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with the temper and indeed with the recent history of the English people. It must be further confessed that much of our success, indeed the change of ministry which led to propounding the measure, was owing to his admirable conduct at the General Election. No minister ever abstained so scrupulously from the exercise of undue influence. There was the most uncontrolled freedom of choice everywhere. He nobly threw himself upon the country; and disdained in making his appeal, to have any course pursued which could prevent the most unbiassed answer being given. Perceiving, too, from the returns that the motion for Reform, of which I had given notice, was likely to be carried, he wisely resigned on the day fixed for it, because Sir H. Parnell's resolution had been carried the evening before, justly considering that had a change of ministry been effected upon a vote in favour of Parliamentary Reform, the expectations of the country would have been satisfied with nothing short of Annual Parliaments and Universal Suffrage.
His conduct during the whole of the debates in both sessions upon that measure was exemplary. Opposing it to the utmost of his power, no one could charge him with making the least approach to factious violence, or with ever taking an unfair advantage. His sagacious question, too-"How the King's Government was henceforth to be carried on?"-sunk deep in the minds of many among our stoutest supporters. That some changes of a practical and not unimportant kind must be effected in the newly constituted House of Commons, and some other statutory provisions made respecting the vacating of seats, many of us held to be undeniable. With the entire concurrence of my colleagues, I pledged myself, that if he would allow the second reading of the Bill, safeguards would be favourably considered in the committee. But next year it was too late, and the measure has been greatly
the worse for the omission. Upon two important matters connected with this subject, I have more than once conversed with him. He had formed the opinion, which was my own throughout, that the Bill might have been successfully opposed 1st March, 1831, had Sir Robert Peel at once denounced it as revolution and not reform, and refused leave to bring it in, the majority of the House being with him, and the country not yet stirred up to support it. This was the course which we expected; and on the intelligence reaching us that our adversaries had missed their way, we at once conceived the day to be our own. That was the Duke's opinion also; he admitted that there were men of weight, and representing powerful interests on the Conservative side, who objected peremptorily to this course. But then he saw very plainly that decided conduct on the part of their chiefs would have overpowered, if it did not persuade, their adherents. Again, he always believed that our creation of Peers was a threat, or, as he called it, a "demonstration," and could not be persuaded that we should, if pressed, have recourse to it. Accordingly, when he saw my statement† many years after, of the reluctance with which we contemplated that necessity, and that Lord Grey upon my assertion to this effect being read to him, had declared that I stated it as far as he was concerned, much below the truth, the Duke was greatly delighted, and said, "Then you now confess you were playing a game of brag with me!"-My answer, however, was, that he entirely mistook the thing, for that; the creation was inevitable had it become necessary and certainly when he with his wonted sagacity and honesty counselled the Secession, he showed that he had not so
* One proof of this was immediately afforded. The Attorney-General was kept out of Parliament a whole session, and all the Bills for the amendment of the Law were stopped.
† Political Philosophy, vol. iii. chap. 29, p. 307.
great a confidence in his estimate of our intentions as to run the risk. That he was previously quite prepared to take the Government, putting an end to the Ministerial Interregnum, can admit of no doubt; though this is not stated upon the authority of any communication from himself.
After the Bill had passed, the same absence of all factious feelings marked his conduct. That he had strong political opinions, and believed in the efficacy of party union for giving support and success to his principles, is unquestionable. But as he held those opinions from a sincere conviction that their adoption by the supreme power, the Legislature, was essential to the welfare of the country, so he never could suffer his party bias to come in conflict with that welfare, the securing of which was the great object of all his exertions. What so many other men only profess as their principle of action, he made without any deviation, inflexibly the rule of his conduct, ever making party views yield to the public good, their power of promoting which he considered the only justification of party attachments. A remarkable instance of this occurred the year after the Reform Bill came into operation. By an unaccountable oversight, a Bill was sent up from the Commons, which would have enabled a majority obtained by surprise in that House, to disfranchise any boroughs, if the Lords joined in the resolution. Nothing could have better suited the mere party views of the Duke's supporters than to pass this Bill. He was appealed to, and at once declared that he should join in altering it essentially. He gave me the heads of a plan, and desired my co-operation in rendering it more complete and effectual. We agreed upon the whole measure, after a full consideration; and with the utmost candour he adopted two material changes in his scheme. He had proposed that a committee should be formed of equal numbers from both Houses, to investigate the charge of general cor
ruption brought against any borough; that their report should be as a special verdict, conclusive as finding the facts; and that the legislature should act as it thought fit upon such finding. The changes which I suggested were to give the Commons seven members, the Lords five; and that the whole inquiry should be carried on under a Judge, member of neither House. We carried the measure without difficulty through the Select Committee; it was sent down to the Commons as an amendment of their Bill; but though no one denied how great an improvement had been made, they unavoidably postponed it as being in fact a new Bill.
This plan of the Duke was of general application, and would be the greatest improvement that can well be imagined of our Private Bill legislation. Nor was he at all averse to such an extension of his proposal. When in 1837, I moved the new standing orders, which being now adopted by both Houses, have so materially improved the procedure, it was in concert with him that the Resolutions were brought forward. On our way to the Select Committee, he urged me to try the larger measure, the Joint Committee as proposed three years before; and added, "We can but be defeated, and then we fall back upon the less efficacious plan." Quite certain of his firm and indeed zealous support, Lord Ellenborough too joining us, the attempt was made; but as some of the Committee were averse to almost any change in the existing course of procedure, we were obliged to rest satisfied with the minor plan, which, though a great improvement upon the old system, we felt was a less adequate remedy than might be desired for the evil. If the effectual measure shall ever be adopted, it may truly be said, that to the Duke alone will the gratitude of Parliament and of the Country be due for the greatest (and all things considered, the most daring) practical improvement ever effected in British Legislation.
no one else
It is fit that, in the last place, we consider him as a speaker-a speaker for business, not show-a debater. In this capacity he stands very high indeed. We cannot deny that Julius Cæsar was, in the common acceptation of the term, a greater orator-he of whom it was said, that, had he devoted himself to the Forum, as he intended probably at one time (for he studied under a professional rhetorician at Rhodes), could have been named with Cicero." But he was, in all likelihood, not equal as a debater; and there seems reason to think that Cæsar's eloquence was, in a great degree, artificial and rhetorical, notwithstanding the force ascribed to it.* One observation made upon it by Quinctilian (imitating, by the way, if not parodying, a passage of Livy) seems equally applicable, in part at least, to the Duke, that he made speeches with the same genius with which he made war-the same vigour and the same acumen. We might not add the same vehemence; but, on the other hand, the Roman orator, we may safely affirm, argued less closely, expounded more diffusely, and had not always before his eyes in speaking that elementary proposition, which the Duke never for an instant lost sight of, whether in speech or in action-that the shortest line between two points is a straight line.
It would be difficult to find any one in any assembly who more clearly and concisely brought before
*It is hardly necessary to remark, that we have no remains of his speeches; for the notes he gives of his addresses (conciones) to the soldiers, in his Commentaries, are only the heads, and were written long after; the speech in Sallust, like that of Cato, is plainly the historian's own composition. Sallust's diligence in collecting information upon that famous debate, must have been confined to the topics merely, though Cicero had laid the foundation of reporting, and even of short-hand reporting, on that occasion, by causing the debates on the conspiracy to be thus preserved, as we learn from Plutarch (Cato, c. 23.) But even as to the topics, the Fourth Catalinarian shows how unfaithful Sallust's account of the debate is. Indeed, nothing can be more unfair than his whole treatment of Cicero. Of Cæsar's letters two or three remain, and they are truly admirable.