THE TORY CABINET.
THE new Tory Cabinet is sufficiently strong, and looks the stronger that it rises as a whole so high above the level of the party which is to support it. As hills which stand up sheer from the level of the sea always look a good deal higher than hills of the same height which themselves rise out of a respectably high tableland, the few "talents" of the Tory party make all the more show for the exceedingly dead level out of which they tower, while the talents of the Liberal party are at best but a selection of the higher eminences in an undu- lating region of many slopes and uplands. Still, whatever be the reason, it would be uncandid to deny that the list of the new Ministry conveys an impression of efficiency and perhaps of somewhat forbidding strength which did not belong at all to the Tory Cabinet of either 1852 or 1858. The only ele- ments in it which convey a slight impression of imbecility as compared with the Ministry which it has superseded, are the reappointments of the ancient heads of the War and Naval Departments. That the image of Sir John Pakington fatigues the mind after the able administration of the Duke of Somer- set, and that we regret the new broom in the War Office when we see it replaced by that rapidly aging, if still serviceable, household instrument which is wielded by General Peel, cannot be denied ; and no doubt Lord Chelmsford is but a bare equivalent for Lord Cranworth, who was himself wear- ing rather close to the stump. But after these deductions are made,—and also of course that great and inevitable deduction that has been before all men's minds whenever a change of Administration has been thought of, the exchange of Mr. Gladstone's free, fertile, and eager inventive genius in the financial department for Mr. Disraeli's skilfully acted humdrum, we do not know that there is any change of personnel which, apart from political considerations, we could speak of as clearly for the worse, while there are at least four important offices in which the change is from weaker to stronger men, though it may be that in one or two of these cases the strength is harnessed to prejudices which are the more dangerous, the more considerable is the personal force of which they dispose.
The change which is by far the most important,—and not less important for the present if the war is at an end, than it would have been during a prolonged war,—is of course the appointment of Lord Stanley to the Foreign Office, of which. we spoke at length last week. This is the only change which could. be regarded as securing the new Government against a reactionary policy—to which, indeed, it might other- -wise be thought rather more disposed than even the Tory Government of 1858. Whatever Lord Stanley may do, he certainly will not commit England to any romantic crusade in favour of superannuated international arrangements or expiriag political traditions. He is as much stronger, as much more competent to say no' to international blandish:- merits than Lord Clarendon, as Lord Clarendon was than
Lord Malmesbury, and hence in the administrator of the Foreign Office the Tories have probably got two steps in, advance of their own former Government, and one step in.
advance of the Whigs themselves. Lord Stanley, too, in the- Foreign Office is as much more influential, as much more-
likely to give the tone to the Government, than Lord Stanley- at the India Office, as Europe is more closely intertwined than. India with our general pulley. In times like these, foreign: policy gives a certain colour to the whole Administration, and the Minister therefore who shapes that policy, or permits it to shape itself, must have a corresponding weight in the general counsels of the Cabinet. Lord Stanley will probably, too, give- a character and expression of its own, not without dignity and imperiousness, if also not without an almost forbidding in- sularity, to our neutral policy ; and no one can deny that if we- axe to be strictly neutral, it is far better for England's position. that we should be known everywhere to be neutral by distinct purpose and volition, than that we should appear to keep clear of international obligations by the mere hesitating timidity and caution of courtly complaisance. Even a misanthrope- who dares to be himself has probably more social respect and. influence than a conciliator. Lord St-galley, even if he only pursues Lord Clarendon's policy, may at least give it an air- of more purpose and significance—an air of being defined, matured, and resolute, rather than of being politically acci- dental and adapted to the moment. Lord Stanley may give a- faintly forbidding air to our foreign policy, but even a rather forbidding frown is perhaps a better general expression of countenance than an insipid smile. The Tories will have no slight gain, if they can improve not only upon poor Lord_ Malmesbury's fussy cluck as