NEWS OF THE WEEK.
IRELAND still occupies the prominent place in Parliament. Ministers have at last encountered, face to face, the active oppo- sition of Mr. O'Connell to their scheme for academical education. The occasion was furnished by going into Committee on the bill ; a motion also opposed by some of Mr. O'Connell's new Tory allies. ,Sir James Graham, however, previously explained a few altera- tions which he has made in the measure : the chief of which are—that the students are to be lodged in licensed boarding- houses; with halls attached, under the care of Principals, subject to the immediate control of the Visiters ; and that provision is to be made for securing a Parliamentary revision in three years time of that part of the bill which relates to the appointment of Professors. Such large concessions did not disarm objection. Lord Mahon moved a resolution proposing that Theological Pro- , fessors should be appointed for the three denominations in Ire- land—Anglo-Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian—to be paid by lecture-fees until the expected private endowments -should be made. Td-this several valid objections were started,— that even a temporary State payment would prevent private en- dowment ; that it would be difficult to enforce fees without some compulsion of sectarian tendency; and that if such provision were made for the three denominations, it should also be made for others, as for the Remonstrant Presbyterians or Unitarians. The amendment was rejected ; but it afforded the oppor- tunity for Mr. O'Connell's assault on Government. His op- .position to the bill professed to go upon two grounds,—the ab- sence of direct provision for the religious instruction of the pu- pils; and the fact that starving disorganized Ireland does not so much need academical instruction as a means to obtain food. In manner, Mr. O'Connell's oratory displayed a great contrast to his Conciliation Hall style; showing that, however substantial and earnest it might appear in some parts, the veteran actor was not unmindful of art nor of the change of audience. His two argu- ments are scarcely worth notice, as here applied. To insist that there shall be no State secular education in Ireland without in- struction in religious dogma, is simply to say that there shall be no State secular instruction • couching the assertion in the same form as Acis and Galatea adopt in Gay's serenade' where they say that they will forsake each other when "the flocks shall leave the moun- tains, the woods the turtle-dove," and so forth,—meaning that they will never forsake each other. To allege the state of Ireland, is 4g neither here nor there." Who has dared to cope with the phy- sical wants of that unhappy land, so that Sir Robert Peel's Adm.. nistraticn can be specially reproached with neglect ? Did the Liberal Ministers? Did the Irish Parliament ? Have Irish Members ? Has any Irish Member ever effected or _proposed a -single enactment that would put a potato into a single Irish mouth ? Meanwhile, the radical grievance of Ireland is its still -savage rudeness of passions, which makes the people obedient only -to an organization againat the law, diligent only in murder: and education must tend to mitigate that ferocity, however slowly and slightly. " Lord-Stanley's bill for giving compensation to Irish tenants is in jeopardy. While its principle is generally admitted, its details meet with a storm of objection from all quarters. Some, however, who admit the principle, think that it ought not-to be made com- pulsory : which appears to be idle enough; forit is granting that Parliament ought to interfere, without enforcing its interference. And indeed, a similar spirit seems to be too prevalent among the -objectors in the House of Lords : they are all landlords ; the para- mount motive with all is anxiety for the "rights " of the landlord ; and their dislike to the details often takes a shape that might be urged against any details to carry out such a principle. The worst
allegation • st the bill is, that it has not the approval of the `Tennie of Land Commissioners : and the assertion derives some
corroboration from the constrained manner of Lord Devon ; who defends the objects and principle of the bill rather than particular provisions. 10 appoint a Commission of practical men to inquire, and then to supersede their recommendations, seems idler than all : for the question here is not one of broad policy, but of detail and practice. Lord Stanley's own behaviour is almost incompre- hensible. He advocates the bill with a kind of random ene that serves only to exasperate dislike; dwelling with most strength on those parts most obnoxious to doubt; supporting them with arguments, hastily thrown out, that will not stand scrutiny ; and then declaring that he will cast the bill into a Select Committee for Peers to deal with it as they please, but to be abandoned if they mutilate it too much. He will not yield an inch, but yet he will not stand by his measure. It is as if he did not really care a jot about it, but only about the gratification of his own pugnacious temper, and bringing himself out of the hobble without confess- ing that he is vanquished. Such is the readiest solution to the conduct of this once immensely-overrated debater and no- statesman.
Mr. Hutt has submitted to the House of Commons a proposi- tion familiar to the readers of the Spectator—that the means hitherto taken for the forcible suppression of the slave-trade have utterly failed ; and that the legitimate means would be, to abstain from compulsory interference, to promote the migration of free Africans to our own Colonies, and so to supersede slavery by the powerful competition of free labour, carried on by the same race, the race best adapted to field-labour in the Tropics. Mg. Hutt found an intelligent supporter in Lord Howick ; who has this ses- sion displayed on many subjects a faculty of thinking so well, that one regrets his backwardness in putting his views into action. Sir Robert Peel had no reply to make to Mr. Hutt, except the easy assumption that he had " exaggerated "—though his data were drawn from official documents—and the easy hope that after all the armed suppression will be successful. Sir Robegt had the advantage that Mr. Hutt's motion seemed to be out of time; since the active cooperation of France gives a new air to the crusade ; and at all events the arrangements with a great nation command so much deference from us as to oblige our awaiting the issue of the fresh experiment. Next year, even that apparent reason will not exist to oppose Mr. Hutt's motion. The vexatious question of Privilege has come before the House of Commons, with thickening perPlexities. The Court of Queen's Bench recently decided against the validity of a warrant issued by the Speaker to arrest Mr. Howard, the attorney ; damages have actually been levied, under that judgment, on the Sergeant- at-Arms ; a Select Committee of the House recommended that a writ of error should be taken out, appealing against the Queen's Bench judgment to all the Judges, and from them, if need be, to the House of Lords ; and that recommendation was the matter debated. The speakers were of three classes,—those, under Mr. Hume's leadership,. who counselled instant and determined resist- ance to all aggression on the privileges of the Commons,. those who, with Sir Robert Inglis, would meekly submit to the Law- Courts, though looking to legislation for future protection ; and those who would take a middle course, appealing for the present - to the ordinary law, but prepared, if that appeal prove adverse in its result, to enforce the privileges of the House by arresting the- Judges or making a military display ; Sir Robert Peel and Lord John Russell joined in the lead of this the predominant p In that view, the recommendation of the Committee was adopted. Whatever may be thought of the way in which the House got into the scrape, there can be no doubt that the difficulties have been suffered to increase until there appiars to be no extrication, but by a violence which would be a practical anachronism, or by legis- lation of the declaratory kind. Meanwhile, the affair remains in the hands of the lawyers • who will find plenty to say—and to be paid for saying—before hie House be again called upon to act.