NEWS OF THE WEEK.
ONE thing appears to be settled in the opinion of all parties on the eve of the general election—that Lord Palmerston is to have an increase to his former majority. The preliminary appeals made in the very announcement of a dissolution, and in the Parliamentary speeches, have brought out evidences of the feet, that he is not only supported, John Bull fashion, as Minister of the Crown but that he enjoys a wide personal popularity. This is evinced in more ways than those common to a general election. Various public bodies have adopted special addresses, declaring their approval of his policy and their satisfaction with himself; in some cases going so far as to invite him to become a candidate for the constituency of the place : London City, Manchester' and some other communities, have been among the number. Lord Palmerston could not conceal his satisfaction at this evidence of friendship, and he replied to one after another in his pleasant way ; bat he repays the fidelity of Tiverton with his own fidelity. The addresses of candidates tell the same story. Generally speaking, the Liberal candidates are either inclined or compelled to run with the stream, and to support Lord Palmerston is the way in which they expect to find favour with the constituencies. A proportionate unpopularity has been incurred by those who went against the Government on the trying division. Of the forty or fifty Liberals who opposed Ministers in the China debate, many, it is known, voted conscientiously ; Lord John Russell and others of them have said that they voted as they would have done upon a jury,on the case before them. For, as Sir Francis Baring says, there are cases in which party must be forgotten and questions judged on their own merits. Whether or
not the China question was a ease of that kind, or the men were lukewarm certain it is that the Liberal seceders forgot their party ; and if it is now understood that the motives were strictly honest, the effect of their vote was the same as that of the pre vious and more limited " coalition " between Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Disraeli, in assisting to concentrate an attack which might overthrow the Ministry. The war popularity of Lord Palmer ston has been increased by a reaction against this political un fairness. In the mechanical spirit which is the curse of our day, there has been an endeavour to turn the reaction to a fac tious advantage, and to get up a cry for the Minister irrespec tively of political principle. In some places a dead set has been made against Liberals because of their single vote on the China question. Thus, officials have been let loose upon a Liberal of unquestioned soundness at Devonport. It is an unscrupulous strategy, which will have its recoil.
Already, indeed, there has been some degree of reaction upon that reaction. An idea had been started, that the Ministerialists throughout the country should be induced to vote for the supporters of Lord Palmerston whatever the political principles of the candidates might be ; while on the other hand, it was imagined that the Tories would further damage the Liberals by voting for every opponent of Lord Palmerston. This understanding has not been carried out, and in some striking instances the constituencies have revolted against any such discipline. According to the understanding, Sir Francis Baring should have been doomed at
[Wrrir SUPPLEMENT.] Portsmouth, and Viscount Mona, Lord Pahnerston's promising subordinate, should have been more certain than ever of success ; yet it is Lord Mon& whom a majority at a public meeting has declined to support unless he will accept the Liberal tests of suffrage-extension and ballot-voting, and Sir Francis Baring appears to be secure. There is great doubt whether Liverpool will depart from its custom of dividing its favours between a. Liberal and a Tory, and will not retain the present candidates although both voted against Lord Palmerston; while the Conservatives have talked of opposing one of their party to Mr. Ewart, although, on the vague understanding to which we have alluded, the Conservatives ought to have damaged Mr. Ewart by supporting him. There is no assurance that Mr. Lindsay will be turned out of Tynemouth ; and if Lord Goderieh is threatened in Huddersfield, he seems to havo the best chance among the new candidates for Yorkshire West Riding, and possibly with the support rather than the opposition of the Ministerialists. Of course Mr. Cobden will not be lost to the new House of Commons ; he is expected to find a seat at Bolton, the old borough of Sir John Bowring, or at Salford, next door to , Manchester.
A sign that a spurious excitement will not govern the whole election may be seen in some of the . addresses of candidates, which are distinguished by more force and nerve than we remember to have noticed in the election literature of previous elections in times of no great excitement. They are more animated, and more to the point. Among these is Lord John Russell's to that constituency which has resolved not to return him, telling the electors that he will not tacitly slink away on the more report of their dissatisfaction, but will leave them to break the eonnexion as publicly as they invited it. In general terms he explains his conduct ; and is careful to remind us, that the return from war to ,peace will -give leisure for " the work of legal, social, ecelesiastied, and political reform." In parting from London City, Lord John gives the electors a memento of the representative they are rejecting ; and, in conformity with the position which he has taken up from the commencement of the session, he appeals from local influences to the country at large, notifying the fact that ho is true to "the good old cause," and is not to be governed by transitory and unpolitical considerations.
Another of the addresses which is read with the greatest interest is by a writer who does not intend to be a candidate,— that of Mr. Arthur Helps, declining to stand for Cambridge University. The letter in which he signifies his indisposition to plunge into a• contest upon false or partial issues, will clear the eyes of some that have just now been dazzled, Giving Lord Palmerston credit for his brilliant 'qualities and his conduct of the late war, he reminds those who have lost their memory, that Lord Palmerston holds out "no promise of political or social reforms." Mr. Helps has never worshiped Lord John Russell, but he cannot join in the ungrateful proneness to construe his conduct in the worst sense. In the heyday of a political conflict, Mr. Helps will not let us forget the interests and even the amusements of the "lower classes."
