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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:51:53
Typefacelarge in Small
Lord John Russell, who, as an experienced parliamentary leader, had already made more than one effort to extricate the Whigs from the consequences of the hearty support given to the government measures in the other House by Lords Lansdowne and Clanricarde, and even by Lord Grey, ventured to-night even to say that if he should agree that the House would do well to assent to the first reading of this bill, he thought he was bound to state also that in the future stages of it, he should have ‘objections to offer, going to the foundations of some of its principal provisions.’

Any misunderstandings that may have for a moment irritated him seemed forgotten; he appeared conscious that he possessed the confidence and cordial regard of the great majority of the Protectionist party, although he chose to occupy a private post, and he was proud of the consciousness. He was still more sensible of the sympathy which he had created out of doors, which he greatly appreciated, and to which, though with his usual modesty, he more than once recurred. ‘The thing is to get the people out of doors with you,’ he repeated, ‘men like the merchants; all the rest follow.’ It was evident that the success of his colonial committee had greatly satisfied his spirit. He had received that day the vote of thanks of the West-India body for his exertions. He said more than once, that with a weak government, a parliamentary committee properly worked might do wonders. He said he would have a committee on import duties next year, and have all the merchants to show what share the foreigners had obtained of the reductions that had been made of late years. He maintained, that, quite irrespective of the general arrangements of the new commercial system, Sir Robert Peel had thrown away a great revenue on a number of articles of very inferior importance, and he would prove this to the country. He said our colonial empire ought to be reconstructed by a total abolition of all duties on produce from her Majesty’s dominions abroad.

Perhaps, too, in this enlightened age, as his mind expands, and he takes a comprehensive view of this period of progress, the pupil of Moses may ask himself, whether all the princes of the house of David have done so much for the Jews as that prince who was crucified on Calvary. Had it not been for Him, the Jews would have been comparatively unknown, or known only as a high Oriental caste which had lost its country. Has not He made their history the most famous in the world? Has not He hung up their laws in every temple? Has not He vindicated all their wrongs? Has not He avenged the victory of Titus and conquered the Caesars? What successes did they anticipate from their Messiah? The wildest dreams of their rabbis have been far exceeded. Has not Jesus conquered Europe and changed its name into Christendom? All countries that refuse the cross wither, while the whole of the new world is devoted to the Semitic principle and its most glorious offspring the Jewish faith, and the time will come when the vast communities and countless myriads of America and Australia, looking upon Europe as Europe now looks upon Greece, and wondering how so small a space could have achieved such great deeds, will still find music in the songs of Sion and still seek solace in the parables of Galilee.

Notwithstanding these terrible defalcations, when the numbers were announced, at nearly four o’clock in the morning, the majority had not reached those three magical figures supposed necessary, under the circumstances, to success. In a house of five hundred and eighty-one members present, the amendment of the Protectionists was defeated only by ninety-seven; and two hundred and forty-two gentlemen, in spite of desertion, difficulty, and defeat, still maintained the ‘chastity of their honour.’

His eager and energetic disposition; his quick perception, clear judgment, and prompt decision; the tenacity with which he clung to his opinions; his frankness and love of truth; his daring and speculative spirit; his lofty bearing, blended as it was with a simplicity of manner very remarkable; the ardour of his friendships, even the fierceness of his hates and prejudices—all combined to form one of those strong characters who, whatever may be their pursuit, must always direct and lead.

‘O’Connell talks of Parliament meeting in November, to mend the Irish Labour-rate Act. Do you believe this?’

IF WE take a general view of the career of Lord George Bentinck during the last year—from the time indeed when he was trying to find a lawyer to convey his convictions to the House of Commons until the moment when her Majesty prorogued her Parliament, the results will be found to be very remarkable. So much was never done so unexpectedly by any public man in the same space of time. He had rallied a great party which seemed hopelessly routed; he had established a parliamentary discipline, in their ranks which old political connections, led by experienced statesmen, have seldom surpassed; he had brought forward from those ranks, entirely through his discrimination and by his personal encouragement, considerable talents in debate; he had himself proved a master in detail and in argument of all the great questions arising out of the reconstruction of our commercial system; he had made a vindication of the results of the Protective principle as applied to agriculture, which certainly, so far as the materials are concerned, is the most efficient plea that ever was urged in the House of Commons in favour of the abrogated law; he had exhibited similar instances of investigation in considerable statements with respect to the silk trade and other branches of our industry; he had asserted the claims of the productive classes in Ireland, and in our timber and sugar producing colonies, with the effect which results from a thorough acquaintance with a subject; he had promulgated distinct principles with regard to our financial as well as to our commercial system; he had maintained the expediency cf relieving the consumer by the repeal of excise in preference to customs’ duties, and of establishing fiscal reciprocity as a condition of mercantile exchange. On subjects of a more occasional but analogous nature he had shown promptitude and knowledge, as in the instances of the urgent condition of Mexico and of our carrying trade with the Spanish colonies, both of which he brought forward in the last hours of the session, but the importance of which motions was recognized by all parties. Finally, he had attracted the notice, and in many instances obtained the confidence, of large bodies of men in the country, who recognized in him a great capacity of labour combined with firmness of character and honesty of purpose.

Ere the publication of that document, the mortal career of Sir Robert Peel had closed, and indeed several of the circumstances to which we have just alluded did not occur in his administration; but the contrast between his policy and its results was nevertheless scarcely less striking. It was in ‘45 that he transmitted his most important ‘message of peace’ to Ireland, to be followed by an autumnal visit of her Majesty to that kingdom, painted in complacent and prophetic colours by her prime minister. The visit was not made. In the course of that autumn, ten counties of Ireland were in a state of anarchy; and, mainly in that period, there were 136 homicides committed, 138 houses burned, 483 houses attacked, and 138 fired into; there were 544 cases of aggravated assault, and 551 of robbery of arms; there were 89 cases of bands appearing in arms; there were more than 200 cases of administering unlawful oaths; and there were 1,944 cases of sending threatening letters. By the end of the year, the general crime of Ireland had doubled in amount and enormity compared with the preceding year.


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