NEWS OF TEE WEEK.
THE new Parliament has met, and the first introductory scene of the drama has been performed—the House of Commons has chosen its Speaker. Thus far the proceedings of the House have confirmed the previous expectations of the course which the two great parties would pursue—Mr. CHARLES SHAW LEFEVRE is reelected. The ceremony passed off on Thursday with as calm and harmonious an accordance as if the two sides had met for nothing but to concur for evermore. Lord Woasrmr, who proposed Mr. LEFEVEE, cited the testimony of Lord STANLEY, that, if elected by one side of the House, be had won the esteem of both ; and Sir ROBERT PEEL said that Mr. LEFEVRE'S integrity and impartiality had established that influence which maintained his authority better tban the power invested in his office. So Mr. LEFEVRE was voted into the chair without a word of dissent. Allusion, indeed, was made to the past and the future, though sparingly : Mr. EDWARD BULLER, the se- conder, assured the Opposition, that when they came into office, Mr. LEFEVRE would still do credit to their choice; Sir ROBERT PEEL boasted of his consistency in standing by the principle for which he contended in 1835 and upon which he acted in 1837; and Lord Jon,, RUSSELL just hinted that he did not turn out Mr. MANNERS SUTTON merely for a difference in politics,—alluding to inferences drawn from the fact that Mr. MAsnEas Sirrron's name was much in the Court Circular just before King WILLIAM changed from a Whig to a Tory Ministry. However, these slight allusions did not mar the serenity with which Mr. LEFEVRE was bowed into the chair, nor ruffle the placidity with which be briefly and with good taste bowed his acknowledgments.
The next step will be the delivery of the Queen's Speech ; the
manner of which is now no secret. It appears that it is not only to be written by others, but delivered by proxy. The Queen, say the Ministerial papers, is forbidden by Dr. Locoex, the Court ac- coucheur, from risking the excitement of opening the session in person. The Opposition papers profess to be sceptical as to the avowed being the real reasons : the Queen, they say, is quite well ; she opened the session last time, when in precisely the same "con- dition" as that which is now the excuse for her absence ; and therefore there must be some other cause for it. Now there is a glaring non-sequitur involved in this chain of argument : leaving to the proper authorities the question of comparative safety at different times, even under equal degrees of health, it may be observed that the circumstances of the present case are altogether different. If the faithful Commons last year caused amusement rather than alarm in the gentle breast of their mistress, by their hustling and
- rushing into the presence, they were known to be upon the whole
good harmless creatures, utterly guiltless of any serious intentions : now, there is an awful unknown majority, swelling with dark re- solves to support the man who once tried to bring about a revolu- tion in the Bedchamber, and who means, doubtless, to try again. Besides, in spite of this majority against " the Queen and the People," the Whig Ministers have resolved to make the Queen's Speech run the gauntlet in their behalf: it is to be the ultimatum of the minority—their manifesto of "no surrender " ; it is to raise anew the question of the condemned Budget. Here is a totally different circumstance from any which attended the Speech of last year : at that time the Speech, addressed to a Parliament which could not be charged with any formidable majority either way, said nothing ; now the Speech is to be a defiance of an over- whelming majority. No wonder Dr. LOCOCK demurs to the Whig policy of making his Royal patient the organ of defiance. If they disregard political consequences,—if they cannot feel the in- convenience, not to say the danger, of placing the Queen overtly at
issue with Parliament, and of committing the Royal lips to the utterance of sentences framed for the purposes of a defeated
party,—Dr. LOCOCK has a graver sense of responsibility : he will not expose the constitution-corporal to the shocks which they care not to avoid for the state-constitution. The Queen, it is possible, may not like to deliver the eloquent composition of the Cabinet Council; but de gustilms—Dr. LOCOCK'S reasons are quite sufficient for the retirement of the chief performer from the drama, without seeking others. Not by the rosy lips of youth and beauty, then, but by some sedate old gentleman, will the Queen's Speech be uttered. One chance, therefore, though certainly not a very hopeful one, of taking the new House by storm, and carrying in the Budget by a coup de main, is lost. The Budget-Speech, read with spec- tacles on nose, will have no seductive tefrors tR disarm gallant Conservatives: it will appear in all its nakednels, a mere dry, impudent, Whig document.
