Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

of promotion must be devised to give in the State-the sacrifices it has made the places of high command to men for the public weal — the service its not in second childhood, or on its noblest sons have rendered the past verge, and we have a rough, but per- and present generations,—the fruitlesshaps a suggestive, sketch of things to ness of any oligarchic effort to tread be done at once if we really desire to down liberty in these countries-and, remedy the past. The history of the knowing this, however it may censure engineer to whose energy the obstinate particular statesmen and coteries for defence of Sebastopol is due, may be their Cabinets of consanguinity, has taken as in point. At the commence- no desire to exclude the aristocracy ment of the struggle he was a junior from the general competition for hoofficer. When Menschikoff asked how nours in the senate, the council, and long it would take to put the town and the field. its protective batteries in a state of The demand for administrative redefence, the commandant named two form, in its widest significancy, means months. “I will accomplish it in two that all offices, from the treasury-bench. weeks," said Todleben. He was at es to the village post-office, should be once entrusted with the task, and we determined by merit. Favour, and need not say how he has verified his sometimes a worse principle, guides estimate of bimself. He is compara- patronage now.

Situations are given tively young-he is bold, active, ear- for political service rendered or exnest, and fitted for his duty. At pected, to satisfy friends, to gratify seventy, or sixty-five, the same man associates in party efforts, often to will, it' he live, be as unsuited for such appease dunning creditors, to procure a labour as Lord Aberdeen, or any the loan of money, or for that singular other venerable sexagenarian, whose quid pro quo modestly styled in adver. love of war has mellowed in the pro- tisements a douceur. All this is evil; gress of years to a “general love of but how is it to be cured? There's the all."

rub. Competitive examinations have But our Civil Administration is also been suggested, and ought to be rein need of revisal. To this all eyes cognised as one means of determinare now turned. The meeting lately ing between applicants; but only in held in the London Tavern inaugurated a certain class of cases can they avail. a movement, we incline to think, of no As they form, in fact, the only test of small importance, which will not rise merit within our reach, and can, after and perish, mushroom-like, in an hour. all, accomplish very little, it bas It will go forward—whether under the been urged, that to fill vacancies with form it has now given to it, or not, strict regard to fitness will never be matters little. It is founded in justice, attained. The hope is considered good in experience, in knowledge of results, enough, but utopian. Yet not so much and in the convictions of all classes as may seem at first. The mere venand parties. Men the most opposite tilation the matter has now received in political creed have joined hands will act well, by leavening the public under its banner, and vowed fealty to mind, so that any grossly unsuitable a common cause in which their diffe.

or corrupt appointment made in future rences are not included. The voice of will bring tenfold disgrace on the this agitation has reached the House of guilty dispensers of patronage. Peers and the Throne in an unprece- this way, the more obvious cases of dentedly short period. In the history malappointment will be exposed and of political agitations there is nothing remedied. But a great deal has yet like it. The Anti-Corn Law League to be done so to educate the puboffers no parallel. “ Administrative lic mind, especially in Ireland, that Reform" is the watchword of no party, we may be prepared to prefer a new and yet it has a potency to which the and better plan to the old and worse haughtiest of our rulers must bow. one. We have been ourselves great At first, it was feared that the ultra- sinners in this matter of patronage. democratic section of its supporters We have required our unfortunate remight succeed in making it an anti- presentatives to hold themselves and aristocratic shibboleth; but that fear their votes in trust for our younger has been dispelled. The common sense sons, nephews, cousins, and relations of the country sees the importance of to the fifth degree. We lately had the place occupied by the highest class the case brought under public atten

[ocr errors]

tion, in which a keen-witted Whig, and scandalous manner in which Lord quondam member of the “Irish Inde. Palmerston formed bis Government. pendent" party — by which egotistic The Whigs are proverbially a Family distinction they style themselves-gave Party. They came into power in a away, or procured for, his constituents, batch, and at their every accession the above one hundred situations in the names only were changed, as if they eustoms, coasts - guard, constabulary, had been put into a bag and shaken revenue police - in every grade from out for their places. Yet, if any man the distinguished castle-clerk to the was bound by the peculiar circumstanpetty village post - wife. The same ces of the time to break through this clever and successful aspirant to the often-complained-of abuse, it was Lord ermine is, we happen to know, as busy Palmerston. He took office to reformin his promises and efforts now as then, and so he began; he took office to the declamation of Mr. Morley and place "practical ability” in the room his confreres notwithstanding: Nei. of ignorance and feebleness, and in ther the sledge-hammer of Mr. Layard, face of a demand that new blood should por the polished oratory of Lord Ellen- be added to the cabinets which rule borough, has inspired him and his us, he named on his Ministry a more genus with fear.

