23 FEBRUARY 1850, Page 1


MnfxrrEns have been subjected this week to elaborate assaults from the Tory section of the Opposition in both Houses of Parliament.

In the House of Peers, Lord Stanley assailed them, and particu- larly the members of the Dublin Government, for their conduct in relation to the collision at Dolly's Brae on the 12th of July 1849 ; as unconstitutional, illegal, and inexpedient. He argued, that they had not prevented the contest for which they afterwards punished the less guilty party ; that the Orangemen were subject to penal- ties for conduct not unlawful; that the investigatory powers given to Mr. -Berwick were beyond the pale of law ; and that in dismis- sing Lord Roden and his brother Magistrates the Lord Chancellor of Ireland had prostituted his judicial duties to the administrative needs of the Dublin Executive. Lord Stanley laid himself bare in every part of his fluent oration : Lord Clarendon confuted his facts, his law, and his constitutional theory ; and crowned the triumph for which Lord Stanley had afforded him the opportunity, by de-- d that if he had enforced dormant powers it was because he had undertaken the government of Ireland with the resolve to make the law a reality. The victory of Ministers was complete., All that remained to the Tory leader wee the "satiefsetaonY of having gratified his venerable friend Lord Roden, and exercised for three long hours, in presence of a crowded audience, an undoubted talent for personal attack and ingenious special pleading. Mr. Disraeli managed his exhibition in the House of Commons with more prudence, and with proportionately greater success. He got a second night of debate, and a minority far from con- temptible-252 to 273. He did more—he so framed his motion as to catch large game like Mr. Gladstone, who walked eaptive chained to Mr. Disraeli's triumphal car. Mr. Gladstone was cut off from his friends by the edge of a casuistic nicety : he could not make up his mind to look beyond the motion, and, judicially ig- noring all the rest of the wedge, he pronounced the point to be a very small and harmless affair. What Mr. Disraeli proposes is, to transfer some part of the poor-rate and such local taxes to the na- tional expenditure, on the ground that as the land has been de- prived of its privileges, it must be relieved of its burdens ; and the amount included in his present " instalment " was something more than 2,000,000/. Mr. Disraeli confessed that this shift- ing of rates is all that can be asked of the present Parliament— that there is no prospect, at least before a dissolution, of ob- taining repeal of the Corn-law repeal. So, for the present, he asks only this little boon. He did his best to keep more out of sight ; he was unprecedentedly modest, matter-of-fact, and candid- seeming. Not, of course, invulnerable. Sir George Grey had no difficulty in showing errors in the essential data. The incidence of local rates, for example, is not upon the "land," but upon realized property; which includes a vast amount of town pro- rr ,—houses, factories, railways, &c. Sir Robert Peel went er, and showed that as 55 per cent of the realized property so assessed is of the commercial kind, and alien to the " landed " in- terest, the " land " would obtain less than a moiety of the re- lief, and would be obliged to contribute its share to the con- sequent new taxation. Now this rash disposal of an imagi- nary surplus of taxation would preclude Mr. Disraeli from carrying out his idea of a sinking-fund ; which Sir Robert Peel rather patronized. Sir James Graham went yet further ; vindicating the prior claims of the industrious hard- living classes to relief, warning the Protectionists that classes are not safe when they selfishly pursue exclusive interests at the ex- pense of the community, and showing that Mr. Disraeli's whole scheme, of which the present motion was only an instalment, in- volved a thorough overhauling of our financial system. So it does : without its context, the boon now asked is nothing as a remedy for " agricultural distress" ; with its context, it is the ex- ordium of a revolutionary series. But it would be a revolution wholly alien, one would think, to the author's theory of polity,

with his veneration for a " territorial nobility." The tendency Of the series would be to widen the divorce of our institutions from the land. And if you relieve the land from that guarantee of sub- sistence which every living soul in this country possesses—" the right to subsistence out of the land," as Mr. Cobden phrases R- yon might raise very awkward questions as to the tenure' of land, the nature of the "trust," and even the very essence of private property in the soil. That question is at the far end of Mr. Dis-

raeli's revolutionary. series. Would the landed interest really raise that question, in the greedy desire to get quit of 2,000,0001. of taxes ?

The actual handling of the Australian Colonies Bill in the House of Commons, so magniloquently introduced by Lord John Russell, has exploded his fine pageant policy. - The Piemier spoke.

in the language of statesmanship, but when you come to the thing" described it is found to be a parish botch. " Prtetorium here, ractorium there, I mind the • bigging o't " : Loid rohn revives the age of- Caesar over the monument that bears the indelible signature of " Ben Hawes." The bill was turned inside out ; the assumptions of policy on which it is founded were shown to be baseless.. On every side of the House burst forth testimony as te the falsehood of the assumption that the colonists of the A.ustraliam: Colonies desire a single rather than a donble Legislative Chamber--', as to the absurdity of the plea, self-confuted in the proposal of Ministers for the Cape, that they cannot send out a constitution: out and dried—oh, newborn diffidence!—as to the dishonesty of. the pretence that the bill leaves self-reform to the colonists,": when it is left to the nominees of the GoVernor and the: veto of the Colonial Office : these things indeed could not be denied. The House, on the invitation of Sir William Molesworth, consented to the second reading of the bill, as agreeing with the principle of giving the Australian Colonies a representative consti- tution; but it goes into Committee to encounter a formidable freedom of handling The bill not only fails to carry out the policy of Lord John's new aura speech—it is wholly alien to that policy, or to policy of any kind.; in short, it is only Mr. Ilawes's ignis fatuus in a new phase of its unstable form. The voice is the voice of Russell, but the- bill is the bill of Hawes._ It is strange that the great Reformer consents to accept an office that bnrlesqnos the

ik rical parallels in which he delights: he vaunts a return to the

policy of the founders of the old English Colonies in-America which prevailed under-the Stuarts; the bill'is facthioned in the degenerate bureaucratic fashion which he condemns : his return. to the. good old times amounts to this—he is saying in the middle- of the nineteenth century what our forefathers managed to do in the be-

ginning of the sev-enteenth. -

The other. movements of the week in Parliament are of minor interest. Lord Desert produced resolutions against out-door relief in Ireland ; but, agreeing with him " in the abstract," Ministers opposed him in the concrete, and he withdrew. . Mr. Frewen has , carried his bill to prevent the holding of benefices wide asunder in plurality, on the second reading, with threats of mauling in Com- , mittee. Sir John Pakington has carried on the like stage his Lar- ceny Summary Convictions Bill, extending the Juvenile Offenders' Act to all cases under the value of one. shilling. Mr. Moffat's , bill to exclude insolvent Members was again thrown out,-leaving to constituencies the discretion of considering the character of can-, didates in pecuniary transactions.