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County Council, a body which has had the unique distinction of furnishing a Prime Minister to the late administration and two members to the cabinet of Lord Salisbury.
Mr. Goschen, after having served as Chancellor of the Exchequer, has been sent back to the Admiralty. He was Mr. Gladstone's First Lord from 1871 to 1874, and he has ever since taken a keen interest in all that relates to the welfare of our first line of defense. The Admiralty is one of those departments in which the principle of continuity is very rigor. ously applied. It is, therefore, a position eminently fitted to be occupied by that administrator who unites Liberal traditions with Conservative confidence.
SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH.
Sir Michael Hicks-Beach is one of the all-round administrators who has been tried in almost every office, and who has succeeded fairly well in everything he has put his hand to. The failure of his eyesight in 1887 removed him from the Irish Office at a critical time, which would have subjected his capacity to a severer test than any to which he had previously been exposed. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer in the first Salisbury administration, and leader of the House of Commons. As such he was the particular object of Lord Randolph's somewhat unscrupulous animosity. At the close of the second Salisbury administration he acted as president of the Board of Trade. In the new Government he appears as its Chancellor of the Exchequer. He took a leading part in opposing the Welsh Disestablishment bill, for, like almost all his colleagues, Sir Michael HicksBeach is a stout churchman. Sir Michael, although a most typical country gentleman, sits for one of the divisions of the city of Bristol. In returning
thanks for his re-election on July 1, he made a declaration which seems likely to be the keynote, or at least one of the keynotes, of the Conservative appeal to the country. Agriculture, he said, was after all the greatest interest of England.
and Mr. Akers -Douglas, who, after serving his apprenticeship as Conservative whip, now receives cabinet rank as First Commisioners of Works. Mr. Akers-Douglas is well known to all Conservative members. He sits for a county seat in Kent, and was as little dreamed of as First Commissioner of Works as Mr. Arnold Morley was dreamed of as Postmaster-General when he was appointed to that office in 1892. It is becoming a tradition to make cabinet Ministers out of whips, but the experience of the Liberals has hardly been so good in this respect as to encourage imitation by the Conservatives. Mr. Walter Long, who succeeds Mr. Herbert Gardner as president of the Board of Agriculture, has had some experience heretofore in a strictly subordinate position. His presence in the cabinet is one more indication, if such were wanted, of the intentions of Lord Salisbury in connection with the relief of the landed interest.
The Under Secretaryship for Foreign Affairs has been conferred upon Mr. Curzon. Mr. Curzon is a superior person, of superior parts, whose superiority is so transcendent that it shines from every pore of his skin and makes itself felt in every line which he writes. It is therefore a good thing that he has to take an inferior position, and instead of posing as a kind of territorial providence gifted with infallibility and omniscience, has to do with the Marquis of Salisbury, a statesman of far too wide an experience and knowledge of the world to tolerate many heroics on the part of a subordinate.
The Chief Secretaryship for Ireland has been bestowed upon Mr. Gerald Balfour, a faith in heredity being as deeply rooted in the mind of Lord Salisbury as it is in that of General Booth.
I. THE LIBERAL PLEVNA.
HE record of the Rosebery administration, and
of the Gladstonian administration which preceded it, is best understood by a reference to recent history. When the Russians crossed the Danube to liberate Bulgaria they underestimated the force which the Turks could oppose to their advance. At first it seemed as if they were carrying all before them. General Gourko marched across the Balkans, occupying the Shipka Pass, and making repeated raids toward Adrianople. But a very short time elapsed before the brilliant promise of the opening campaign vanished. The natural strength of the Turkish defense was unveiled, and the Russian army reeled back shattered and broken from the improvised earthworks of Plevna. The Czar changed his general without any practical result. Again the Russian army of liberation dashed itself to pieces
against the Turkish forces. Not all the prodigies of valor performed by General Skobeleff's soldiers, nor the heroic readiness to die of the Russian troops, could avail against the strength of the Ottoman position, defended as it was by the army of Osman Pasha.
THE THIRD ASSAULT.
It was not until the Imperial Guard was hurried up from St. Petersburg and the Roumanian army brought into line that the Russians were enabled to put sufficient troops into the field to capture Plevna and carry the Russian standard in triumph to the walls of Constantinople. There we have in brief a foreshadowing of the history of the last three years and the proph ecy of that which is still to come. The rejection of the Home Rule bill and the retirement of Mr. Gladstone corresponds to the first assault on Plevna; the defeat and resignation of Lord Rosebery corresponds to the second abortive attempt of the Russians to capture that famous stronghold. The forces of resistance have outnumbered and defeated the forces massed for attack. The Liberal leaders, like the Czar's generals, are powerless until reinforced. All that leaders could do with the forces at their disposal they have done, but the Union< ist Plevna was too strong.