To abolish this closely interconnected coterie, perabuse of patronage two things must haps, than ever occupied the Treasurybe effected: the people must be in- benches. If, therefore, he has raised structed to look less to “Government a nest of hornets about his ears, no situations," which are too much regard- one but himself is to blame. The ed as the elysium of idleness and sure country would have sustained him pay—and more to personal effort in through good report and bad report trading enterprise and the exercise of in taking an opposite course; but be unfettered intelligence. In England lacked the moral courage necessary to and Scotland there is not so great a

throw off his friends, or was so tramdesire for “ appointments" as here, for melled that he had lost freedom of aca berth of £80 or £100 per annum, tion. We see the result. with the certainty (be it) of an increase We revert to the men.

comin twenty years to £800 or £1,000, is ing man" ever disappointed the public not very tempting to the young man more than the noble viscount. His of energy, whose father, or brother, or ready eloquence, his keensightedness, uncle, or neighbour-as a herring-mer- his vigour as foreign secretary for chant, or manufacturer of spool-thread, years, his reputation for thorough or potato-dealer, or softgoods-man - political honesty, and his boldness has amassed £20,000 or £30,000 in in following out his convictions, inthat time, and is about to retire a duced all to point him out as PreCræsus. Less value will be set upon mier some time ago. He accepted Government situations, even in Ire- the post, fully informed of the great land, in a few years, as our trade things expected of him. We are not improves, and the country finds itself unreasonable in affirming, that he has side by side with its leviathan sister in done little more than nothing. So soon the career of manufacturing and mer- as his budget of reform was opened, cantile prosperity. To cure the pre- in his first speech, it appeared that the sent evil, also, the individual member mountain had produced a mouse. Το of parliament or the Cabinet convicted cure the evils existing in the Crimea, of bartering posts in her Majesty's and to prosecute the war with vigour, service for hard cash, or political more was wanting than sanitary compurposes, or any unwarrantable end, missioners, good though they be, and must be visited with contempt, and, a new governor at Balaklava, in the perhaps, penalty. These two things room of the Admiral, who has been accomplished, we shall bear less of named, in memory of his late career, abuses in our civil administration, and Old Chaos. Something more satisfacshall find more “practical ability" tory was effected at a later period, in in the management of our national the raising of a Turkish contingent, affairs.

officered by Indian leaders; but still We may here, parenthetically, add, Lord Palmerston has accomplished less that the present agitation for reform, -far less-than he might. He is now although it has been growing for above without the means to go forward. Mo. iwo years, was precipitated by the ney enough he has — nearly ninety

No 6

millions have been furnished his Finance tions. The discussion which took place Minister, the product of an objection- on the motion of the noble earl was inable loan, still more objectionable du- structive in several points of view. His ties on articles of consumption, and an object was excellent. The public voice increased income-tax.

But in many

asserts that place under Government is other things he comes short. Delay has secured by family interest and corrupt occurred in sending out troops; misma.

influences ; that merit is wholly exnagement has been apparent in pre- cluded, and that hence have arisen paring unarchitectural, and some even many of our recent disasters.

“ You say useless, machines as gunboats for the cannot fairly charge us with the same Baltic ; by a blunder, the Militia bas sin in this respect as the present Cabeen all but disbanded in many places : binet," say the Conservative leaders. add to all this, the exceedinglý flippant “We refer you to the programme of and unbecoming tone of banter in- measures we brought forward shortly dulged in by the

Premier in answering previous to the factious vote which disquestions respecting the war, and we missed us from office in 1852. Among find many of the causes of that general them will be found, and in a prominent dissatisfaction and unpopularity the position, Administrative Reform.” On Government bave recklessly brought à retrospect of the parliamentary proupon themselves. But, more than ceedings of that period, we find Mr. their positive errors, in what they have Disraeli announcing the intention of his done badly, are they to be blamed for government immediately to deal with not undertaking their proper task of that subject. Then it was scarcely remodelling the military departments, before the country in such a manner as and putting the system of government to necessitate that promptitude. The on a better footing. They were de- forwardness of Lord Derby and his fol. manded to advance, but retrograded. lowers to take up the matter

to be It is obvious neither Lord Palmerston mentioned to their credit, and should nor his followers are the men for the not be forgotten at the present moment. time.

