NEWS OF THE WEEK.
THE Opposition awakens from its long autumnal trance to active life in Parliament ; and RUSSELL, like PEEL, issues his circular to remind careless Members that they will be wanted to vote. The Morning Chronicle opened the week and its Monday's " leading articles" with an official announcement, brief, oracular, and con- spicuously printed, that there is to be " an amendment" moved on the Address. What amendment ? everybody asks.
Of course, as the Opposition cannot yet know what are the Minis- terial propositions to which their amendment is to be applied, it must be something substantive, not needing the original riolion for a basis, or liable to have the ground cut from under it by the dis- closure of the Cabinet programme. It must be something positive, upon which the Ex-Ministers have determined as the thing above all wanted at the present juncture. What can it be ?
Does it relate to foreign affairs ? Is busy Lord PALMERSTON going to move for an inquiry into the Afghan war? a scrutiny which must bring such credit to his party ! Or will he propose to annul the pacifying treaty with America—we beg his Lordship's pardon, " the Ashburton capitulation," in disparagement of which be has written so touch during the recess ?
Or bokiog at home, is it to be some thoroughgoing political reviver—a new Reform Bill? Is Lord Jona RUSSELL going to pro- pose the Charter, in the expectation of being borne back to office, MELBOURNE accompanying, on the shoulders of " the million " ? Lord Joni( indeed may think, and truly, that just at the present moment pure politics would obtain less attention than econo- mics; and perhaps we are to have something of startling interest in that kind of wares—Repeal of the Corn-law, for instance, " total and itrimediate"; the League being the army that is to lift the Cmsar on the shield. Or are we to be relieved of the Income- tax; Lord JOHN the St. George to lay that dragon?
The challenge to a contest implies that there is to be something worth fighting about ; and to beat the Conservatives, who beat the Whigs at bidding for power with economical " boons," the Ex- Ministers must be very liberal in their offers—very; because if they were only rather more liberal than the Conservatives, people would remember that PEEL'S performance comes so much nearer to his pro- mise, and that such a large discount must be deducted from the Whig promise: so, to realize a nett expectation higher than the Conserva- tives, who are in possession, the promise of the Whigs must be very great indeed. A little advance on their own old measures would scarcely do. Afive-shilling fixed corn-duty, for instance, would be almost as bad as the Whig Budget itself: besides, it was displayed, hypothetically, last session ; it has been shop-marked, and is now unsaleable. No; if Corn-laws are to be the subject matter, nothing short of " total repeal" will answer now. If Income-tax repeal is the thing, what is to be done with the revenue ? Perhaps the Whigs, returning to office on the strength of that victory, might leave the revenue to shift for itself for another five or ten years, and public credit along with it : there's no knowing what might " turn up" in the interval; and at the worst, resignation would rid the Liberal statesmen of the consequences, and throw them again on nobody but PEEL and the taxpayers.