Imágenes de páginas

Honse, it was his custom to walk sternly to his place, without honouring even his most favoured adherents with a word or a nod, or eren a glance of recognition. The statesman, George Canning, says, “The character of this illustrious gentleman early passed its ordeal. Scarcely had he attained the age at which reflection commences, than Europe, with astonishment, beheld him filling the first place in the councils of his country, to manage the vast mass of its concerns with all the vigour and steadiness of the most matured wisdom. Dignity, strength, discretion-these were among the masterly qualities of his mind at its first dawn. He had been nurtured a statesman, and his knowledge was of that kind which always lies ready for practical application. Not dealing in the subtleties of abstract politics, but moving in the slow steady procession of reason, his conceptions were reflective and his views correct. Habitually attentive to the concerns of government, he spared no pains to acquaint himself with whatever was connected, however minutely, with its prosperity: He was devoted to the state: its interests engrossed all his study, and engaged all his care: it was the element alone in which he seemed to live and move. He allowed himself but little recreation from his labours, his mind was always on its station, and his activity was unremitted. He did not hastily adopt a measure, nor hastily abandon it. The plan struck'ont by him for the preservation of Europe, was the result of prophetic wisdom and profound policy. But though defeated in many respects by the selfish ambition and shortsighted imbecility of foreign powers, whose rulers were too venal or too weak to follow the flight of that mind which would have taught them to outwing the storm, the policy involved in it has still a secret operation on the conduct of surrounding states. His plans were full of energy, and the principles which inspired them looked beyond the consequences of the hour. In a period of change and convulsion, the most perilous in the history of Great Britain, when sedition stalked abroad, and when the emissaries of France, and the abettors of her regicide factions, formed a league powerful from their number, and formidable by their talent: in that awful crisis, the promptitude of his measures saved his country. He knew nothing of that timid and wavering cast of mind which dares not abide by its own decision ; he never suffered popular prejudice or party clamour to turn him aside from any measure which his deliberate judgment had formed; be had a proud reliance on himself, and it was justified. Like the sturdy warrior, leaning on his own battle-axe, conscious where his strength lay, he did not readily look beyond it. As a debater in the House of

commons, his speeches were logical and argumentative; if they did

abound in the graces of metaphor, or sparkle with the brilliancy of wit, they were always animated, elegant, and classical. The strength of his oratory was intrinsic; it presented the rich and abundant resource of a clear discernment and a correct taste. His speeches are stamped with inimitable marks of originality. When replying to his opponents, his 'readiness was not more couspicuous than his energy: he was always prompt, and always dignified. He would sometimes have recourse to the sportiveness of irony, but he did not often seek any other aid than was to be derived from an arranged and extensive knowledge of his subject. This qualified him fully to discuss the arguments of others, and forcibly to defend his own. Tbus armed it was rarely in the power of his adversaries, mighty as they were, to beat him from the field. His eloquence, occasionally rapid, electric, vehement, was always chaste, winning, and persuasive: not awing into acquiescence, but arguing into conviction. His understanding was bold and comprehensive: nothing seemed too remote for his grasp. Unallured by dissipation, and unswayed by pleasure, he never sacrificed the national interest to either. To his unswerving integrity, the most authentic of all testimony is to be found in that unbounded public confidence which followed him throughout the whole of his political career. He excelled in sarcasm, and during the heat of debate, always retained the most perfect command over his temper.

• Pitt,” says a contemporary, alluding to one of his speeches, "surpassed himself, and then, I need not tell you that he surpassed Cicero and Demosthenes. What a figure would they, with their formal laboured cabinet orations, make vis-a-vis with his manly vivacity and dashing eloquence! At one o'clock in the morning, after sitting in the heat of a crowded senate for eleven hours, he spoke above an hour and a half with scarcely a bad sentence.” To conclude: it has been justly said of him, that he never failed to put the best word in the best

place. He was above every little art or low intrigue, for his sentiments were lofty as his professions were dignified.

The other orators during the Pitt administration were as follows:Charles Jenkinson, Earl of Liverpool, the eldest son of Colonel Charles Jenkinson, born on the 16th May, 1727. In 1761 he went into Parliament as member for Cockermonth, and became Under Secretary of State. During the two following years he was Secretary to the Treasury; in 1766 he held a seat at the Admiralty Board, from which he was removed in 1763 to that of the Treasury. In 1773 he became a member of the Privy Council and obtained the vice-treasuryship of Ireland, which he afterwards exchanged for the lucrative clerkship of the Pells. In 1778 he was made Secretary at War; in 1784 President of the Board of Trade, which he held until 1801; and two years afterwards he resigned the Chancellorship of the Duchy of Lancaster, to which he had been appointed in 1786; on the 21st August in that year (1786) he had been created Baron Hawksbury, and on the 28th of May, 1796, Earl of Liverpool. He died on the 17th of December, 1808. The earl was a respectable politician, a neat speaker, an assiduous man of business, and an able expositor of international law.

