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all who pretended to form a judgment was, that at that time the great majority of the constituents were with hini. He seemed to have reached the zenith of his own power, and to have accomplished that object which is held so dear by a certain class of Englishmen, that of making the influence of England predominant over the councils of Europe. It is said that he was strongly advised by some of his northern supporters not to put the country then to the cost of a general election. Trade had been depressed for some time. The depression was due, in the first instance, to causes which had no concern with politics, but it had, of course, been made much deeper by the anxiety and uneasinss which the too enterprising policy of the government kept alive in these countries. It was, therefore, strongly pressed on Lord Beaconsfield that, especially in the northern counties, where he had many influential supporters, the drain caused by bad trade had been so heavy that it would be unfair to hasten a dissolution, and thus impose large and at that time unnecessary cost on the constituencies. Whatever the reason may have been, the expected dissolution did not take place, and from that time Lord Beaconsfield never had any chance of a successful appeal to the country. From that time the popularity of his government began to go down and down. Many things were against them for which they were not responsible, may things for which they had made themselves distinctly responsible. The badness of trade and the general depression were no fault of theirs to begin with, but as we have just said, they aggravated every evil of this kind by the strain on which they kept the expectation of the country. Their domestic policy had not been successful. They had attempted many large measures, and failed to carry them through. They had not satisfied the country party, to whom they owed so much. The malt-tax remained a grievance, as it had been for generations. The Government had got into trouble with the Home Rule party. Mr. Buit
had been failing in physical power and in influence for some time. His place as a leader had long been practically disputed by Mr. Parnell, and was evidently about to be taken by him. Mr. Parnell, a young man but lately come into Parliament, soon proved himself the most remarkable politician who had arisen on the field of Irish politics since the day when John Mitchel was cor.veyed away from Dublin to Bermuda. The tactics adopted by Mr. Parnell annoyed and discredited the government. Good-natured men of respectability and no great force of character, like Sir Stafford Northcote, were wholly unable to cope with the pertinacity and policy of such an antagonist. The country blamed the ministry, it scarcely knew why, for the manner in which the policy called obstructive had been allowed to come into force. It was evident that a new chapter in Irish agitation was opening, and those who disliked the prospect felt inclined to lay the blame on the government, as if, because they happened to be in office, they must be responsible for everything that took place during their official reign. All these influences combined were telling against Lord Beaconsfield's administration. Perhaps, had he been still in the House of Commons, and still in the possession of his full physical vigor, he might have done something to maintain the credit of his government. But in the quiet shelter of the House of Lords he could only now and then make a show speech, in which he usually succeeded in convincing the public of his entire independence and isolation from the policy and the purposes of his colleagues. Scarcely ever was a ministerial explanation of any important part of the government policy given in the House of Commons without its being followed by some explanation breathing a totally different spirit, and conveyed in utterly different words, from the lips of Lord Beaconsfield. In the House of Commons, Sir Stafford Northcote and Mr. Cross almost invariably endeavored to minimize and reduce to the most practicable
limits the objects of the foreign policy of the government. In the House of Lords, the Prime Minister almost invariably endeavored to magnify his office and his mission, and to insist upon it that every step taken by him in foreign affairs was part of a great, new, ambitious, and imperial policy. Most of all, the ministry suffered from the effect produced upon the country by the smaller wars into which they had plunged.
The first of these was the invasion of Afghanistan. This was part of the great imperial policy which Lord Lytton was sent to carry out in India. The government determined to send a mission to Shere Ali, one of the sons of Dost Mahomed, and then the ruler of Cabul. During the time when it was still uncertain whether England and Russia would not be at war, the Russian Government appear to have sent an envoy of their own to Cabul with the object, no doubt, of obtaining the direct or indirect assistance of Shere Ali. The English Government determined to guard against possible danger for the future by establishing a distinct and paramount influence in Afghanistan. Shere Ali strongly objected to receive either a mission or a permanent resident. The mission was sent forward. It was so numerous as to look rather like an army than an Embassy. It started from Peshawur on September 21st, 1878, but was stopped on the Frontier by an officer of Shere Ali, who objected to its passing through until he had received authority from his master. This delay was magnified, by the news first received here, into an insolentrebuff. The unlucky performance which had been attempted in France in 1870, was by chance or error or purpose, euacted over again on a small scale in England. The Eng. lish envoy was made to play the part of the French Ambassador, and the passion of the English people for the moment became inflamed with the idea of an insult to the English flag. The envoy was ordered to go on, and before long the mission was turned into an invasion. The Afghans
made but a poor resistance, and the English troops soon occupied Cabul. Shere Ali fled from his capital. One portion of our forces occupied Candahar. Lord Beaconsfield announced that the object of the invasion in Afghanistan was satisfactorily accomplished ; that England was now in possession of three great highways which connected Afghanistan with India; that he hoped the country would long remain in possession of them, and that it had secured a frontier which would render the Indian Empire invulnerable. Shere Ali died, and Yakoob Khan, his son, became his successor. Yahoob Khan presented himself at the British camp, which had now been established at Gandamak, a place between Jellalabad and Cabul. Here the treaty of Gandamak was signed on May 5th, 1879. The Indian Goyernment undertook by this treaty to pay the Ameer £60,000 a year, and the Ameer ceded, or appeared to cede, what Lord Beaconsfied called the "scientific frontier," and agreed to admit a British representative to reside in Cabul. On those conditions he was to be supported against any foreign enemy with money and arms, and if necessary, with nien. Hardly had the country ceased clapping its hands and exulting over the quiet establishment of an English resident at Cabul, when a telegram arrived announcing that the events of November, 1841, had repeated themselves in that city. The tragedy of Sir Alexander Burns was enacted over again. Down almost to its smallest details that terrible drama was played once more. Only the actors were
A popular rising took place in Cabul, exactly as had happened in 1841. Sir Louis Cavagnari, the English Envoy, and all, or nearly all, the members of his staff were murdered. There was nothing to be done for it but to invade Cabul over again, and take vengeance for the massacre of the English officers. The British troops hurried up, fought their way with their usual success, and on the Christmas eve of 1879 Cabul was again entered. Yakoob Khan,
accused of complicity in the massacre, was sent as a pris. oner to India, possibly as was then thought, to await his trial for a share in the murder. Cabul was occupied, but not possessed. The English Government held in their power just as much as Afghanistan as they could cover with their encampments. They held it for just so long as they kept the encampments standing.
The treaty of Gandamak was, of course, nothing but waste paper. The scientific frontier had not even been defined. It was to have been provided for in a supplementary document to the treaty, which was to set forth its precise line and extent. This part of the business was never accomplished, and the terms of the bond so far as they had any real existence at ail, were washed off the paper in the blood of Sir Louis Cavagnari. We liad got into Afghanistan. There now remained a far greater difficulty--to get out of it." Blood will have blood," says Macbeth.
The war in South Africa was, if possible, less justifiable. It was also, if possible, more disastrous. The region which we call South Africa consisted of several Sta.es, native and European, uuder various forms of authority, Cape Colony and Natal were for a long time the only English dominions. The Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic were Dutch settlements. In 1848 the British Government had established its authority over the Orange River territory, bnt it afterward transferred its powers to a provisional government of Dutch origin. The Transvaal was a Dutch Republic with which we had until quite lately no direct connection. In 1852 the English Government resolved that its operations and its responsibilities in South Africa should be limited to Cape Colony and Natal, and distinctly recog. nized the independence of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal Republic. Besides these States of what we may call European origin, there were a great many native com munities, some of which had enough of organization to be