemned it as the cause of the discontent. They would have been for silencing the alarmbell immediately, and then telling themselves that all was safe. As was but natural, local politicians rose to popnlarity in the islands in proportion as they were loud in their denunciation of foreign rule, and in their demands for union with the kingdom of Greece. Anybody might surely have foretold all this years before. It might have been taken for granted that so long as any sort of independent Greek kingdom held its head above the waters the Greek populations everywhere would sympathize with its efforts, and long to join their destiny with it. Many English public men, how
ever, were merely angry with these pestilential Greeks who did not know what was good for them. A great English journal complained with a simple egotism that was positively touching, that in spite of all arguments the National Assembly, the municipalities, and the press of the lunian Islands had now concentrated their pretensions on the project of a union with the kingdom of Greece. Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton had not been long enough in office to have become soaked in the ideas of routine. He did not regard the unan. imous opinions of the insular legislature, municipalities, and press as evidence merely of the unutterable stupidity or the incurable ingratitude and wickedness of the Ionian populations. He thought the causes of the complaints and the dissatisfaction were well worth looking into, and he resolved on sending a statesman of distinction out to the islands to make the inquiry. Mr. Gladstone had been for some years out of office. He had been acting as an independent supporter of Lord Palmerston's government. It occurred to Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton that Mr. Gladstone was the mari best fitted to conduct the inquiry. He was well known to be a sympathizer with the struggles and the hopes of the Greeks generally; and it seemed to the new Colonial Secretary that the mere fact of such a man having been appointed would make it clear to the islanders that the inquiry was about to be conducted in no hostile spirit. He offered therefore to Mr. Gladstone the office of Lord High Commissioner Extraordinary to the Ionian Islands, and Mr. Glad. stone accepted the offer and its duties. The appointment created much surprise, some anger, and a good deal of ridicule here at home. There seemed to certain minds to be something novel, startling, and positively unseemly in such a proceeding. Sir Edward Buwler Lytton had alluded in his dispatch to Mr. Gladstone's Homeric scholarship, and this was, in the opinion of some politicians, an outrage upon all the principles and proprieties of routine. This, it was
muttered, is what comes of literary men in office. A writer of novels is leader of the House of Commons, and he has another writer of novels at his side as Colonial Secretary, and between them they can think of nothing better than to send a man out to the Ionian Islands to listen to the trash of Greek demagogues, merely because he happens to be fond of reading Homer.
Mr. Gladstone went out to the Ionian Islands, and arrived in Corfu in the November of 1858. He called together the Senate, and endeavored to satisfy them as to the real nature of his mission. He explained that he had not come there to discuss the propriety of maintaining the English protectorate, but only to inquire into the manner in which the just claims of the Ionian Islands might be secured by means of that protectorate. Mr. Gladstone's visit, however, was not a successful enterprise for those who desired that the protectorate should be perpetual, and that the Ionians should be brought to accept it as inevitable. The population of the islands persisted in regarding him, not as the commissioner of a Conservative English Government, but as “Gladstone the Philhellene.” He was received wherever he went with the honors due to a liberator. His path everywhere was made to seem like a triumphal progress. In vain he repeated his assurances that he came to reconcile the islands to the protectorate, and not to deliver them from it. The popular instinct insisted on regarding him as at least the precursor of their union to the kingdom of Greece. The National Assembly passed a formal resolution declaring for union with Greece. All that Mr. Gladstone's persuasions could do was to induce them to appoint a committee, and draw up a memorial to be presented in proper form to the protecting powers. By this time news of Mr. Gladstone's reception in the islands and in Athens, to which also he paid a visit, had reached England, and the most ex. travagant exaggerations were put into circulation. Mr.