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been “ Boycotted.” The various Orange lodges throughout the country were instructed to report to head-quarters all agrarian outrages committed in their neighbourhood, and whenever a meeting was proposed to be held under the auspices of the Land League, to make application to the magistrates for its prohibition.
While the Land League was thus extending its area and perfecting its machinery, the Government continued to be fiercely assailed by the journals and the public leaders of the Opposition for not taking immediate steps to check disorder in Ireland with a high hand. The Times in vain repeated the caution which it had given to the Liberal Opposition against politicians out of office committing themselves to wholesale denunciation. All that had been said a year before about want of patriotism in embarrassing the Government had been forgotten. The recognised leaders of the Conservative party vied with such extreme free-lances as Lord R. Churchill and Sir H. D. Wolff in the freedom of their invective. Sir S. Northcote, indeed, in a speech at the Colston celebration at Bristol, spoke of the necessity of prudence and moderation, if the defeated party at the last election was to regain its lost position, and paid a high compliment to the tactics by which Mr. Disraeli had reunited his party, when it was in a much more hopeless state of disorganisation. But he hardly, as the Times reminded him, set a good example of his precept when he derided “the three F's -Fixity of tenure, Fair rent, and Free sale—as being utterly impracticable, and even immoral, as a basis of land reform. This, it may be remembered, was Mr. Parnell's “low-water mark” of the reforming spirit. The three F's were long advocated by Mr. Isaao Butt, and they received the support of a large body of the Roman Catholic priesthood of Ireland, as a basis for an equitable solution of the Irish problem. But Sir S. Northcote ridiculed the three F's as being equivalent to Fraud, Force, and Folly; a rival alliteration which was caught up and repeated on many a Conservative platform. Lord Salisbury neither professed nor practised moderation of speech. “ We live in times,” he said, " which do not admit of political inaction and hardly of political truce.” He spoke as if there were no Irish difficulty that had not been created by the cowardice of the Government in evading the elementary duty of preserving order. He even went so far as to say that certain members of the Cabinetthe members for Birmingham-wished for the increased prevalence of outrage in Ireland, because it would furnish the argument that would best serve to establish their theories. The Times warned Lord Salisbury not to forget that it was one of the possibilities of next year that the Conservative party might again be in office, and that no party could come into power without making an attempt to deal thoroughly with the question of land reform in Ireland. Why then should the Conservative leaders be in such haste to preclude themselves from the consistent adoption of any reasonable solution ?
If anything could have taught the Conservative leaders caution, and diverted them from the means they were adopting of trying to inspirit their minority, it would have been the answer given by facts to their taunts about the failure of the Naval Demonstration. While the cession of Dulcigno still hung fire, Lord Salisbury said that if six washing-tubs, with the flags of the different nations upon them had been sent to the Adriatic, they would have produced as much effect; and only a few days before the entry of the Montenegrins was announced, Sir S. Northcote spoke of one thing as being perfectly clear—that the Demonstration had utterly and completely failed, and that the Sultan was only playing at bobcherry with the disputed territory. These unwary predictions and assertions, the ridicule of the European Concert as a farce, and the eagerness of the Opposition leaders to taunt the Government with failure before their measures had been put to the test, furnished Lord Granville with convenient openings for retort in a speech which he made at Hanley, on November 27, the day after Dulcigno was occupied by the Montenegrins. Lord Granville maintained that the European Concert was still a reality, and still bent upon the complete execution of the Treaty of Berlin, and he accounted for the slowness of its movements, and at the same time illustrated its force and sureness, by a happy image. When he was in the Staffordshire Yeomanry, he said, he had been taught that the proper pace at which to charge was that of the slowest horse under the heaviest farmer in the troop, and that then the charge, though it might not be swift, was irresistible. Referring to Lord Salisbury's criticism of the efforts of the Government to secure the fulfilment of the Berlin Treaty, he said :—“I really should like to know what
you would think of a mercantile man who sought to get his bill dishonoured, because it had passed into the hands of a rival in trade who had endorsed it.” To this last taunt, Lord Salisbury retorted, with ingenious wit, that “it occasionally happened that when a note or bill fell into thoughtless hands, they altered the figure which it contained, and, when that happened, the person who originally drew or accepted the note was very apt to object to pay it.” This was in allusion to the fact that Dulcigno was not named in the Treaty of Berlin as a place that was to belong to Montenegro, a fact with which Sir Charles Dilke dealt in addressing his constituents at Chelsea, on December 13. Dulcigno was not mentioned, but another piece of territory was, and the Powers were agreed that Dulcigno should stand as an equivalent. The Standard joined with the Times in rebuking Lord Salisbury for carping at the cession of Dulcigno on the ground that it was not in the bond of the Berlin Treaty.
