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War, and finally the pledge of Lord Palmerston, who never appreciated the new force which had burst upon his old age and Europe in the person of Bismarck, to oppose armed intervention in case Denmark were attacked. On all three of these momentous subjects Lord Granville led the opposition in the Cabinet. On the first he was in confidential correspondence with the Queen and the Prince Consort, and then intermediary with the Cabinet. The details of the disputes are no longer of much interest, except so far as they raise a belated constitutional question. It is amusing to find that Lord Granville in his character of mediator urges on the Prince Consort that the Queen should show as much kindness as possible to Lord Palmerston, and appear to communicate frankly with Lord John. Notwithstanding this it seems that "Pam" was "much perturbed by the Queen objecting to all John Russell's drafts, and by her considering all advice as intervention." Lord John was described as in a state of great indignation, saying that we might as well live under a despotism. The final upshot was that it all ended very well. "Johnny has had a lesson that the Cabinet will support the Queen in preventing him and Pam acting on important occasions without the advice of their colleagues. A schism very dangerous to the Court and to the Government has been postponed." It was 1851 over again, except that the "ancient masters were united
instead of vehemently opposed, and were supported by Gladstone. They were all three enthusiastic in the cause of Italian freedom and unity. The Queen, the Prince, and their colleagues were apprehensive that a widening of the area of disturbance in Italy and a further alteration of boundaries might bring Germany into the field, and thereby justify a French attack on the Rhine frontier. The "ancient masters" resolved to ignore this danger, and events proved that they were right; but Lord Granville was not alone in distrusting the intimate alliance between them which had replaced former disunion. the American question he was in favour of watching events, and discouraged the proposal to mediate between North and South, and in the event of refusal to recognise the Confederates. A Cabinet was called to consider the question. Lord Granville wrote to Lord Stanley of Alderley: "I have written to Johnny my reasons for thinking it decidedly premature. I, however, suspect you will settle to do so! Pam, Johnny, and Gladstone would be in favour of it; and probably Newcastle. I do not know about the others." Fortunately the majority of the Cabinet decided otherwise, with the support of the Queen, who "had an instinctive dread of war and all foreign complications likely to result in war." But it appears that the risk we ran of a contrary decision was, in Lord Granville's opinion (and he had the best opportunities of judging), greater or
more appreciable than we have hitherto believed.
With regard to intervention in favour of Denmark, which was rashly threatened by Lord Palmerston in the House of Commons, the Queen insisted in her letters to Lord Granville that the only chance of preserving peace for Europe is by not assisting Denmark. "Denmark," she declared, "is after all of less vital importance than the peace of Europe, and it would be madness to set the whole continent on fire for the imaginary advantages of maintaining the integrity of Denmark." After a touching reference to her shattered nerves and terrible position, she relied on the support of the Cabinet, evidently as against the two "ancient masters," and was assured by Lord Granville that the advocates of peace meant to make themselves heard. It is a curious instance of the Sovereign being reduced to manipulate the Cabinet. The Queen has been proved by events to have been right in her view, and Lord Granville was the exponent of her policy in the Cabinet. But the incident was one of dire internal confusion, and could only arise where Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary had all the authority and also the failing faculties which follow age and long service. Lord Granville's resistance to war was eventually aided by Lord Clarendon, who at this time was readmitted to the Cabinet. Mr Gladstone also gave great satisfaction by throwing his influence into the scale against adventurous policy, and
France refused all intervention which should be merely for the purpose of saving Denmark from dismemberment. Queen throughout this anxious period trusted "to Lord Granville's doing all he can to prevent momentary difficulty and excitement being allowed to outweigh the real momentous interests which are at stake. If we take any hasty and imprudent step it may ruin us." The biographer, in disregard of international circumstances tending in the same direction, sums up the transactions by saying that it was owing to the determined stand made by the Queen against her two principal Ministers that war was avoided. "In this stand Lord Granville was her main stay in the Cabinet. On him the Queen relied, and, as this narrative will have shown, she did not rely in vain." The whole episode shows that the Sovereign of this country possesses considerable power, if only it is exercised with discretion.
Lord Russell succeeded Lord Palmerston as Premier, and of course superseded Lord Granville in the leadership of the House of Lords, a post which he resumed in December 1868 when Mr Gladstone formed his first Ministry. In 1870, on the death of Lord Clarendon, he again became Foreign Secretary, and held that critical office during the Franco- German war and the proceedings of the Geneva arbitration. He had the task of piloting Mr Gladstone's extensive legislation of that period through the House of Lords. At its close
there is no indication in this Aberdeen Cabinet reproduced, book that the sudden dissolution of 1874 was due, as Lord Selborne said, to Mr Gladstone's unwillingness to incur the penalties for not having vacated his seat on taking the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer. According to Lord Granville, Gladstone said, "Our only chance is a financial success." Very probably Mr Gladstone had resolved on a dissolution at the time of taking the second office, and thought it unnecessary to be re-elected to a Parliament in which he would have no opportunity of sitting. After the verdict had gone against him he insisted on resigning his leadership into the hands of Lord Granville, Bright, and no doubt many others of the party, complaining "that the sudden dissolution was so much his own act," that he ought to have accepted the result and stood by and with his party. In less than two years the hermit of Hawarden reappeared as an active politician. We find in this book ample and authentic evidence of the extreme embarrassment caused to Lord Hartington as his successor by this proceeding. As the drama of the Eastern Question deepened, and Lord Beaconsfield was successfully combating the designs of Russia with the aid of determined support from all classes in the country, Lord Granville was principally occupied in preventing an open rupture in the party between the followers of Mr Gladstone and the followers of Lord Hartington. It was the discord of the
with far less disaster to the country, on the Opposition benches. Mr Gladstone had "never been able to understand the cause of the split." Lord Hartington writes, "It is very clear why the split took place, and equally clear that if he does not see it, it will occur again before long." "We cannot," he adds, "submit our judgment to his, and in that case some will follow him, and some us." Lord Hartington considered the vote of credit a reasonable insurance against possible risks. Gladstone considered it "a foolish and mischievous proposition." In January 1878, the year of the Berlin Treaty, the differences had mounted so high that Lord Hartington wanted to resign the leadership and that Gladstone should take it. The latter, as we know, was consuming his nights and days in thwarting the policy of Lord Beaconsfield. The former refused to condemn it, writing, "I accept the policy of conditional neutrality, and I accept the conditions as well as the neutrality." In other words, he supported the Government. The only result of these distracted counsels was to double the majority of the Government (on the question of calling out the reserves it was 310 to 64), and to give force to Lord Beaconsfield's resolve. The result was peace with honour, but can any one doubt that if the Liberals had been in the ascendant we should have drifted on their divided counsels into a disastrous war. The letters in which Lord
Hartington confides the intolerable annoyances of his position to Lord Granville expose beyond further dispute a state of things which was tolerably obvious to all observers at the time. The cleavage in the party seems to have been strongly defined, to have been deepened by the MidLothian agitation, and to have lasted. In fact, when Mr Gladstone became Prime Minister in 1880 he was at the head of a second Coalition Government, far more so than was suspected at the time, which turned out to be nearly as disastrous as its predecessor.
