NEWS OF THE WEEK.
AIR. GLADSTONE introduced his great Irish Church measure in on Monday in a speech of marvellous art, in which he spread out a mass of detail enough to have crushed any other orator with a lucidity of exposition that made the process more interesting even to ordinary members than the growth of living expression on a block of marble under a great sculptor's hand. He explained that, technically speaking, he proposed complete disendowmeut from the passing of the Act by immediately vesting the whole property of the Irish Church, including the tithe rent-charges, in a Commission invested with certain trusts. Disestablishment would take place from a date at present fixed as 1st January, 1871, after which all connection with the State ceases, and no bishop or archbishop can again sit in the House of Lords. The Commission would be appointed for ten years, within which it is hoped that it may complete its functions. The Protestant Church would be freed from all disabilities as to collective action, and as soon as it could present to the Crown a constitution fairly representative of " bishops, clergy, and laity " alike, the Government would advise Her Majesty to incorporate this body, as they are empowered to do under the Bill, as the new (disestablished) Church.
The first trust of the provisional Commission would be that for paying the life-incomes of bishops, incumbents, permanent curates, &c., conditionally on the discharge of their duty. But the Bill gives power, on the application of such incumbents, to commute this life-income for a fixed sum to be handed over to the new Church corporation, charged with the same trust, unless the incumbent releases the Church corporation from that trust. The new Church will thus have every facility for re-arranging the duties and economizing its resources. All private endowmenta,—gifts to the Church since 1660,—would be handed over to the newly incorporated churches,—the fabrics of the churches,—being unmarketable property,—and the fabrics of the glebe houses, after repayment to the Government of the heavy building charges still remaining upon them,—would be given freely to the new Church, if it would agree to accept and maintain them. The Presbyterian professors endowed by Parliament, and the ministers receiving Regium Donum are to be dealt with and have their life-incomes commuted in like manner, and the trustees of Maynooth College, and trustees for the General Assembly of Presbyterians, are to have fourteen times the annual sum now voted them, in final discharge of their claims. The tithe rentcharge will be sold at 22i years' purchase to the landlords, and the sum vested in the Commission. The life and other interests once satisfied, the surplus is to be devoted to maintaining pauper lunatic asylums, idiot asylums, infirmaries, and hospitals for the 'poor, now charged on the county cess, but utterly inadequate to the wants of the people,—an application of the balance which the Roman Catholic priests have always desired, and which is strictly within the ecclesiastical meaning of the term " spiritual uses." Mr. Gladstone called these first charges in round numbers £8,500,000. Thus there would remain a fund of about £7,500,000 disposable for Irish national purposes. The interest on this sum Mr. Gladstone allots thus:—
Mr. Gladstone's great speech concluded with a very powerful peroration. " I can well understand," he said, " that to many in the Irish Establishment such a change appears to be nothing less than ruin and destruction. From the height at which they now stand, the future is to them an abyss ; and their fears recall the words used in King Lear, when Edgar endeavours to persuade Gloucester that ho has fallen over the cliffs of Dover, and says :—
"' Ton masts on each make not tho altitude
Which thou hast perpendicularly fell ; Thy life's a miracle.'
And yet but a little while after the old man is relieved from his delusion, and finds he has not fallen at all." He knew well the punishments which ought to fall on " those Phaetons of politics who, with hands unequal to the task, attempt to guide the chariot of the sun." But he and his colleagues were sanguine of the bane. He was convinced that "when the words were spoken which would give the force of law to this measure, the words of peace and justice,—they would be echoed upon every shore where the name of Ireland or of Great Britain has been beard, and the answer to them would conic back in the approving shout of civilized mankind."