In contending that the Naval Demonstration had failed, Sir S. Northcote-in this respect cautious—had said that even if Dulcigno were surrendered, the question of the Greek frontier still remained behind. He somewhat incautiously added -asking his audience to mark his words—that a Demonstration would never be made in support of the Greek claims. Lord Granville, however, and Sir C. Dilke seemed to hint that the Concert might reasonably be expected to hold together for this purpose also. A largely attended meeting, presided over by the Earl of Rosebery, was held in Willis's Rooms, early in December, to urge upon the Government the duty of not remitting their exertions in favour of Greece.
The detachment of a section of the Liberal majority, upon the Irish Disturbance Bill, was probably part of the reason why the Opposition adopted so uncompromising a tone in reference to the Irish Land question. It was certainly the main ground on which some members of the party reckoned confidently on disruption within the Ministerial ranks, and a dissolution or a change of Government before a year had passed. The precise scope of the Government proposals was, of course, kept a profound secret throughout the oratorical campaign of the recess. Mr. Bright and Mr. Chamberlain, in addressing their constituents at Birmingham, enlarged upon the necessity of reforming the land system of Ireland; and Mr. Bright, in particular, in an elaborate review of the history of land tenure in Ireland, insisted that some remedy must be devised, and that force was no remedy. Mr. Bright professed to speak for himself, with as much freedom as if he were not a member of the Government; but it was evident that as he continued a member of the Cabinet, after their policy had been agreed upon, the forthcoming measures, whatever they might be, were not irreconcilable with his views. Mr. Childers was present at Sir C. Dilke's meeting with his constituents, but he would say nothing more definite than that the proposals of the Government would be found to be in harmony with the wishes of the Liberal party throughout the country. What those wishes were, as we have already noted, were very plainly declared. Mr. Bright's opinion, that force was no remedy, was again and again re-echoed in the meetings of Liberal members with their constituents. “ You cannot imprison a feeling," Mr. Grant Duff bappily put it at Peterhead; and it was apparent that the main factor with which the Government had to reckon in the restoration of order was the feeling of the vast majority of the tenant-farmers of Ireland.
The prosecution of the Land Leaguers was fixed for December 28; an application for postponement on the part of the traversers having been refused. Up to the last, it was doubted whether a jury could be found to act. The jurymen were threatened by anticipation with “ Boycotting,” if a conviction should be recorded against Mr. Parnell-notre roi, as he was often styled in threatening letters and anonymous proclamations—and a panic prevailed among the unfortunate men in Dublin liable to be called upon to serve. It was said that they would incur any penalty of fine or imprisonment rather than face the dangerous responsibility. The panel was reduced from forty-eight to twenty four, by striking off on each side in the Crown Office, and only eighteen were in attendance on the opening of the trial. Of these, three were excused on the ground of age and infirmity; one was exempted as a servant of the Crown; and two were challenged by the counsel for the defence. Thus the exact number required was left, and the trial proceeded. The last few days of the year were occupied with the AttorneyGeneral's statement of the case for the Crown.
FRANCE AND ITALY.
The De Freycinet Ministry- The Unauthorised Orders—The General Amnesty
The fall of M. de Freycinet- The Execution of the Decrees—The Ferry Cabinet-Foreign Affairs—The Anglo-French Treaty of Commerce.
The student of modern French politics cannot fail to be struck with the fact that the leading men of all parties—with one notable exception--are strangely wanting in that force of character and moral power, which rarely accompanies, it is true, the most brilliant intellectual gifts, which is not always an indication of any great elevation of nature, but which is absolutely necessary to inspire the confidence or obtain the obedience of other men. M. Gambetta is eloquent, but his eloquence is not the secret of his strength; his eloquence is but a powerful tool which renders him good service in the work on which he has been for the last ten years engaged. He has, indeed, had not only his party, but also his country, to educate, and the difficulties of the parliamentary situation at the beginning of 1880 arose chiefly from the fact that the country as a whole bad been learning its lessons rather quicker than its representatives, either in the Senate or in the Chamber.
The Waddington Cabinet of January 1879, which was composed almost entirely of members of the Left Centre, was not, even at the very moment of its formation, abreast of public opinion in the country. For a while it commanded, however, the support of a parliamentary majority expectant of the reforms to which it had pledged itself, but as the months passed without any attempt being made on the part of Government to fulfil its undertakings, the Republican Left was encouraged by the more pronounced attitude of the constituencies to insist that the reforms which had been promised by M. Waddington and his colleagues should be carried out, and carried out not only in the letter but in the spirit.