HEROIC FORCES FOR HEROIC DEEDS.
The whole failure of the GladstoneRosebery administrations is attributable to the same cause that brought about the Russian defeat at Plevna. They attempted to carry out their task with inadequate forces. As one of the late Ministers remarked to me the other day, "It is of no use attempting heroic legislation unless you have a heroic majority. To carry Home Rule, or to carry out all the other items of the Newcastle programme, demands much heavier battalions than the feeble forces at our command." That explains all, excuses all. The criticisms which have been hurled against Liberal chiefs assume that a party can do with a majority falling from forty to twenty what other administrations have been able to do with a majority of one hundred and twenty. Had Mr. Gladstone or Lord Rosebery possessed a three-figure majority they would, indeed, have been open to scathing criticism if they had no better results to show than those which they have now to present the country. But such criticism is
manifestly absurd. In estimating the achievements of a general, the first thing to do is to estimate the forces at his disposal. An army that has not a siege train, and whose numbers barely exceed those of the garrison of a formidable fortress, is foredoomed to certain failure if it delivers an assault. Mr. Gladstone and Lord Rosebery were in the position of generals who were compelled to make an assault, although no practical breach had been made in the walls, and although the forces which they could lead into action were barely sufficient to overpower the defenders of the Union if they met in open field. Unfortunately for the Liberals, the Unionists fought from behind earthworks, and as a result they were beaten back, crushed and discouraged, but undismayed. Like the Russians, they must wait for reinforcements from the north, and like them also they must wait until they can depend more completely upon the support of their allies.
II. WHERE THE LIBERALS FAILED, AND WHY.
The Newcastle programme consists of twenty-four items, and to carry it into effect Mr. Gladstone had a majority of forty, or little more than one and a half per item. Now the Newcastle programme, with its many demands for more or less organic changes in the British constitution, was not a holiday task to be undertaken by an octogenarian with an unreliable majority of forty. Indeed, when the Parnellites voted with the Opposition, as it has been their habit lately to do, they reduced the Ministerial majority to twenty-four. The Liberals therefore had a majority of twenty-four to carry the twenty-four articles of the Newcastle programme, or one member per item. No wonder, then, that they failed. Mr. Gladstone undertook the attack with the dashing valor of the Light Brigade at Balaclava, but, although magnificent, it was not war. He had no option but to attack; the Irish wing of his army would else have mutinied in the trenches; but, nevertheless, there was not a man in the House who did not know that the Liberal legions were marching foredoomed to defeat. It is no condemnation of the strategy of the Liberal leaders that they were defeated; it is sometimes necessary for an army to beat its head against a stone wall as a preliminary to the commencement of regular siege operations.
day will and must, will be due to the recognition of the British public that Home Rule, instead of being the flinging away of a burden too troublesome to be borne, is really the recognition of the fact that in the interests of the expansion and the unity of the Empire it is necessary to restore to the one country which is always discontented the wholesome régime of responsible local self government which has worked such marvels in every other English speaking land.
THE CURSE OF IRISH DISUNION.
The second difficulty lay in Ireland. will never concede Home Rule to a disunited Ireland. So long as the Nationalist party, the Independents, the McCarthyites, the Healyites, and various other Irish factions are more diligent in pursuing their own internecine feuds than in working for Ireland, so long is it vain to dream of securing in the three kingdoms an adequate majority in favor of Home Rule. The disastrous influence of the Irish split dried up American subscriptions, and still continues to deprive the Irish national exchequer of revenue from its most fruitful gathering ground. "Not a dollar until you have united," is the word which the American-Irish have again and again sent from New York and Chicago to Cork and Dublin, and they have been as good as their word. That, however, was a small thing. Much more serious was the indirect effect of the furious wrangling which went on in Ireland during the election of 1892. All this might have been averted if the statesmanlike counsels of the Archbishop of Dublin and of Mr. John Dillon had been accepted. Mr. Dillon proposed that the Independents or Parnellites should have the undisputed possession of twelve or fourteen seats where they were strongest, on the condition that they would abstain from opposing the Nationalist candidates in other constituencies.
Had this been carried out Ireland would have presented to the English public the spectacle of a united nation, demanding without a dissentient voice, save in the extreme northeast corner of Ulster, the concession of Home Rule. This would have been the first gain, but it would not have been the only one. The conclusion of this concordat between the two parties would have liberated for electoral action in England the whole of the fighting force of the Irish Home Rule members. Many elections in England were decided by a small majority, and had Liberals been in a position to count upon the active assistance on the platform of the eloquent Irishmen plead ing for the rights of their country, no one can say how much better the results might not have been for Mr. Gladstone and his cause. Unfortunately the well-meant overtures of Mr. Dillon were wrecked by Mr. Healy, who has indeed been anything but a force which makes for peace in all these sad disputes. But for Mr. Healy, and the rancor with which he pursues his aims, the split might now have been on a fair way to being healed. But Mr. Healy has been
irreconcilably opposed to every effort which is made to unite the Nationalist party. Experience is never worth aught until it has been dearly bought, and it seems likely that in the long period of Unionist domination under which Ireland is once more thrust the Irish factions may learn that the first condition of the repeal of the Union is union among themselves.