Mr. Disraeli's comment on the speech was a curious one. Mr. Gladstone, he said, " had not wasted a word ;" " but those with whom I have the honour of acting" still " look upon disestablishmeat as a great political error," and on disendowment as "sheer confiscation." Ile intended to resist, but not then, as the country had announced its desire that Mr. Gladstone should have " au opportunity of dealing with the Irish Church." The speech was tame, and it seems clear that Mr. Disraeli would let the Church go.; but Sir S. Northcote on Wednesday told the Conservatives of Middlesex that the Bill involved a "gigantic robbery" and a colossal scheme of bribery, and Sir J. Pakington thanked God for a House of Lords. it is now announced that the party will divide against the second reading, and it may be presumed that the more violent members have carried the day. They trust, however, mainly to the House of Lords, where their leader is Mr. Disraeli's
man. • The second reading of the Irish Church Bill is to be taken on Thursday, the 18th of March, and the debate is to be concluded and the division taken before Easter.
General Grant's address, on assuming office as President on Thursday, has been telegraphed in full by Mr. Reuter's agent. It is certainly short and good. He takes the oath to the Constitution " without mental reservation." He will express his views to Congress when he thinks it desirable. He will veto bills of which he disapproves. But all laws will be faithfully executed, whether they meet with his approval or not. " I know no method
to secure the repeal of obnoxious laws so effectual as their stringent execution." That is a home stroke. General Grant announces his view of government in strictly Benthamite language. " The greatest good of the greatest number," he says, " is the object to be attained." " To secure the national honour, every dollar of the Government indebtedness should be paid in gold, unless otherwise expressly stipulated at the time of being contracted." General Grant speaks as one having authority, and not as Mr. Johnson, who vanishes now,—finally, we trust,—from the political eminence which he has disfigured and disgraced.
Congress has passed a Bill declaring that all bonds of the United States shall be paid in gold, unless the contract specifies paper. So ends the chatter about repudiation.
France has lost a considerable name in Lamartine, who died on Monday, but little more. He was a fair poet of the second order; as good a historian as a man can be who is accurate and inaccurate by chance, and as able a politician as a splendid orator, half Canning, half Shiel, of perfect uprightness, immovable courage, and total incapacity for business could be expected to become. It was his fortune to have one supreme chance, such as only a poet orator at the head of a government could have used, and he used it splendidly. In February, 1847, seventy thousand Parisians, half mad with Socialist hopes, demanded that the Red Flag should become the standard of France, and threatened Lamartine with death if he refused. With their muskets pointing at him as he stood unguarded, he refused point-blank, and made his one remembered speech. " The tricolour has made the round of Europe with your liberties and your glory ; the red flag has made the tour of the Champ de Mars through the blood of the people." That " bit of peppered tongue," as Charles Reade has it, soothed the leopard for the hour, and France and England escaped the war of propagandism which would have followed the adoption of the Red symbol. Latterly Lamartine's fancy for living en grand seigneur kept him in pecuniary difficulties, which a State annuity of £1,000 a year but partially relieved, as in France it is considered discreditable not to pay just debts.
Lord Gough died on Tuesday, the 2nd inst. The son of a Limerick squire, he fought his way up to a viscountcy, a baton, and a fortune, by virtue of every quality of a good soldier. Good general he was not, he rather despised strategy, threw away the lives of too many men, and had a sort of Homeric fancy for fighting with his own hand. But General Havelock, no mean judge, said he was the bravest man who ever lived, a man with a lust for danger ; he excited the warmest attachment in his soldiers, and his simple strategy succeeded almost as well as Suwarrow's. He never lost a battle,—for Chillianwallah, though a terrible business, was not lost,—and at Gujerat, where, for the first time in his life, he took advice and let artillery have fair play, he destroyed the most dangerous enemy, save Hyder, we ever encountered in India. The victory was due in no slight degree to the reckless daring with which he inspired all under his command, and England has good cause to say " Peace to the brave !"
The Act of 1845, which enabled the Government to seize and condemn Brazilian slave-traders, even in their qwn waters, has done its work, and is to be repealed. Slaves do not now enter Brazil. The Act, judged by the law of nations was unjust ; but judged by the higher law, which declares man-stealing piracy, was perfectly right,—just as right as it would be for Europe to offer Portugal the alternative of emancipation or coercion. We threatened Bombs for a much less offence against civilization. We may add, that there is some reason to believe the Act was not quite as offensive to the Government of Brazil as they wished the slavebolders to believe.