he laid his addled eggs of proposals. for Conferences that were not to be, but on Lord Clarendon's- simper of official neutrality, and get us credit for holding aloof on principle from negotiations which it is not our inten- tion to join. What the Administration may gain or lose by Lord Cran- borne's Indian administration it is of course impossible yet. to foresee. But his overbearing and rather aggressive Toryism could scarcely have been better insulated than by plunging him into the depths of departmental work, in which there is- ample room for the most vigorous ability and little scope for traditional prejudices. Lord Cranborne can scarcely bring his hatred of republicanism and democracy to bear on the affairs of an empire where democracy and republicanism in the political sense of the words are almost without meaning. If he- transfers his faith in English landlords to the Indian Zemindars. and Talookdars, he will only be following in the steps of Lord_ Canning, and convicting his T.ory colleague Lord Stanley of having awarded Lord Canning some years ago undeserved and presumptuous blame. Anyhow, his new and onerous duties as Indian Secretary will fully task his certainly not inconsider- able abilities, and at the same time serve as a sort of non- conducting medium to separate him from the field of European• and domestic affairs. Indian details may perhaps act as buffers- between Lord Cranborne and the antipathies he has the happy art of exciting so rapidly and expressing so powerfully. It may be that he will still make the Cabinet too Tory to last, for he at least is rather Tory than Conservative, and can scarcely speak without dropping keenly reactionary sentiments. But if there is any office in which departmentally active Toryism is pro- bably less likely to be mischievous than steady-going, sure- footed Conservatism, it is the Indian Office, where the- spirit of mere Conservatism might well be almost more pre- judicial than that of injudicious innovation on which there- are a thousand checks and restraints, while Toryism (of the- English type) has not much whereon to feed itself, and might easily die from inanition. For while Toryism needs a state of things analogous to that on which it was brought up to become dangerous—all which scarcely exists in India,—Conservatism. takes up with whatever it finds, and stoutly resists all change . If Lord Cranborne's judgment on matters on which he has not yet contracted prejudices turn out to be as sound, as it will doubtless be courageous and even combative, he may make a. very able Indian Secretary, in spite of prepossessions which_ vitiate all his English polities. Lord Cranborne is obviously no trifling addition to the fighting power of the Cabinet ; and in the Indian Office he has a good chance of proving that he can add something also to the strength of the position which it will become their duty to defend. Mr. Gathorne Hardy has far less native ability than Lord Cranborne, and in succeeding
Mr. Villiers he will certainly succeed a man of more natural capacity than himself, and who has, moreover, exerted himself beyond his wont during the lateAdministration to unearth abuses of the worst kind, and to guard against them for the future when once exposed. There is something,—a shade, let us say,—of the loutish. rural mind about Mr. Gathorne Hardy's squirearchical intelligence. The Oxford undergraduates of the opposite party have discerned this, and in one of their best caricatures have re- presented the University as Titania and him as Bottom on whom she is showering her infatuated caresses. Still he has studied law sufficiently to put a certain edge on to his somewhat heavy mind, and is boasted by his friends to be nearly the best Quarter Sessions magistrate in England. He is a humane and a painstaking man, and if he is rather stiff in favour of Quarter- Sessions principles and precedents with regard to the country Unions, he will have no temptation to palliate the abuses of the town Guardians, which seem at present to be the worst of the two. Mr. Gathorne Hardy will scarcely add much repute to the Administration with the public, but he may give a firmness to the confidence of the Conservative squires, who do not like to be too much governed by " the talents," and do like to see good common-place Conservative fears and dreads and aversions expressed by some at least of their leaders in the strong natural dialect of not very wise but decidedly " propertied " men.
Sir Stafford Northcote, who was only financial Secretary to the Treasury in the last Tory Administration, will add to it a considerable amount of thoughtful, intelligent, temperate Conservative common sense, though again not too lively for the common purposes of life ; for it may be fairly said of Sir Stafford, in Wordsworth's beautiful language, that he is "A creature not too bright or good For human nature's daily food."