We all remember the blaze of apology with which that Government began its career, and this biography shows with what tact Lord Granville secured for Austria the Prime Minister's apology for his wild Mid-Lothian denunciation. The details of foreign policy may, however, be passed over as well as those of Irish legislation and of the complications in Egypt. No new light is thrown on the melancholy fate of Gordon, and Lord Granville's direction of foreign policy at this time was not so purely a part of his personal career, in the sense of resulting in the main from his individual will and judgment, that we turn to it for light upon his career and character in preference to the details of his management within the Cabinet. There the differences which had arisen in Opposition seemed to increase. Mr Gladstone down to 1882 was persistently talking of resignation. Lord Hartington in 1884 was threatening that he would no
VOL. CLXXVIII.-NO. MLXXXII.
longer be responsible for the military policy in Egypt. Lord Northbrook had been sent to Egypt to return with a full report on its financial situation, and finding his proposals rejected by Mr Gladstone, threatened to resign, Lord Hartington feeling himself bound to go too. Mr Chamberlain made a great speech at Birmingham with a view to coerce some dissentient colleagues, and throughout headed a distinct party in the Cabinet. Mr Gladstone was on the point of going abroad for his health, in which event who would control, it was asked, the member for Birmingham? In fact, at the very moment when a new Russian difficulty was arising over the question of the Afghan boundary, the Cabinet was, says the biographer, "in a state of constant commotion and division, and in a chronic state of resignation." "I never knew such an imbroglio," wrote Lord Granville, who was father confessor of all Cabinet differences. There was an immense crisis in January 1885-"and at the moment when the Cabinet was at its worst, the question of the Afghan boundary entered on an acute phase," while, moreover, we had Egypt on hand and an army locked up in Africa. The picture of dire confusion thus drawn by a friendly hand reminds us of that burning question which Mr Gladstone addressed to the electors at the dissolution of 1880: "Is this
the way in which you wish that your Government should be conducted?"
This distracted Cabinet near3 I
ly involved us in a war with Russia; but Mr Gladstone at the eleventh hour had to throw to the winds his former denunciations of Lord Beaconsfield, relay the rails to Quetta which he had torn up five years before, and propose, of course in a speech of matchless eloquence, a vote of credit for eleven millions-nearly twice as much as he had denounced in 1878 as a foolish and mischievous proposal. The result was, as his deceased rival would have told him, that Russia gave way, and peace was preserved.
After the resignation of 1885 Lord Granville never returned to the Foreign Office, but was superseded by Lord Rosebery. The question, however, of Home Rule was now brought to the front, and the wide divisions of the Liberal party at last culminated in an open rupture, which has lasted for twenty years. Even now, when, on the eve of a general election, they are all anxious to convince us that an essential unity and a practical harmony govern their proceedings, Lord Rosebery steps forward to remind them that all the time the Irish shillelagh, the Welsh sword, and the Nonconformist torpedo are being uncased from their receptacles and are brought forward in the light of day, menacing us with the harmony of saints. It fell to It fell to Lord Granville in 1885 to patch up a peace. He succeeded to some extent, but made the one great blunder of his life in consenting to follow Mr Gladstone on the thorny path which he now decided to tread. He and many
others did so for a reason which failed of effect-viz., the opportunity which it was considered to afford of depriving Ireland of her representation at Westminster. "The great bribe to me," he wrote in substance several times, "and I expect to England and Scotland, would be to get rid of the Irish M.P.'s here, who are introducing the dry rot into our institutions." It must be admitted that a great diplomatist is in his moment of unbending a discriminating and a candid friend; and the Irish members may judge from this passage, which is several times repeated, the degree of enthusiasm with which they inspired their new allies. It was eventually decided by Parliament and public opinion that the retention of that representation was essential to the Union. In fairly short time the bill was thrown out, and a general election decisively confirmed its rejection. Lord Granville's reputation was only besmirched, and not ruined, by his tentative adoption of the scheme. When the Bill of 1893 was presented to the House of Lords and rejected by a portentous majority, Lord Granville had been two years in his grave, and we may hope that had he survived he would have been found on the side of maintaining the integrity of the empire, and have learned that dry rot, however injurious, is preferable to total destruction, and probably curable by time.
But no amount of conciliation could compose the growing feud between Gladstone and