The Liberal party will still put Home Rule on the forefront of its programme, but with this understanding: that no Home Rule bill will be introduced into the House of Commons by a Liberal Ministry until the Irish have healed their dissensions, and so enabled the Liberal leaders to present to the English and Scotch constituencies the spectacle of a united nation demanding the privileges and the responsi bilities of local self-government.
III. WHERE THEY SUCCEEDED, AND HOW.
It is well to face these facts frankly and recognize them without flinching, for they constitute the key to the failure which has attended the well-meant efforts of Mr. Gladstone and Lord Rosebery. Talking to one of the foremost Irish leaders after the fatal Friday, I was delighted to find that he took the philosophic and practical view that Home Rule was practically laid on the shelf until Home Rulers agreed at home. Prospect of agreement, however, he admitted frankly, there was none until they had tasted adversity and had learned the bitter lesson of the consequences which follow indulgence in the costly luxury of internecine feuds. When I was in Ireland the other day Archbishop Croke told me a story which reads like a parable. "When I was a boy," said this excellent prelate, "there was always a great deal of faction fighting going on at fairs and at markets. The two-year-olds and the three-yearolds would come together, the blackthorns would be going, and every one be intent upon breaking his neighbor's head. But the moment the police appeared the two factions forgot their quarrels and joined as brothers to attack the police. What the police did for the factions may be accomplished by the ale of the Coercionists.
In the opinion of those best qualified to judge, both lay and ecclesiastical, in Ireland at the present moment, there is no chance of Mr. Healy consenting to any arrangement with Mr. Redmond. But as long as they keep on fighting there will be no American money to handle and no English party ready to do their bidding. I am making no complaint of the grea: body of Irish members. They have behaved with a loyalty that leaves nothing to be desired, and with a discipline which commands our admiration and even excites our envy. Yet it is monstrous to allow a mere handful of eight or nine members to paralyze a nation. The Parnellites are few in number, but they are like the Liberal Unionists, and represent a force which is certain to be recognized far in excess of its numerical strength when the Irish
cabinet is formed. The recent election in Cork, indeed, would seem to indicate that even from the point of view of numbers the Independents are by no means as insignificant as Mr. Healy and his friends persist in asserting.
LORD ROSEBERY'S TASK.
With these fundamental facts firmly fixed in our minds it is possible to arrive at a more just judg ment of the qualities displayed by Lord Rosebery in his brief administration than would otherwise be
possible. Lord Rosebery had two things to do. He had to remove from the mind of the English electorate the suspicion that they were being coerced into conceding Home Rule as a confession of weakness, instead of being inspired by a desire to make their empire greater and stronger yet by conceding Home Rule to their Irish brothers. The first and most necessary part of this operation was to efface the Little Englanders, and to clear the character of the Liberal party once for all of the taint which had clung to it ever since the days of Cobden. This, it must be admitted even by his worst enemies, he has accomplished with a success far transcending the utmost hopes. He has committed the whole of the Liberal party to a policy of Imperialism in its widest and most rational sense. He has taught the country that the Liberals are no longer oppressed by that craven fear of being great which so long distinguished a section of the Liberal party, and he has made it abundantly clear that he advocates Home Rule, not in order to make a great empire a little one, but in order to enable that empire the more adequately to utilize the opportunities of expansion, which are only possible to the united peoples of a contented empire.
THE PREDOMINANT PARTNER.
His effacement of the Little Englanders was much more successful than his effort to reconcile Great Britain to Irish Home Rule, which he essayed, somewhat precipitately, at a very early period in his administration. His famous utterance concerning the conversion of the predominant partner contained not only an unmistakable truth, which, however indiscreetly it might have been launched at that moment, was directly intended to remove the invincible repugnance with which an Englishman regards any attempt to coerce or jockey him into any policy, even one of which, on its merits, he might not disapprove. There have been many interpretations of the phrase "predominant partner," but now every one is of the same opinion. The predominant partner will have to be converted to a much greater extent than he has been already before Home Rule can be considered to have come within the pale of prac tical politics. This is not a fact of Lord Rosebery's invention; it arises from the nature of the British Constitution. The House of Lords is master of the situation as long as there is not an adequate majority in the House of Commons. A three-figured majority in the House of Commons was necessary to disestab