THE MEN OF THE LATE PARLIAMENT.
THE long Parliament has witnessed extensive and decisive changes among the crowd of public men ; time and events com- bining their mutations. We do not mean the mere disintegra- tion of parties,—for, call it party, or what you please, there will Ilways be some classification by which it will be convenient col- lectively to designate public men,—but numerous changes in the "edition of individuals. The old favourites, indeed, still lead the van,—Sir Robert Peel
who , has beenfacile princeps since "the hurried Hudson" sough i t him n the Vatican ; and Lord John Russell, great with the tra- ditions of the Reform Bill. Palmerston is the St. Leon of poli- tics: time advances for others, but as for him, at each generation you have only to look for him, and he turns up according to pat- tern, in untarnished brilliancy : whether for speech or despatch, he is to this day as good as new. Sir James Graham enjoys his own immortality : he pursues the even tenour of his way, an English country Phocion of fortune, not too deferential towards the many, not too studious of appearances in the way of consist- ency, but only becoming more and more wedded to a sort of ho- nest hardheaded sense according to his lights ; a valuable man, and more valued than some of us will believe until we lose him. Roebuck was still the aquafortis for testing official and patriotic metal; though the ungrateful sectarian cliques of Bath have done their best to put him out of use for a time. Hume is among the elders, for whom exemptions of age seem a supererogation. "Tom Duncombe" still "sacrifices the pleasures of youth" to serve his country as tribune of the people ; and Charles Buller, for all he is Judge-Advocate-General, is as great a wag as ever—the Colonies may mourn his averted eye, but he cannot be a renegade to his own wit. These and others are accompanying the age in its pro- gress, with more or less of elasticity in their step. Some keep up beyond expectation, endowed with a sort of posthumous existence exceeding the ordinary term of political life. Men of history, they are also men of present life ; they figure both in the books on our shelves and in the newspapers on our table. Such is Lord Lansdowne, whose history goes back beyond the memory of man, until it is confounded with that of Sir William Petty ; yet he is still leader of the House of Lords. Such the Duke of Wellington, whose history begins in the mythic times of Indian conquest ; yet he is still active at the Horse Guards, and not yet free from pleasant impertinences of hymeneal gossip. Such Brougham, ending as he began, the most resistless of advocates.
Many whom we remember in the vigour of political action, though yet alive in the flesh, are gradually yielding to the be-. numbing influences of fatigue or disappointed ambition, and their silence deepens. Some are gone. O'Connell is no more, Lord Melbourne is only remembered, not without regret : he took leave at Fishmonger's Hall in 1845, bequeathing his shield to Sir Ro- bert Peel. Lyndhurst went out when Peel left office: his clear sense survives ; his biting keenness yielded to time, and his last political sally was one befitting the benignity of years—his ro- mantic attempt to reconcile old friends. Stanhope's existence may be learned from the Peerage. Monteagle revels in the km; sponsibilities of a green superannuation. Richmond and Buck- ingham, Rip Van Winkles of politics, cannot understand the al- manacks, nor the newspapers, nor the events of the day, nor 'The countenances they meet, nor the voices they hear. Born to a sinecure instead of the camp, Ellenborough blazed his hour in the propitious sun of India, and reposes on the gates of Somnanth: he is his own monumental trophy, reclining in picturesque silence, while beauty perfects with its homage the symmetry of the group. Stanley, whose somewhat forward youth betrayed the public into the mistake that he was a powerful statesman as well as a sharp debater, is no longer baited like a mad dog to see if he will bite, but enjoys the repose due to his comparatively harmless character ; having at last succeeded in convincing people of their mistake. Lord Grey, the son of the Reform Bill Lord Grey, once attained repute as a Colonial Reformer—he is now Colonial Secretary. Lord Morpeth is growing very grey, and last session he forgot that he had a bill to carry, though it happened to be the one on which he had staked his reputation : however, people only laughed, for Lord Morpeth is such a goodnatured old gentle- man I These are gone or going, a goodly company ; pleasant fellows, some of them, in their day ; smart, some of them were, or accounted so ; all busy in their time: and who grudges them a quiet evening or pleasant dreams ? If many are gone, others are come : the long Parliament has witnessed the birth or growth of many a man who will bear his part right well in years unseen. Strangely enough, at their head may be counted Peel, in his new avatar ; for he it is that gave most life to the distinguishing spirit which animates all the new men—practical improvement instead of party combination. Richard Cobden began his Parliamentary career in 1841, and in 1847 enters on a new career likely to bring not less personal dis- tinction; especially if Cobden has turned his travelled leisure to full account, and, Free Trade being settled and disposed of, proves to be more than a mere Free-trader. It was in the long Parliament that Lord Dalhousie earned his Indian Governorship; in the long Parliament that Peel discovered the Lincolns and Sidney Herberts, who, born amid old Tory connexions, had the faculties of head and heart required for rescuing their country from the exuvise of defunct faction and showing that English gentlemen were not a fossil race with vitality extinct. Among the new men we must persist in reckoning Lord Clarendon; whose Dublin address evinces a spirit worthy of the period noir opening upon us. Of those associated with the long Par- Bement, and destined to impart life and intellectual vivacity to the next, whatever the precise place the turn of events may allot them, are Disraeli, Smythe, Osborne, and other young or young- ish men of free spirit. Strangely placed among the new men is Lord George Bentinck—a bran new imitation of old Toryism, raised like a "ruin" in a citizen's garden, to ammo if not to edify.
Nor are we without a number of grave practical men, full of knowledge and vigour, like James Stuart or Lord Redesdale—of a no less earnest sincerity, like Lord Wharncliffe or Lord Ash- ley—who bring to the work of legislation honest and intelligent purpose. We have ample resources whence to repair the losses of tune and supply materials for our Parliamentary history.