Lord Salisbury is " fretting himself to fiddlestrings," as the popular phrase is, for want of work, the management of some thirty thousand acres, and a railway which cost £26,000,000, being for him byplay. He has accordingly brought in a Bill to allow Bills not finished at the end of the session to be taken up at the point reached before the prorogation. At present they must be taken up afresh. Lord Granville, who also would like a little more work, assented to the principle of the Bill, but suggested and carried a proposal to refer it and the whole conduct of business to a joint Committee of Lords and Commons, which will decide whether the time for certain constitutional jealousies about money bills is not passed away. We fear Lord Salisbury's Bill will be rejected by the Commons, as it was twenty years ago. They will fear that the Lords, if enabled to postpone bills over a session, will postpone them indefinitely, and so exercise a practical veto on
popular-legislation. Lord Salisbury will yet have to bring in a Bill authorizing electors to send Peers of the realm into the Commonsrwhere they could-do something besides asking for work.
Those Scotch are leading the way again. The poor-rate in Scotland, imposed in 1845 against fierce remonstrances from Dr. Chalmers and others, who foresaw that it would destroy thrift, has risen from 1295,000 to £863,000, and the Scotch will not stand it. Mr. Cranfurd accordingly demanded a select committee, and of course got it, though his speech pointed to the repeal of the Act of 1845. The Lord Advocate did not attempt to defend the Poor Law, though he said it was impossible to go back,—why ?—and the Committee will therefore sit. Its resolutions and the evidence will then be considered by the Scotch Members all by themselves, a bill will be drawn up and passed with as little chatter as possible, and the grievance will be removed at once. English grievances are removed after seven years.
Mr. Dyke Acland on Tuesday asked for his Committee of Inquiry into the relation between agriculture and the State, with a view, as he admitted, to the creation of a bureau of agriculture within the Board of Trade. This bureau would attend to such matters as the cattle plague, agricultural statistics, cottage building, land transfers, the copyhold and enclosure Acts, the highway laws, and the customs affecting compensation for out-going tenants, all of which subjects are now scattered among the Departments. The speech, though gritty with suggestions, was a good one, but Mr. Bright would not give the Committee. He thought the circumlocution could be avoided by departmental arrangements, which is quite true, but the tendency of his speech was to deprecate any relation between agriculture and the State. He made the House laugh by saying agriculture was like the woman who sent for her doctor because she never was so well in her life, and advised farmers to trust to " sun, showers, and industry." How any of those useful forces are to correct the game laws, or verify statistics, or collect facts about the malt tax, or collate county accounts he did not attempt to show, nor did he explain. why rain and sunshine should be less in an organized society than in an anarchical one.
The Government is cutting down expenditure as well as it can. Mr. Childers has reduced the estimates for the Navy from £10,806,690 to £9,680,293, showing a nominal decrease of. £1,286,397, and a real decrease, after certain matters of account are taken in, of £957,357. The decrease is in all departments, but the men are only reduced. by some 2,000, and dockyards and building contracts are still down for £1,853,074, so we are not putting an end to building. A great deal more will be done next year, when the foreign stations have been re-arranged. Mr. Cardwell also has knocked off £1,225,000, and only 11,355 men, being at the usual rate of more than £100 per man. The garrison of Great Britain will not, however, be decreased. This is well so far; but every soldier, what with pay, and officers, and staff, and supplies, still costs as much as a curate, or more than £2 a week.
The Lord Chancellor has dismissed Mr. Edward Watkins Edwards, the official assignee, for breach of duty in accepting £5,000 a year from Messrs. 0 verend, Gurney, and Co. Lord Hatherley, of course, passes no opinion on the transactions involved, confining himself to the clear fact that Mr. Edwards had no business to undertake such work, and did undertake it.