The third step in the formal commencement of Parliamentary business is the Address. Here is the pitfall prepared for unwary Tories, to which the Speech is the scarcely covered approach. The Speech is to assert, with more or less directness, the merits of the Budget—in the phrase of Lord Jolts RUSSELL'S mani- festo, Ministers will ask for "a clear and decided judgment upon the policy they have proposed": the Address must echo the Speech ; and so the Opposition, it is reckoned, are reduced to the alternative, either of agreeing to the Whig Speech, or of pronouncing an adverse decision on the questions in- volved in the Budget. Of course there is no expectation that the Tories will concur in the Whig Budget ; there is no wish that they should. The calculation is, that the Tories must oppose the Address; but inasmuch as the Address must be diS- cussed, it is reckoned that they will be forced into a discussion on its subject-matter, and committed to an opposition, recorded in the most solemn and signal manner, against the Budget propositions
. or their like. By this means, the Whigs would prevent the mea- sures, to carry which they affect to be more anxious than to retain office, from being carried by the Tories. The Tories would thus begin with an act of the grossest unpopularity—would be prevented from spoiling the market of the Whigs, and disqualified from all future competition in Free Trade ; while the Whigs would remain at liberty to resume their budgetmongering as soon as the people found that they could obtain nothing half so tempting from their rivals. Besides, by tying the Budget to the Speech delivered in the name of the Queen' additional strength is imparted to the popular belief that the new Free Trade, Whiggery, and Royalty, are all indisso- lubly bound together—that the Queen virtually " goes out" with Lord MELBOURNE and Lord JOHN RUSSELL; abdicating in favour of Sir ROBERT PEEL, who will be Viceroy over her—a sort of Re- gent—an English ESPARTERO. This ingenious scheme has im- parted not a little exhilaration to those far-seeing gentlemen the Whig journalists : it does not seem to have occurred, to them that the trap is too inartificially disguised not to be detected and avoided. It is ludicrously conspicuous. One may conceive that, when Lord Jourr gets up, in due form, to ask the House—Opposi- tion majority of eighty and all—to echo the Budget Speech, the shouts of laughter, suppressed before the representative of Ma- jesty during the first reading of the Speech, will burst forth uncon- trolled. There will be twq jests of infinite mirth in the spectacle before Honourable Members,—first, there will be the Whigs con- fiding in their immortal Budget, as if it had not been slaughtered and buried ignominiously and for ever ; and then there will be Lord Jonn RUSSELL fancying himself the leader of the House—the leader of Sir ROBERT PEEL'S House! Considerate Sir ROBERT, indeed, will not laugh—he will be too anxious to help his future opponents out of the disagreeable farce with as much display of magnanimity as possible, and with as little scandal to cause un- pleasantness in doubtful quarters. He will probably stop the ex- posure by recalling all parties to business. He may remind the Whigs, still harping on their Budget, that there is a ceremony to be performed : " Stay, gentlemen," he may say, the question is not now of Budgets, but of Ministries : there is now no Government to propose Budgets, or any thing else. You, the minority, the self-confessed Opposition, are in the wrong place : we have to perform the ceremony of placing you on this side of the House, and of finding a Government which possesses the confidence of Parliament ; and then we can talk about Budgets at leisure—next session, as you used to say." Upon what pretence, Sir ROBERT may well ask, can the Whigs demand that he should pronounce an opinion on the Budget, or on the incidental ques- tions, as a preliminary to his entrance into office when they were ten years in office without uttering a word upon the subject of their new idol Free Trade? No satisfying answer can be given. Sir ROBERT has already declared that he will say nothing until he be in possession of the arcane of office. Whatever they may be worth, it is not likely that a little tampering with Royal Speeches and a little cajolery about Loyal Addresses will betray so practised a Parliamentarian to stultify all he has said heretofore, and all he can do hereafter. The question before the House and the country is that upon which the House was sent to the constituencies to seek a decision—what Ministry is to have -the support of Parlia- ment; and that question must be formally ottled before any other can be entertained. When Lord Joins talks of the Budget, there- fore, Sir ROBERT will of necessity moot the question before the House. The ulterior question will come soon enough for him, fortified though he be with power and the secrets of office, upon which he sets so much store.