The Conservative leader can further We want an honest and firm Go- point to the principle on which his Cavernment, ready to carry on the war binet was formed, as indicative of his with energy, avoiding the tricks of honest desire to place “practical abi. diplomacy, which have been all ex- lity" before rank, before a name where posed, and preferring a peace earned there was nothing more. He intro. by victory to tarrying at the door of duced new men, and so broke the moFrancis Joseph's palace, or elsewhere. nopoly of office before enjoyed by the We want a Ministry prepared to re- Whigs. When Lords Aberdeen and form abuses, to raise the military cha- Palmerston came into power, however, racter of the country, to recover that policy was reversed, and especially the ground we have lost. We want in by the latter, who was the more strongly the premiership a leader having the bound to carry it out. " I have given nation at his back, and a compact party you proof,” said Lord Derby, in subto sustain him ; we want in the war. stance, while speaking in the Ellen. office a man of experience in the con- borough debate, " that I am in favour ducting of war, of vigour of mind, of of reform; and the step we now take in independent force of character, and supporting the present motion, has comprehensive genius. Such a states- mainly for its object to show the counman has been pointed out in Lord try that at least on one side of the Ellenborough. His late efforts towards house are statesmen to be found ready the more active and efficient conduct to accede to the justness of the popular of the war seem to mark him the suc- wishes, and head the new movement in cessor of Lord Panmure. We have the legislature.” In this aspect pregreat trust in the high honour, the fine cisely was Lord Ellenborough's effort to chivalric spirit, and thoroughly British to be regarded, and herein lay its imfeeling which animate him and his po- portance. Though defeated on a di. litical chief.

vision, it accomplished its greater purIf the views we have enunciated in pose, in separating the party favourable the previous paragraph needed further to departmental reform from the coterie proof from any late occurrence, we which would still retain everything might refer to the debate some time within the narrow circle of a few fa. since on Lord Ellenborough's resolu. milies.

If we ask why Lord Ellenborough's before the Lords. What practical obmotion failed to secure the approval of ject could he have in treading over once a majority among the peers, the an. more the beaten tracks of last year, and swers must be various. Had the Con. mapping out a new campaign? We servative proxies been used, the minis- can see nope. Lord Ellenborough has terial majority would have been very been occupied with military affairs, considerably reduced; but still the and may be competent to conduct a mover would be far from the point of great war. We have a large confi. triumph. First of all, we find a reason dence in the man whose independent of this in the hereditary apathy which force of character was made the sub. surrounds the Whigs in the upper ject of eulogy by one so sparing of house. There is much more than wit in praise, and so severely critical in his the Punch parodist's version of the judgments, as the late Duke of WelSeven Ages, where be describes the last lington ; and we are not about to scene of their eventful history as a seat argue that the plan of committing in that august assembly, when second the war in the Principalities to Brichildishness, produced more by depress- tish troops, and that of Asia to our ing political associations than by age, allies - the Crimea meanwhile being has rendered noble lords slow to move left in repose -- as sketched by Lord with the necessities of the times. Ellenborough, would have been worse

A third reason for the defeat of the or better than the course adopted. Ellenborough and other similar resolu- We believe the fault of our failure was tions is the fear pervading many minds not that we struck at the wrong place. that the Conservatives could not form No. We held our weapon at the a ministry in the event of the resignation heart of the monster, and, defended of Lord Palmerston. This we believe though it was by a triple mail, we to be a delusion. Lord Derby did not might have reached it, and freed fail on a late occasion. He found it Turkey from her “perpetual menace" then impracticable to unite the parties -had we struck home in the

proper be considered necessary to a stable and way, with the proper vigour, at the proefficient government, in the present con- per time. But whether this be so or not dition of the House of Commons. He - whether we ought rather have gone was opposed by the Peelites, between to the Pruth, or advanced with Schawhom and a genuine Conservative there myl, in Georgia—had no practical conis, as it were, a gulf fixed; he was nexion with the present question of adcheated by Lord Palmerston, who, to ministrative reform, which Lord Elsecure undisputed possession of the lenborough pledged himself to bring goal of his long ambition, rid himself before the House. No doubt his oraof Lord Derby, and then of the dear tion concluded with an important and trio, without whose aid he at first de. vigorous reference to that subject, but clared he could not accept office. But its weight was lost by the opportunity things are changed much, even within his speculations on the campaign of four months; and so disgusted are the last year gave the Ministry for turning people of every party with the “small- him into quiet ridicule. He ought raness” of the men now in power, that ther bave assailed the Palmerston Gothey are ready to force their represen- vernment, sifting their doings, expostatives to give a fair trial to any cabinet ing their misdoings, making the counwhich shall come forward with boldness try fully aware of their mistakes in diand determination to apply strong re- plomacy and in war, bringing home to medies to our national diseases, and them, so that the charges could neither we firmly believe that, even without a be denied nor repelled, their hesitations, dissolution, the Conservatives, by lay- and vacillations, and general incapaing aside their peculiar party questions, city. Had he taken this course, his and throwing their whole energy into address would not have been liable to the war, would command the suffrages the reproach of being pointless. It of the country, which, in the existing must be here remembered, however, position of affairs, would be to com- that in alluding to the reforms necesmand the House.