Mr. Lowe on Thursday night produced a new Bill for Abyssinia of £3,600,000. Mr. Disraeli promised that the expedition should cost only £3,000,000, then the estimate was raised to £5,000,000, and now it appears that the Government of Bombay alone has spent £7,000,000, and the total charge is £8,600,000, with, if we know Indian accountants, a good deal more behind. Well, we must pay it, of course, but the business is disgraceful to the capacity of the departments. We spend in England and India just £36,0b0,000 on Army and Navy, and then cannot send ten thousand men to a shore six days from Bombay without spending four millions on sea transport, and nine millions altogether. The Prussian Government would have conquered Arabia for half the money. We should like to know, too, how the original estimates came to be so wrong, and especially who got that four millions ? The old Indian fleet used to do work cheaper than that.
The Emperor of the French has thrown over M. Hausmann, but has not dismissed him. M. Ronher, to the terror of all his colleagues, has formally admitted that the Prefect of the Seine . raised money by illegal loans, that his transactions with the
Credit Foncier were irregular, and that the State ought not to connect itself with monetary companies. He admits that Paris must have a loan of £18,000,000, which he wishes to raise in two instalments. The Chamber is more than half inclined to throw out the bill, but we presume it will pass in the end, and M. BIIISSMOSM will remain. Parisians are very angry at his enormous outlays, one of which at least, the destruction of the Rue de la Pair, was a wanton waste of good money ; but when all is eaid, there is Paris,—cheap at the forty millions she has cost.
Mr. Kiuglake and Mr. Vanderbyl (both Liberals) were unseated for Bridgewater yesterday week by Mr. Justice Blackburn, the judge, however, exonerating them from any knowledge of the corrupt practices which took place ; he reported that corrupt practices did extensively prevail, and no doubt a Commission of Inquiry will be sent down to Bridgewater. At Bodmin Mr. Justice Willes declared the election of Mr. Levenson Gower (Liberal) good, and as pure and creditable an election as had ever taken place. The same judge (Mr. Justice Willes) also declared the election of Mr. R. N. Fowler and Mr. E. B. Eastwick (both Conservatives) for Penryn and Falmouth, valid, yesterday week. At Salford on Tuesday Mr. Baron Martin delivered a rather curious and doubtful judgment in favour of Messrs. Cawley and Chorley (Conservatives), not, however, giving them their costs. He went so far as to say that " if at another election " an equal amount of intimidation, cab-hiring, and treating occurred, "he was far from .saying that it would not be the duty of the judge to arrive at a 'different conclusion from his own, "—a rather ambiguous judgment. Mr. Justice O'Brien's decision at Youghal, in declaring the seat of Mr. Weguelin (Liberal) valid, seems to have been equally ambiguous. He, too, refused him costs, condemned the expenditure as excessive, and reserved for another Court the question whether Mr. Weguelin's treating in the hotel, when he was already a candidate, was, or was not, treating under the Act. Some of the judges seem to be making a policy of mercy, even against their own better judgment and the wish of the country.
The Americans, whatever else they are fair in, are certainly by no means disposed to do unto others as they would have others do unto them, with regard to recognizing belligerents. Their House of Representatives has passed resolutions sympathizing with Spain in its revolution, and authorizing the President to recognize the independence of Cuba whenever a Republican form of government is, in his opinion, there established. When England recognized only the belligerent character of the South, it was taken as proof positive that we did not, and could not, sympathize with the North in the revolution through. which it was passing.
Mr. Austin Bruce, on moving on Thursday for the Committee to inquire if any better mode of conducting elections could not be -devised, openly declared himself for the Ballot, and admitted that for his part it was secret voting he wanted. Mr. Gladstone, however, declared that the Government accepted the inquiry with out any preconceived conclusion, and only held the Ballot to be a possible solution of the difficulty. Of course the committee will report in its favour. Of course it will be tried, and equally, of -coarse, it will produce some good results, and a great many more evil results. We confess we don't believe in the committee. There is nothing to find out about the matter.
Mr. Fawcett was unlucky in bringing in his motion to throw the expenses of elections on the constituencies on a day (Wednesday) when the leading members of the Government were gone to Court. Mr. Ayrton, who does not go to Court, spoke for the Government, and did Mr. Fawcett's motion as much harm as he possibly could while nominally supporting it. It was rejected by a majority of 3 ; 168 against it to 165 for it.
