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strances about the building of the privateers. But it is not likely that impartial history will acquit them of the charge of having been encouraged in their indifference by the common conviction that the Union was about to be broken up, and that the North was no longer a formidable power.
PALMERSTON'S LAST VICTORY.
URING the later months of his life the Prince Con
sort had been busy in preparing for another great International Exhibition to be held in London. It was arranged that this exhibition should open on May ist, 1862: and although the sudden death of the Prince Consort great. ly interfered with the prospects of the undertaking, it was not thought right that there should be any postponement of the opening. The exhibition building was erected in South Kensington, according to a design by Captain Fowke. It certainly was not a beautiful structure. None of the novel charm which attached to the bright exterior of the Crystal Palace could be found in the South Kensington building. It was a huge and solid erection of brick, with two enormous domes, each in shape so strikingly like the famous crinoline petticoat of the period that people amused themselves by suggesting that the principle idea of the architect was to perpetuate for posterity the shape and structure of the Empress Eugenie's invention. The fine arts department of the exhibition was a splendid collection of pictures and statues. Tne display of products of all kinds from the colonies was rich, and was a novelty, for the colonists contributed little indeed to the exhibition of 1851; and the intervening eleven years had been a period of immense colonial advance. But the public did not enter with much heart into the enterprise of 1862. No one felt
any longer any of the hopes which floated dreamily and gracefully round the scheme of 1851. There was no talk or thought of a reign of peace any more. The Civil War was raging in America. The continent of Europe was trembling all over with the spasms of war just done, and the premonitory symptoms of war to come. The exhibition of 1862 had to rely upon its intrinsic merits, like any ordinary show or any public market. Poetry and prophecy had nothing to say to it.
England was left for some time to an almost absolute inactivity. As regards measures of political legislation, after the failure of the Reform Bill, it was quite understood as we have already said, that there was to be no more of reform while Lord Palmerston lived. At one of his elections for Tiverton, Lord Palmerston was attacked by a familiar antagonist, a sturdy Radical butcher, and asked to explain why he did not bring in another Reform Bill. The answer was characteristic, “Why do we not bring in another Reform Bill? Because we are not geese." Lord Palmerston was heartily glad to be rid of schemes in which he had neither belief or sympathy; and his absence of political foresight in home affairs made him satisfied that the whole question of reform was quietly shelved for another generation. It is not, perhaps surprising that a busy statesman, whose intellect was mostly exercised on questions of foreign policy, should have come to this conclusion, when cool critics on public affairs were ready to adopt with complacence a similar faith. The Quarterly Review said, in 1863, “ Reform is no longer talked of now. Mr, Bright has almost ceased to excite antipathy." "Our statesmen," it went on to say with portentous gravity, "have awakened to the fact that the imagined reform agitation was nothing but an intrigue among themselves, and that the nation was far too sensible to desire any further approximation to the government of the multitude.” Lord Palmerston was free to indulge in his taste for foreign politics.
Between Palmerston and the Radical party in England there was a growing coldness. He had not only thrown over reform himself, but he had apparently induced most of his colleagues to accept the understanding that nothing more was to be said about it. He had gone in for a policy, of large expenditure, for the purpose of securing the country against the possibilities of invasion. He had lent himself openly to the propagation of what his adversaries called, not very unreasonably, the scare that was got up about another Napoleonic invasion. When drawn into argument by Mr. Cobden on the subject, Lord Palmerston had betray. ed a warmth of manner that was almost offensive, and had spoken of the commercial treaty with France as if it were a thing rather ridiculous than otherwise. He was unsparing, whenever he had a chance, in his ridicule of the ballot. He had very little sympathy with the grievances of the Nonconformists, some of them even still real and substantial enough. He took no manner of interest in anything proposed for the political benefit of Ireland. Although an Irish landlord, an Irish peer, and occasionally speaking of himself in a half jocular way as an Irishman, he could not be brought even to affect any sympathy with any of the complaints made by the representatives of that country. He scoffed at all proposals about tenant-right. “ Tenant-right," he once said, “is landlord's wrong;" and he was cheered for saying this by the landlords on both sides of the House of Commons; and he evidently thought he had settled the question. He was indeed impatient of all “ views ;” and he regarded what is called philosophic statesmanship with absolute contempt. The truth is that Palmerston ceased to be a statesman the moment he came to deal with domestic interests. When actually in the Home Office, and compelled to turn his attention to the business of that department, he proved a very efficient administrator, because of his shrewdness and his energy. But as a rule he had not much to
do with English political affairs, and he knew little or noth. ing of them. He was even childishly ignorant of many things which any ordinary public man is supposed to know He was at home in foreign—that is, in continental politics for he had hardly any knowledge of American affairs, and almost up the moment of the fall of Richmond was confident that the Union never could be restored, and that separation was the easy and natural way of settling all the dispute. He gave a pension to an absurd and obscure writer of doggerel, and when a question was raised about this singular piece of patronage in the House of Commors, it turned out that Lord Palmerston knew nothing about the man, but had got it into his head somehow that he was a poet of the class of Burns. When he read anything except dispatches he read scientific treatises, for he had a keen interest in some branches of science; but he cared little for modern English literature. The world in which he delighted to mingle talked of continential politics generally, and a great knowledge of English domestic affairs would have been thrown away there, Naturally, therefore, when Lord Palmerston had nothing particular to do in foreign affairs, and had to turn his attention to England, he relished the idea of fortifying her against toreign foes. This was foreign politics seen from another point of view; it had far more interest for him than reform or tenant-right.
There were, however, some evidences of a certain difference of opinion between Lord Palmerston and some of his colleagues, as well as between him and the Radical party. His constant activity in foreign politics pleased some of his cabinet as little as it pleased the advanced Liberals. His vast fortification schemes, and his willingness to spend money on any project that tended toward war, or, what seemed much the same thing, on any elaborate preparation against problematical war, was not congenial with the tern. perament and the judgment of some members of his admin