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of the government, was still raging, and the landlords and cattle-owners were still in a state of excitement and alarm, and had long been clamoring over the insufficiency of the compensation which other classes condemned as unreasonable alike in principle and in proportion. The day before the success of Lord Dunkellin's motion, the Emperor of Austria had issued a manifesto explaining the course of events which compelled him to draw the sword against Prussia. A day or two after, Italy entered into the quarrel by declaring war against Austria. The time seemed hope. less for pressing a small Reform Bill on in the face of an unwilling Parliament, and for throwing the country into the turmoil and expense of another general election. Lord Russell and Mr. Gladstone accepted the situation, and resigned office.
The one mistake they had made was to bring in a Reform Bill of so insignificant and almost unmeaning a character. It is more than probable that the difficulties Lord Russell had with the Whig section of his Cabinet compelled him to compromise to a degree which his own inclinations and his own principles would not have approved, and to which Mr. Gladstone could only yield a reluctant assent, But if this be the explanation of what happened, it would have been better to put off the measure for a session or two, and allow public opinion out of doors to express itself so clearly as to convince the Whigs that the people in general were really in earnest about reform. No Reform Bill can be carried unless it is sustained by such an amount of enthusiasm among its supporters in and out of Parliament as to convince the timid, the selfish, and the doubting that the measure must be passed. In the nature of things the men actually in Parliament cannot be expected to enter with any great spontaneous enthusiasm into a project for sending them back to their constituencies to run the risk and bear the cost of a new election by untried voters. It
will, therefore, always be easy for the men in possession to persuade their consciences that the public good is opposed to any charge, if no strong demand be made for the particular change in question. Now the compromise which Lord Russell's government offered in the shape of a Reform Bill was not calculated to stir up the enthusiasm of any one. The ardor with which, in the end, it came to be advocated was merely the heat which in men's natures is always generated by a growing controversy and by fierce opposition. The strongest and most effective attack made by the Opposition, that led by Mr. Lowe, was not directed against that particular measure so much as against all measures of reform; against the fundamental principle of a popular suffrage, and indeed of a representative assembly. As soon as the Joubtful men in the House discovered that there was no genuine enthusiasm existing on behalf of the bill its fate became certain. When the more extreme Reformers came to think over the condition of things, and when their spirits were set free from the passion of recentcontroversy, very few of them could have felt any great regret for the defeat of the bill. Those who understood the real feelings of the yet unenfranchised part of the population knew well that some administration would have to introduce a strong measure of reform before long. They were content to wait. The interval of delay proved shorter than they could well have expected.
The defeat of the bill and the resignation of the ministry brought the political career of Lord Russell to a close. He took advantage of the occasion soon after to make a sort of formal announcement that he handed over the task of lead. ing the Liberal party to Mr. Gladstone. He appeared in. deed in public life on several occasions after his resignation of office. He took part sometimes in the debates of the House of Lords; he even once or twice introduced measures there, and endeavored to get them passed. During the
long controversies on the Washington Treaty and the claims of the United States, he took a somewhat prominent part in the discussions of the Peers, and was always listened to with attention and respect. About a year after the fall of his administration he was one of the company at a break. tast given to Mr. Garrison, the Anierican anti-slavery leader in St. James's Hall, and he won much applause there by the frankness and good spirit of his tribute to the memory of President Lincoln, and by his manly acknowledgment of more than one mistake in his former judgments of Lincoln's policy and character. Lord Russell spoke on this occasion with a vigor quite equal to that which he might have displayed some twenty years before; and indeed many of those present telt surprised at his resolve to abandon active public life while he still seemed so well capable of bearing a part in it. Lord Russell's career, however, was practi*cally at an end. It had been a long and an interesting career. It was begun amid splendid chances. Lord John Russell was born in the very purple of politics; he was cradled and nursed among statesmen and orators; the fervid breath of young liberty fanned his boyhood; his tutors, friends, companions, were the master-spirits who rule the fortunes of nations ; he had the ministerial benches for a training.ground, and had a seat in the administration at his disposal when another young man might have been glad of a seat in an opera-box. He must have been brought into more or less intimate association with all the men and women worth knowing in Europe since the early part of the century. He was a pupil of Dugald Stewart at Edin. burgh and he sat as a youth at the feet of Fox. He had accompanied Wellington in some of his Peninsular cam. paigns; he measured swords with Canning and Peel successively through years of parliamentary warfare. He knew Metternich and Talleyrand. He had met the widow of Charles Stuart, the young chevalier, in Florence; and had
conversed with Napoleon in Elba. He knew Cavour and Bismarck. He was now an ally of Daniel O'Connell, and now of Cobden and Bright. He was the close friend of Thomas Moore; he knew Byron, and was one of the few allowed to read the personal memoirs, which were unfortunately destroyed by Byron's friends. Lord John Russell had tastes for literature, for art, for philosophy, for history, for politics, and his æstheticism had the advantage that it made him seek the society and appreciate the worth of men of genius and letters. Thus he never remained a mere politician like Pitt or Palmerston. His public career sug. gests almost as strange a series of contradictions or paradoxes as Macaulay finds in that of Pitt. He who began with a reputation for a heat of temperament worthy of Achilles was for more than half his career regarded as a frigid and bloodless politician. In Ireland he was long known rather as the author of the Ecclesiasical Titles Bill than as the early friend of Catholic emancipation; in England as the parent of petty and abortive Reform Bills, rather than as the promoter of the one great Reform Bill. Abroad and at home he came to be thought of as the minister who disappointed Denmark and abandoned Poland, rather than as the earnest friend and faithful champion of oppressed nationalities. No statesman could be a more sincere and thorough opponent of slavery in all its forms and works; and yet in the mind of the American people Lord Russell's name was for a long time associated with the idea of a scarcely-concealed support of the slave-holders' rebellion, Much of this curious contrast, this seeming inconsistency, is due to the fact that for the greater part of his public life Lord Russell's career was a mere course of see-saw between office and opposition. The sort of superstition that long prevailed in our political affairs limited the higher offices of statesmanship to two or three conventionally acceptable men on either side. If not Sir
Robert Peel, then it must be Lord John Russell ; if it was not Lord Derby, it must be Lord Palmerston. Therefore, if the business of government was to go on at all, a statesman must take office now and then with men whom he could not mould wholly to his purpose, and must act in seeming sympatly with principles and measures which he would himselt have little cared to originate. Lord Palmerston complained humorously in one of his latter letters, that a prime minister could no longer have it all his own way in his cabinet. Men were coming up who had wills and consciences, ideas and abilities of there own, and who would not consent to be the mere clerks of the Prime Minister. Great popular parties too, he might have added, were growing up in the country with powerful leaders, men whose opinions must be taken into account on every subject even though they never were to be in office. It is easy enough to understand how under such conditions the minister who had seemed a daring Reformer to one generation might seem but a chilly compromiser to another. It is easy, too, to understand how the career, which at its opening was illumined by the splendid victory of the Reform Bill of 1832, should have been clouded at its close by the rather ignominious failure of the Reform Bill of 1866. The personal life of Lord Russell was consistent all through. He began as a Reformer; he ended as a Reformer. If the "might-have-beans" were not always a vanity, it would be reasonable as well as natural to regret that it was not given to Lord Russell to complete the work of 1832 by a genuine and successful measure of reform in 1866.