sary in almost every department, the But yet another cause of Lord Ellen- speaker could not refer to particular borough's failure, we are ready to con- men, saying this individual is incomfess, is to be found in the manner of petent, or that received his post by a his advocacy of the motion he brought corrupt intrigue. It is difficult to

or

get at the bottom of these matters—it mentable scarcity of it at present! In is all but impossible to ferret out the what aspect, then, did the Ministry whole of the facts of such cases. But place themselves before the country because no personal accusations were during the discussion to which we al. made, is the general statement the less lude? Simply as anti-reformers, contrue? Nay, verily. We had an ex- tent with things as they are! If this ample of the difficulty of finding re- give satisfaction, then is public courage liable evidence in these matters in the and determination at a sad discount. unfortunate blunderings of Mr. Layard One more example of the imbecility lately; but thinks any man that Lay- of the Ministry, to which Lord Ellenard is on the wrong tack? It is no- borough and others have recently ditorious that the Whigs have dispensed rected attention, is their conduct with their patronage unscrupulously. They regard to Russian trade. We block. have done so in Ireland — they have aded the Baltic last year at vast done so in England - they have done expense; and although Sir Charles so invariably. They rule by patronage Napier accomplished nothing against as well as, or more than, by measures. the enemy, save the comparatively triAnd, independently of their sins, is it fling capture of Bomarsund, we would not a fact undeniable, that the public not grumble had that blockade been offices are in disorder ? If not, why effectual in shutting in the trade of the present agitation for reforin ? the foe. But, what is the fact? Rus

One thing, however, is to be ob- sia has made the territory of the trai. served, before leaving Lord Ellen- torous Prussian king a highway for borough's motion- to which we mainly her commerce, driven from the sea, allude as the first of a series of efforts and has experienced but a very small identical in character and object. loss, notwithstanding our cordon of The defence of the Government did ships across the Gulf of Finland. At not contribute to its defeat. Not the present moment the overland carin the least. What was the worth rying trade is organised with the utof Lord Panmure's assurances, most care, under the especial superviof Lord Granville's ? Nothing. Did sion of the Muscovite Government ; they point to anything their Cabinet and ammunition and supplies pass had accomplished, or did they even along Prussian tracks to the head-quarmake a definite promise for the fu- ters of the enemy's army, from which ture? We give them all the credit roads radiate to the southern peninjustly accruing to them for the im- sula, constantly crowded with vehicles. proved state of the army in the Crimea ; Repeatedly have the late and the prebut that success is only a poor com- sent Governments been urged to repensation for all they have neglected. monstrate against this breach of neuThey have attempted but one of the trality on the part of Prussia, which required reforms in the military de- almost amounts to hostility ; but, only partments. They have not encou. the other day a motion having such raged the efforts of independent mem- an object, and ably advocated, was bers to introduce further ameliorations. rejected. It would seem that our On the contrary, during the Ellenbo- purpose is to make war so as to in. rough debate, Lords Panmure and jure the enemy as little as may be, at Granville cast ridicule on the demand the greatest possible expense to ourfor change of systems and men as a selves. This leniency in reference to popular delasion. The latter peer was Prussian double-dealing has been one witty in showing the greatness of his of the chief errors of our whole warclaims to hereditary statesmanship; policy. and both contemned - plainly and po.

What Lord Ellenborough attempted sitively contemned, and set at nought in the Lords Mr. Disraeli has repeated

the declared necessity for placing in the Commons, with the same result. the “right men in the right places. The observations we have applied to What will the country say to the de- the first debate on administrative reclaration of Lord Palmerston, in his form fit the others. The Derby Chandefence made previous to the Ellen. cellor of the Exchequer by his defeated borough discussion, that he could not motion secured the important triumph procure practical talent for the admi. for his party of placing them before nistrative departments of his Govern- the country as not only the favourers, ment - that, in fact, there was a la- but the originators, of a comprehen

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »