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Lord Hartington, or remove the deep distrust which the latter had imbibed of his chief. After an interview in August of that critical year 1885 between the two statesmen, Lord Hartington writes: "I never can understand Mr Gladstone in conversation, but I thought him unusually unintelligible yesterday.' This was when a new issue, of portentous consequences, was being raised. Lord Hartington saw enough to convince him that his state of mind about Ireland was extremely alarming, contemplating a separate legislature in some form or other. On the eve of a general election Lord Granville saw that the last chance of avoiding a break-up of his party was to postpone a decision as to leadership and policy until "the pressure of actual necessity arose"; and that above all a meeting of the ex-Cabinet would only increase the confusion. The strongly marked difference of character between Gladstone and Granville on the one hand, and Lord Hartington on the other, is prominently displayed during this turning-point in their respective careers. The resolute determination of Lord Hartington to oppose the policy of disintegration is persisted in with all the dogged honesty of a statesman who has the welfare of the State at heart, and is repelled by the tortuous courses and calculated obscurities of language which he observed in his chief. Lord Granville, on the other hand, does not shine at this crisis of his life. His conciliatory tactics, often so useful and so
characteristic, have now degenerated into weakness. With a strong, well-tried, and longtrusted colleague by his side, determined to save the Union, and deeming no sacrifice too great for the accomplishment of that purpose, he yet allowed himself to be persuaded, somewhat against his will and his clearer judgment, into a policy which he half distrusted. The choice was injurious to his reputation. Lord Hartington led the opposition and the new policy with increasing success. The alliance of Mr Bright and Mr Goschen, and afterwards of Mr Chamberlain, brought an enormous accession of strength; and when a mass of opinion and votes finally turned the scale, Lord Hartington signalised his career by successfully moving the rejection of the Bill of 1886 in the House of Commons, and later on by moving the almost unanimous overthrow of the Bill of 1893 in the Lords. Every one must feel as they compare the two statesmen that if Lord Granville had reached the Premiership it would have been filled by a man scarcely strong enough for the post; while if Lord Hartington had gained it, there is not one in the long line of celebrated men who have held it who more thoroughly deserved it.
The incidents of the crisis merited the intense disgust which was obviously created in his mind. Mr Gladstone would not divulge his policyall he would do was to adjure Lord Granville to keep the party together, he himself being unwilling to
office except to deal with the Irish question, on which we all remember he desired a majority which would make him independent of the Irish members. Even in his election address he would not commit himself. After the dissolution the two great political parties were evenly balanced, the Irish holding the scales. The Radicals were disappointed. Gladstone wanted Lord Salisbury to settle the Irish question with his help. Lord Hartington thought that no difficulty would be so great as an attempt to get our miscellaneous team into harness again. It was thus at a moment of almost inextricable confusion that Mr Gladstone launched his still unavowed policy of unconditional surrender to the Irish members, the very men whom he had denounced four years before for marching through rapine to the dismemberment of the Empire. Lord Hartington insisted that, disguise it as he might, Mr Gladstone had irrevocably committed himself to a policy of Home Rule, including an Irish Parliament, and that he himself altogether differed. He would be no party to calling together the ex-Cabinet, and he refused a place in the new Cabinet, leading the opposition to the new measure. Not even Lord Granville could patch up a reconciliation, though he seems to have assured Mr Gladstone that there was a margin for an enormous discount in Hartington's growl. It is a curious picture, on the eve of a
find one of the leaders (the hero of this biography) expressing despair "as regards the party and the public welfare," and only "finding comfort to one's personal vanity to find every one else as much at sea as one's self." Lord Granville eventually decided to stand by his chief, anxious to get rid of the dry rot, but pleading that the safeguards for the minority must be efficient, -a phrase which is redolent of weakness, for in practice it may mean anything or nothing. He made a last attempt to conciliate Lord Hartington on New Year's day; but the latter, on hearing Gladstone's communication, found it "useless to expect him to be intelligible," and concluded by asking, "Did any leader ever treat a party in such a way as he has done?" Lord Granville, on the other hand, influenced by Gladstone and "still more encouraged by the views of Lord Spencer, adopted the new policy, and also acquiesced in his supersession at the Foreign Office. In fact, he surrendered to Gladstone unconditionally. The Home Rule Bill of 1886 never reached the Lords, and the only glimpse we get of Lord Granville's sentiments as regards its failure is given by three letters written during the general election, in one of which he complains "we are going to the dogs"; in the second, that "Merry pebbles" (surely the most grotesque of all the ridiculous nicknames in vogue in this book, applied at such
new administration, with a a tragic moment) "is rather decisively new departure, to excited: has written a long
letter to the Queen, the drift of which I cannot understand"; in the third, that "the future, in a national point of view, seems to me to be fearfully dark."
So ended Lord Granville's leadership of the House of Lords. It is satisfactory to observe that his followers had presented him a short time before with a piece of plate, in acknowledgment of his services. He can never rank as a great statesman, neither will he be decried as a failure. The successes and disasters which attended his administration of the Foreign Office have never been associated with his name. Others got the credit, or bore the discredit. That his leadership of his party in the House of Lords terminated in its ruin has never been laid to his charge; nor has the contrast ever been shown to his discredit between its influence at the time Lord Lansdowne laid down the reins, and its utter feebleness in presence of the new policy for which Lord Granville stood sponsor. He was evidently an admirable colleague; and as regards Gladstone, he was devoted to him. "The very dissimilarity," says Lord Edmond Fitmaurice, "of their respective characters and gifts seemed only to constitute an additional link between them." It was not in the power of Lord Granville or any other man to dissuade Gladstone from his disastrous coup d'état; and all that was left to him was to accept or reject his chief. He chose the former without sign of faltering, whatever he may have felt,
and adhered to him loyally to the end; but no one associates Home Rule with his name. The influence which he wielded by tact and temper, and conciliatory bearing and conduct, gave him much more real power than falls to the lot of most Ministers, but he never impressed himself and his personality on either his party, its measures, or its administration. He stood to successive Premiers very much in the same relation that the Prince Consort occupied in regard to the Throne. In fact, he seemed to have succeeded to, and maintained for years, a very similar influence, both at Court and with the Ministers, to that which had been vacated by the Prince Consort's death. In the Administration especially of 18591865, he was evidently the Minister on whom the Sovereign relied, and to whom his colleagues looked to lead the opposition to the policy of the chiefs whenever they disapproved it. To maintain such exalted influence in every successive Liberal Cabinet that was formed, to give effect to it without incurring enmity and distrust, and to maintain the leadership of the House of Lords with authority not derived from the numbers of his supporters, and with a dignity entirely personal, are achievements which give him a name to be envied amongst the list of British statesmen, though they failed to guide him to the foremost place in the Government, or to place him in the rank of Great Britain's foremost statesmen.
IN AND ABOUT A GERMAN
BEING, as I said in a previous paper, hopelessly insular in my ideas, and dependent for my knowledge of the Germans on newspapers and hearsay only, I came abroad in the full expectation of finding in my Teutonic cousin a swaggering and blustering semi-barbarian, eaten up with self-conceit, and never quite happy if he was not cramming down a neighbour's throat the German military superiority. Let me Let me confess at once that I have been most agreeably disappointed. Now and again a newspaper may attempt to make political capital by representing England as an aggressive and unscrupulous Power, and by hysterical warnings to the German nation to be ready to stand to arms at a minute's notice. But I believe from the bottom of my heart that the bulk of the German people are at least as peaceably minded as ourselves, and would regard a serious quarrel with England in the light of a deplorable and wellnigh intolerable calamity. Only a few days ago I happened to say to a German visitor at our Pension, that I had never yet been able to make up my mind whether sundry uniformed people I met in the town really were soldiers, or postmen, or railway porters, or firemen, or sailors.
"To me they all look equally military," I remarked.
"Ah!" he said. "We are
what you call a nation military. We have a large army, true, but all you see in uniform will not be soldiers. Too many, perhaps, are."
Well, we are the other way up,-too few soldiers."
"Few, but goot, very goot. And your sheeps-see, German navy so," and he held up his little finger, "but English navy so!" and up went both hands. "England," he continued, "many sheeps, Germany many soldiers: they shall always be very goot friends, and the world shall be quiet. No more war, because England and Germany say so."
So much for generalities, and now to describe more or less in detail the things that have struck my insular mind in Germany.
First of all, then, the very fair system of trading on the part of shops, and the marked absence of what I will call the olla-podrida dealers. The German method, at any rate in this little town, seems to run on exactly the opposite lines to those whereby the owner of a miniature Whiteley's shop in the north-west of Ireland was reputed to have amassed a considerable fortune. I give the story of an incident that happened in this establishment exactly as it was told to me, but in no way vouch for the truth of it, except so far as to say that my informant was not a habitual liar. The enterprising proprietor, then, of
this olla-podrida shop was reputed to owe his success in life to this golden rule, posted up on every counter for the benefit of the shopmen:
"If you have not got the exact article required, show to your customer that which in your opinion most nearly answers to the description."
If the man really did make a fortune by it, we must assume that the rule worked well on the whole. But on one occasion a rough seafaring man walked into the shop, and demanded a certain type of tobacco. Right manfully did the assistant who was serving him act up to the golden rule. Every possible type of tobacco that could come anywhere near the description, among other conditions of which essential points were that it looked like string, and could be cut with a knife, was offered, only to be rejected. Suddenly a Suddenly a brilliant thought struck the assistant.
"I think I know what you want," he said, and with that galloped off upstairs, and after some delay returned with a sample of a substance that might be tobacco, and most certainly was stringy and capable of being cut off in chunks by a knife, as the seafaring customer had insisted.
"This is no doubt what you require, sir; it has been put away by mistake."
The customer looked at the stuff, smelt it, and I believe tasted it. Finally, with some reluctance, he indicated his willingness to deal.
"Not as it's just what I
wanted," he said, "but mebbe it's nigh enough.'
"It's been in stock a long time," suggested the assistant, "but I think you will find it all right when you come to smoke it."
With that he weighed out an ounce, and the first act in the little drama ended with the purchaser slouching out of the shop, cramming, en route, a substantial wad of the "tobacco" into his black clay pipe.
The second act followed with truly startling rapidity, for a minute later, while the conscientious assistant was showing to another customer something which, if not the exact article required, at any rate in his opinion most nearly answered to the description, there rushed into the shop with blackened face and bleeding mouth a man, hatless, breathless, seething with indignation, bubbling over with weird oaths and bloodthirsty threats. For an instant he stood glaring wildly round the shop, and then suddenly spying his victim, he pounced upon the luckless assistant, and dragging him over the counter was proceeding to throttle him at leisure, until he himself was literally choked off his prey by the united efforts of the enterprising proprietor
and his posse The aid of the police was invoked, and the supposed maniac, after being pretty roughly handled, on being at last induced to give an explanation of his conduct, proved to be an innocent