To end as we began, it appears to be a settled conclusion, that on the reassembling of Parliament, Lord Palmerston will be ' backed by an increased majority to indorse his proposals, whatever they may be. But from the very mode of the coming election, coupled with the comparatively long duration of the Parliament not yet dismissed, there will be a large proportion of new Members, many of them selected on grounds irrespective of their political antecedents or known principles. Nothing can be more uncertain than the bearing of the body thus formed : the next House of Commons defies any calculation which we might make of it, except the one that it svill not long abide by the understanding on which it was elected. By this time next year, we may be launched upon very animated conflicts, the effects of unforeseen motives and cross-purposes ; while any misconduct on the part of the House will be certain to assist that revival of political feeling of which some signs are already apparent.
The House of Commons has been employing its days, now so nearly numbered, in disposing as best it might of the essential business before it—and of some that was thrust upon it. Of [LATEST EDITION.]
course the first duty was to carry through the bills Makiu Pror vision for the public *cry*. On the income-tax Bp, Sir 'Fits,,
roy Kelly moved an amendment to reduce the duty froin d. ta
.45d. in the pound : but he could not persuade the "House ; and, after the ineffectual struggle of last week, Sir George Lewis has been allowed to carry his newest Tea-duty of is. 5d. with
as little molestation as his Sugar-duties have encountered. Mr.
Gladstone, indeed, has persevered with his general opposition to the Government finance; making a long statement to show de ficiencies-now extending to 1863! The speech was delivered to a very thin House, and Mr. Disraeli told his volunteer colleague that it would be " wise " not to press his motion to a division, for he altogether " protested " against such a discussion at such a time. Mr. Gladstone appears to have lost one alliance without having found another.
We have not entirely done with the questions that led to the dissolution. In the House of Lords, the Earl of Shaftesbury proposed his questions, asking whether the prohibition of trading by the East India Company does not render its culture of opium illegal, and whether under the treaty with China the opiumsmuggling is not illegal : but the Lords showed no disposition to press upon the Government ; and on an assurance that Ministers themselves would refer the questions to the LawOfficers of the Crown and the Queen's Advocate, Lord Shaftesbury withdrew his motion.
Lord Ellenborough raised a controversy with Ministers on the propriety of the expedition to China,--expressing " regret " that a Plenipotentiary should be sent out with enlarged powers and a military force. Although Lord Panmure admitted tho season to be inopportune for sending out a military force, and a larger expedition may lead to larger complications, nothing came of the discussion ; and the public seems scarcely to share Lord Ellenborough's regret.
In the other House, Mr. Thomas Dunoombe has extorted a select Committee on the case of the Land Transport Corps ; and Mr. Palk moved a resolution recommending the Crimean Commissioners for the favour of the Crown, with so much enoonragement from the House, that Lord Palmerston thought fit to avoid a division by giving way and letting the motion pass. Thus the men whom the Minister delighted not to honour have been placed by the Commons almost on a level with their favourite Speaker.
For the most prominent and not the least interesting Parliamentary incident of the week is the announced retirement of Mr. Ehaw Lefevre from the chair which he has so long dignified ; accompanied with the usual thanks, the usual recommendation to the Royal favour, and much more than the usual earnestness on all sides in paying this parting tribute.
Excepting those who are responsible for getting the necessary public business finished off, Members have been thinking chiefly of the immediate future as respects themselves ; and no small portion of the debating has been addressed "to Buncombe." The most gratuitous and perhaps the least modest of these electioneering obliquities is reserved for the House of Peers ; where Lord Derby has given notice, that on the second reading of the Incometax Bill he shall utter "a few observations as to the circumstances under which the present appeal is made to the country."
While an expedition is leaving this country to reinforce our arms in China, and to transfer the conduct of negotiations from Eir John Bowling to an unnamed high Plenipotentiary, and froni Canton to Pekin, the latest news by the overland mail, without reporting any material change, shows our countrymen under severe pressure. Admiral Seymour had been compelled to retire ; though not without destroying a part of Canton city in retaliation of the cruelties of the Chinese.
The conditions on which the Persian war is closed are more favourable than the first accounts implied : they secure the independence of Herat, and finally settle the very grounds of recent disputes.
The Neuchatel quarrel seems as far as ever from being settled; the King of Prussia declining to fulfil the arrangement volunteered for him by the French Emperor.
Russia supports Sardinia against Austria ; and Naples boasts a seventh child to the royal house-" Gennaro Maria Immacolata."
The report that the new President of the United States had appointed General Cass to be his Foreign Secretary has given occasion for the explanation, that General Cass has arrived at years of discretion, that Mr. Buchanan appointed him to avoid a more hotheaded Southerner, tuid that the new President will be the less afraid of being favourable to England because he is thought to be the reverse. Perhaps the explanation is as premature as the report ; for authentically the announcement of the new Cabinet at Washington could not have been made. And everybody knows that Mr. Buchanan, at once discreet and persistent, will be neither more nor less anti-English then he chooses to be on his own judgment.