Sir Robert Peel seems anxious to justify the Government in
having got rid of his counsels, by behaving in Parliament as much like a wild Irishman at Donnybrook fair, and as little like an Irish Secretary, whose duty it is to try to make Ireland rational, as possible. Yesterday week, on a fresh discussion of Chief Justice Lefroy's competence to do his work on the bench at ninety-two, and the Lord Justice of Appeal Blackburn's com- petence for the same sort of duties at eighty-four, Sir Robert Peel apparently gave the lie direct to Mr. Maguire, charging him with making a statement which he knew to be "perfectly unfounded." (The statement appears to have been the reiteration of a rumour that there are two insuperable difficulties in Chief Justice Lefroy's mind about resigning,—that he cannot resign under a Tory Government without making room for Mr. Whiteside, Who de- fends hint, and whom he is supposed to find intolerable, and that he cannot resign under a Liberal Government without opening the way for a Liberal.) Of course Mr. Maguire rose to order.
'The Speaker said Sir Robert Peel was quite unparliamentary, and must apolog,ize ; Sir George Grey was millly persuasive ; Sir Robert Peel curtly declined to withdraw his words ; the Speaker became dignified and authoritative ; Sir Robert Peel only put on his hat, like Mr. Bock-urn Dolffs, when he wishes to silence Count Bismarck by suspending a sitting ; the Speaker spoke once more with sterner emphasis ; Sir George Grey explained in still sweeter tones what expression it was,—Sir Robert Peel knew quite as well as he did,—that he wiei expected to withdraw ; Mr. Whiteside offered an enticing suggestion as to what Sir Robert Peel might say that he had meant, and then, at last, Sir Robert Peel rose and explained, according to Mr. Whiteside's hint, that he charged Mr. Maguire not with falsehood, but with error,— adding, as the Haase laughed at his reluctant and awkward retractation, "That is really what I said. I have often had -occasion to explain what I may have said." Doubtless—only too often, for Sir Robert Peel is one who speaks first and thinks .a,fterwards. "I am sorry," he added,, with quite a burst of reason, "that I rose to speak at all." And this was the Ex- Secretary for Irish Affairs, —an officer who needs more weight and good sense than any other member of the Administration -except the Prime Minister.