Mr. Robert Buchanan's second reading of selections from his own poems at the Hanover Square Rooms took place on Wednesday, and in spite of many harshnesses, and many faults arising from what seems to the hearer, especially in particular parts of particular poems, a painful amount of effort and self-consciousness, was certainly a remarkable performance, of which none who heard it could have failed to appreciate the power. Mr. Buchanan, indeed, when aiming at prettiness of manner, and sprinkling his emphatic and somewhat artificial bass-tones over sentences wherein he makes a. violent. rush at feminine sensibilities, and misses,. is nob attractive. " Liz "—perhaps the finest of his poems—was to ua suffering, especially where she dwelt on the baby ; and " 3110.1.4ittle Milliner" with her burning chestnuts was well nigh making us wish to vanish into the floor. But "Poet Andrew" was read with agreat deal of strongpathos, and " The Battle of Drumliemoor," in spite of a little too much of the setteeth' enunciation, carried us entirely away, before the close, with the solemn, but lucid rapidity of its movement,—the reciter bringing every feature of the scene before us with a new force and vividness, and sometimes entirely losing himself in the stern rapture of the tragedy. This was the more striking, that to an ordinary reader the metre and rhythm, though exceedingly fine, are less simple, and need more art to bring them out, than those of any other of the pieces recited. Besides this, the reading of "The Starling,"—a most original poem, gruff, simple, humorous, melancholy in conception,—and " The Wake of Tim O'Hara "—an unpublished poem, among Mr. Buchanan's best, for precisely the. same qualities,—was very simple and telling, an unmixed pleasure to the audience, and a new light to the student of the author's poetry. Mr. Buchanan's voice is very powerful, and rich when it is not harsh.
We seem to have had sufficient insight into the law of the Bishop of Capetown's wonderful legendary faculty, to have anticipated justly last week that the explanation to be given on behalf of the Duke of Buckingham and the late Government would directly traverse his facts. On Monday a statement explicitly. official appeared in the Times, in answer to Dr. Gray's assertions, which, says the reply, were evidently written " without referring to documents." " An examination of the papers and letters shows that all letters received from his lordship were met by prompt acknowledgment and attention." The letters which miscarried, as afterwards recapitulated by Dr. Gray himself, had no reference at all to the new bishop of the proposed schism. The Prime Minister saw Dr. Gray for a few minutes on the 8th October, "but did not gather from his lordship's remarks any specific object of his visit beyond a complaint of not receiving a certain communication from the Duke of Buckingham." Whatever be the truth as to the late Government's sympathies in the matter, it is quite certain that the Bishop of Capetown's evidence on matter", of fact relating to this subject is simply worthless. The dire:m.0p. ancies of which he convicts those with whom he deals concerning it, are only discrepancies between his own wishes and their actions.
Mr. Gladstone mentioned one very curious point in his great speech on Monday,—that Dean Swift, who was Vicar of Laraeor before he was Dean of St. Patrick's, and had presented the vicarage with 19 acres, had otherwise improved and decorated it, and had endowed it with certain tithes, left these tithes in trust for " the episcopal religion, the established in Ireland," and then provided that in case of disestablishment the tithes should be administered "for the benefit of the poor ;" and this, though he wrote that the Irish Catholics were then so down-trodden and insignificant that no possible change could ever bring them into a position of importance. This augury of disestablishment must have been a rooted idea with him, for in Stella's (Esther Johnson's) will, dated 30th December, 1727, she leaves £1,000 to endow a chaplaincy in "Stevens's Hospital, St. James's Street, Dublin," adding, "and if it shall happen (which God forbid !) that at any time the established episcopal Church of this kingdom shall come to be abolished, and be no longer the national established Church of the kingdom," the bequest is to be null and void, and the property to be diverted to the nearest relative then living. The writer who sends this account of Stella's will to the Times adds the Dean's cynical advice to the Rector of Cashel, as to how to get his dilapidated church repaired, " Give it to the Papists, they will restore it, and put it in good order, and then you can take it from them afterwards." The Dean had a good notion of the historical rationale of our religious policy in Ireland.