17 NOVEMBER 1855, Page 1


Pcimic men have occupied the public arena of the week in their personal rather than in their official capacity. Of course, where Pcimic men have occupied the public arena of the week in their personal rather than in their official capacity. Of course, where men like Lord John Russell, Mr. Gladstone, and Lord Palmerston are concerned, the effect of their public acts must be political, must spring from the feeling of the country, and must belong to the political action that is going forward ; but for the time it is with persons rather than events that we have to deal. Lord John Russell found a compensation, in the admiring ap- plause drawn forth by his prepared lecture in Exeter Hall, for the unmannerly hisses that prevented him from being heard in the Guildhall last week. If the ci-devant Premier is no longer the favoured Member for the City, he is still recognized as the senior Member for Christian Education. One of the societies of which Lord Shaftesbury is patron, and of which, it is understood, linen- drapers' assistants and other juniors of the trading classes supply the staple, has commenced a grand series of lectures, and Lord John was selected to preach the first. He chose for his text, " The Obstacles which have retarded Moral and Political Progress"; and, by way of illustrating this theme, he plunged into contro- versy with Samuel Johnson ; combating the thesis of that gigantio and "logical" lexicographer, that the magistrate has a right to persecute innovation, and that the propounder of a new truth can only earn his right of utterance by martyrdom. The Johnsonian system, argued Lord John, had instigated Inquisitions to stop the mouths of Galileo and other scientific discoverers, and -.vould stop the progress of moral and religious development. Lord John was firing over the heads of the Christian Young Men, at the public in general : he reminded it that there is a Minister out of employment, who can give certificates of being honest, industrious, and sober, in a great variety of places, and is still available as Education Mi- nister; being, in fact, wiser, bolder, discreeter, less dogmatic, more Christian, and fitter for the spirit of the age, than any other man of his inches, politically. It is not impossible that Queen Vic- toria may, at no distant date, be in want of a Premier ; and it might occur to her—such things have happened—to " send for" Lord John once more : here we have a grand advertisement in the newspapers, that his last address is Exeter Hall, Strand.

There is the Colonial Office vacant, and there is a professor of Colonial Government according to the newest, most complete, and most lustrous lights, in the shape of Mr. Gladstone; who has been proving to the people of Chester, as he did before to the people of Hawarden, his thorough mastery of the subject. And he has mas- tered it at last, or nearly so; for his discourse at Chester was a great advance upon that at Hawarden. He left the good folks of the smaller town under the impression that no motive whatever remained for retaining the Imperial connexion with the Colonies. At Chester, although he still retains his idea of Greek colonies as the original type of settlements complete and independent of the parent state, he inculcates the impression that really good government would induce the English Colonies indefinitely to postpone the period of severance. Meanwhile, he shows a great number of improvements in administration which might be carried out forthwith ; so that if the Colonies desire an Imperial Minister to remedy all remaining abuses, there is the man. Unfortunately, as a contemporary remarks, he has had his opportunities for doing something in this way, and the most we can say of him is that he has not obstructed Colonial reforms. From his large tribute to the merits of Sir William Molesworth, whom he severs remarkably from his well-known associates in Colonial reform, Mr. Gladstone would lead the British public to understand that the mantle of Molesworth has fallen upon his shoulders, only without the sword

of Molesworth ; for, although he does not venture to ventilate the Peace doctrines in Chester, Mr. Gladstone talks at the War, in anatomizing the fleeting popularity of the former American war.

The most independent of public men must in one form or other render account to their constituents ; in the broadest sense even Peers, as the wielders of actual power, have their constituents. It is not, indeed, that they are all compelled to volunteer, as Mr. Bouverie volunteers annually, a speech rendering an account to a particular constituency, like that of Kilmarnock ; but they must show that the principles upon which they are acting are those in which the public will support them. It was for the failure of that suit and service that Lord John Russell, at the last meeting with his constituents casually round the table of the Lord Mayor, re- ceived so striking a notice to quit in the hisses of the guests. It was because he has studiously taken pains to show that he is the Minister of the country for the time being, that Lord Palmerston not only received the loud applause of the guests, followed by the louder laudations of the Leading Journal, but that a movement was set on foot to present him with a seat for the City, as the same cor- poration has so frequently bestowed the minor honour of the free- dom of the City. The Premier, however, declines, it is said, to displace his friend or to abandon his Tiverton.