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full trust and admiration, and on Mr. Gladstone's exploits he virtually rested his case. His speech said in plain words: “If you vote for this resolution proposed by Mr. Disraeli you turn Mr. Gladstone out of office; you give the Tories, who understand nothing about free trade, and who opposed the French Commercial Treaty, an opportunity of marring all that he has made." Some of Lord Palmerston's audience were a little impatient now and then. has all this to do with the question before the house?” was murmured from more than one bench. It had everything to do with the question that was really before the house. That question was, “Shall Palmerston remain in office, or shall he go out and the Tories come in ?” The advanced Liberals had the decision put into their hands. As Lord Palmerston reviewed the financial and commercial history of his administeation, they felt themselves morally coerced to support the ministry which had done so much for the policy that was especially the offspring of their inspiration. When the division was taken it was found that there were 295 votes for Mr. Disraeli's resolution and 313 for the amendment. Lord Palmerston was saved by a majority of eighteen. It was not a very brilliant victory. There were not many votes to spare. But it was a victory. The Con. servatives miss by a foot was as good for Lord Palmerston as a miss by a mile. It gave him a secure tenure of office for the rest of his lifc. Such as it was, the victory was won mainly by his own skill, energy, and astuteness, by the ready manner in which he evaded the question actually, in debate, an. i rested his claim to acquittal on services which no one proposed to disparage.
The conclusion was thoroughly illogical, thoroughly practical, thoroughly English. Lord Palmerston knew his time, his opportunity, and his men.
This was the last great speech made by Lord Palmerston. This was the last great occasion on which he was called upon to address the House of Communs. The effort was
worthy of the emergency, and, at least in an artistic sense, deserved success. The speech exactly served its purpose. It had no brilliant passages. It had no hint of an elevated thought. It did not trouble itself with any profession of exalted purpose or principle. It did not contain a single sentence which any one could care to remember after the emergency had passed away. But it did for Lord Palmerston what great eloquence might have failed to do; what a great orator, by virtue of his very genius and oratorical instincts, might only have marred. It took captive the wavering minds, and it carried the division,
EBB AND FLOW.
NE cannot study English politics, even in the most
superficial way, without being struck by the singular regularity with which they are governed by the law of action and reaction. The succession of ebb and flow in the tides is not more regular and more certain. A season of political energy is sure to come after a season of political apathy. After the sleeping comes the waking; after the day of work, the night of repose; a liberal spirit is abroad and active; it carries all before it for a while; it pushes great reforms through; it projects others still greater. Suddenly a pause comes; and a whisper is heard that we have had too much of reform; and the whisper grows into a loud remonstrance, and the remonstrance into what seems to be an almost universal declaration. Then sets in a period of reaction, during which reform is denoun. ced as if it were a treason, and shuddered at as though it were a pestilence. For a season people make themselves comfortable, and say to each other that England has attained political perfection; that only fools and traitors would ask her to venture on any further change, and that we are all going now to have a contented rest. Just as this condition of things seems to have become a settled habit and state of existence the new reaction begins; and before men can well note the change the country is in the fervor of a reform fit again. It is so in our foreign policy. We
seem to have settled down to a Washingtonian principle of absolute isolation from the concerns and complications of toreign countries, until suddenly we become aware of a rising sea of reaction, and almost in a moment we are in the thick of a policy which involves itself in the affairs of every state trom Finland to Sicily, and from Japan to the Caspian Sea. It is the same with our colonies. We are just on the eve of a blunt and cool dismissal of them from all depend. ence on us, when suddenly we find out that they are the strength of our limbs and the light of our eyes, and that to live without them would be only death in life; and for another season the patriotism of public men consists in professions of unalterable attachment to the colonies. It is so with regard to warlike purpose and peaceful purpose; with regard to armaments, fortifications, law reform, everything. An ordinary observer ought to be able almost always to tore. cast the weather of the coming season in English politics. When action has run its course pretty nearly, reaction is sure; and it ought not to be very difficult to foresee when the one has had its season and the other is to succeed.
The explanation of this phenomenon is not to be found in the fact that the people of these countries are, as Mr. Carlyle says, “mostly fools." They do not all thus change their opinions in sudden mechanical springs of alternation. The explanation is not to be sought in any change of national opinion at all, but rather in a change in the ascendency between two tolerably well balanced parties in politics and thought. The people of these countries, or perhaps it should be said of England especially, are born into Liberalism and Conversatism. In Ireland and in Scotland the condition of things is modified by other facts, and the same general rule will hardly apply; but in England this is roughly speaking, the law of life. Men as a rule remain in the the political condition-we can hardly speak of the political convictions—to which they were born. But the majority
give themselves little trouble about the matter. If there is a great stir made by those just above them in politics, and to whom they look up, they will take some interest, and will exhibit it in any desirable way; but they do not move of themselves, and when their leaders appear to acquiesce in anything for a season they withdraw their attention altogether. Many a man is hardly conscious of whether he is Liberal or Conservative until he gets into a crowd somewhere, and hears his neighbors shouting. Then he shouts with those whom he knows to be of the opinions he is under. stood to hold, and he shouts himself into political conviction. This is the condition of the majority on both sides. It takes immense trouble on the part of the leaders to rouse the mass of their followers into a condition of genuine activity. The majority are like some of the heavy-winged insects who hardly ever use their wings, and who, when for some reason they are anxious to hoist themselves into the air, may be seen of a summer twilight making their preparation so long and slowly that a passing observer would never suppose they meant any such unwonted movement as a flight. The political leaders, and the followers immediately within hear. ing of their voices, have for the most part the direction of affairs in their hands-these and the newspapers. The leaders, the House of Commons, and the active local men in cities and boroughs—these and the newspapers make up what we commonly understand to be public opinion. The change in public opinion, or what seem to be such, is when one set succeeds for a time in getting predominence over the other. The predominence is usually transferred when one set has done or said all it is quite prepared to do or say for the moment. Then the other, having lost patience or gained courage, rushes in and gets his turn. It is like a contest in some burlesque eclogue, in which each singer has his chance only when the rival is out of breath, and he can strike in and keep singing until he too feels his lungs fail