Still.though not too bright or good for home consumption, he is certainly what the country tradesmen call " a very superior article " for a Conservative Board of Trade. He is not a full equivalent perhaps for Mr. Henley's strong mother-wit, but Mr. Henley, it is said, will still join the Cabinet in some quiet office, like the Duchy of Lancaster, so that Sir Stafford will practically be the equivalent for Mr. Sotheron Estcourt in the last Tory Administration, and a very good equivalent too. As Mr. Mill reminded his constituents the other day, Sir Stafford Northcote, though a Conservative, is actually an innovator on a subject of no less moment than opening the Civil Service to general competition. He is indeed in every respect a reasonable man ; a man of active understanding, and with party feelings more perfectly tempered by intelligence than most of his colleagues. He has always been thoroughly candid to the originality of Mr. Gladstone's finance, and is in some sense a guarantee, if Englishmen needed any such gua- rantee, that on financial matters Mr. Disraeli is not likely to persuade the Cabinet to take any backward step. That indeed in England is what even the strongest Tory seldom thinks of doing, but Sir Stafford Northcote will probably do more than this. His influence with Mr. Disraeli is likely to be considerable, and he may, we think, even prevail on him to carry out the general line of policy which Mr. Gladstone has already sketched. Party for party, Sir Stafford Northcote is a stronger appointment than Mr. Milner Gibson. Nor can we doubt that, even without this reservation, Lord Carnarvon will be a better Colonial Secretary than Mr. Card- well. All we know of Lord Carnarvon is that he has shown great industry and uniform good sense with signs of what, when combined with industry and good sense, is the best of all qualities in a Parliamentary statesman, a decided will of his own. He has taken a more prominent position hitherto on questions of social reform than of political reform. In the latter indeed he has rather receded since he entered public life. Still there is nothing of Mr. Cardwell's hollow formal- ism about him. He is not likely to be the Mr. Legality of the new Administration. He would not, we think, after recalling Sir Charles Darling with well merited but harshly expressed censure from Victoria, have stood in an attitude of meditative doubt as to what he ought to do with regard to Mr. Eyre in Jamaica, who had not only in one case been guilty of as decided a breach of law as Sir Charles Darling, and that in a case involving a political opponent's life, but had entirely ignored the outrageous spirit of cruelty and bloodthirstiness shown in his own military subordinates' des- patches, and had voluntarily prolonged their power by permit- ting martial law far beyond the period at which he himself had ceased to think the danger pressing. In Lord Carnarvon, if we have what we expect, we shall find a Colonial Secretary far less showy and stagey, far more industrious and useful than his last Conservative predecessor, Sir Bulwer Lytton, and less of a formalist, more real, than his immediate Liberal prede- cessor, Mr. Cardwell.
On the whole the deficiency of the new Government lies certainly not in its personnel, which, " for such creatures as we are in such a world as the present," is tolerably strong,— but in its principles, and in the intrinsic difficulty of ruling by a Parliamentary minority. The peace which appears to be so suddenly and unexpectedly descending upon Europe will aggravate Lord Derby's difficulties, as it will diminish the value and importance of his strongest Minister's (Lord Stanley's) ser- vices as soon as the negotiations of the first few months are passed, and compel him to grapple once more with the question on which every Government shatters itself,—Reform. He may stave it off perhaps for a few months by the ingenious artifice of a Royal Commission, but it is the inevitable rock on which he cannot help steering before long. Nor is it credible that a Government containing Lord Cranborne and Mr. Gathorne Hardy amongst its prominent supporters, can pro- duce a solution of that question which will satisfy the Liberal feeling of the country without exciting its Conservative fears. If Lord Derby satisfies the Liberals, which is very unlikely, he will be deserted by his own supporters both within and out- side the Cabinet ; if he does not, he will be beaten by the mere conditions of the problem, since a Reform Bill which does not please Reformers, and is not desired by the opponents of Reform, is destitute of the first elements of vitality—a party eager to carry it over the many obstructions in its path.