William Henry Cavendish Bentinck, Duke of Portland. This nobleman was the second son of the second Duke of Portland. He was born on the 14th April, 1733; he went into Parliament in 1761 as inember for Weably, in Herefordshire, which place he continued to represent until called to the House of Peers on the death of his father, May, 1762. In 1782 he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. On the 5th of April, 1783, he became Prime Minister, but resigned on the 27th of the following month. He was a Whig until the French Revolution, when he seceded with Burke and others, and did all in his power to strengthen the government. On the 11th July, 1794, he was appointed to the Home Secretaryship, which he retained until the resignation of Pitt, in 1801, when he was chosen President of the Council, and remained in office until the dissolution of the Addington Cabinet. On the dismissal of Lord Grenville and his colleagues in 1807, the Duke was again made Premier. He continued in the administration until his decease, which took place after a short illness, on the 30th October, 1809.

Charles Lennor, Duke of Richmond, born on the 22nd of February, 1734, succeeded to his father's titles ard estates at the age of sixteen. On the accession of George III. he was appointed a Lord of the Bedchamber, but soon resigned; to the administration of Lord Bute, and to that of his successor George Grenville, the Duke was an active opponent. On Lord Rockingham taking office he was appointed Lord Lieutenant of the County of Sussex and Ambassador to the Court of France. He was shortly afterwards recalled, but soon obtained the seals of Secretary of State, which he resigned on the change of ministers, and became a powerful opponent to their successors. He brought forward a plan for parliamentary reform about the year 1800, which was rejected by a large majority. Undismayed by defeat, he redoubled his exertions to obtain a renovation of the rights of the people by means of annual parliaments and universal saffrage, and for some time presided over the Constitutional Society, established under his auspices for the purpose of effecting the restoration of a genuine House of Commons, as he stated. He died on the 27th of December, 1806.

Samuel Whitebread, born in the year 1758; he became a candidate for Bedford in 1780, and after a spirited contest, was returned a member of Parliament. On the 6th of April, 1805, he carried a motion against Lord Melville, for corruptions while Treasurer of the Navy. He was an advocate for moderate reform, the abolition of the slave trade, retrenchment in the public expenditure, and the education of the poor. He at last exhausted his body and mind in his country's cause, and became low and dejected in spirits ; madness ensued, and on the 6th of July, 1815, he put an end to his life. As a member, he was distinguished for general information, uprightness of conduct, and a manly expression of his sentiments; his speeches were luminous but not brilliant.

William Wilberforce was the descendant of a mercantile but ancient family in Yorkshire; was born at Hull, August, 1759. At the general election in 1780, he was unanimously returned to Parliament for his native place. In 1784 he was elected for the shire of York, and continued a member for this part until 1812, when he took his seat for Bramber, which he continued to represent until the termination of his parliamentary career in 1825. In 1787 he gave notice of his intention to call the attention of Parliament to the abolition of the slave trade;' but being prevented by ill health, his friend, William Pitt, in his name, on the 9th of May, 1788, proposed a resolution (founded on a number of petitions which had previously been presented,) pledging the House early in the ensuing session to take the state of the slave trade into 'consideration. In 1791 Wilberforce moved for leave to bring in a bill to prevent the further importation of African negroes into the British colonies, but it was lost. On the 2nd of April, 1792, he again called the notice of Parliament to the subject. On this occasion he did not

advocate immediate emancipation, but considered that the Africans should be gradually prepared by moral and religious education, to receive the boon; observing that true liberty was a plant of celestial growth, and that none could taste of it but those who had employed the nobler faculties of the human soul in contemplating the goodness of the Divine Essence from whence it sprung. A motion in favour of gradual abolition was now carried ; and at length, during the short administration of Fox, in 1806, a Bill for the entire abolition of the slave trade was carried through both Houses of Parliament, and Wilberforce reaped the reward of his benevolent exertions; the object nearest his heart had been the moral improvement of mankind; every project that could conduce to so beneficent a result he had promoted, every abuse that could thwart it he had, endeavoured to detect and expose. Lord Brougham thus describes him, as “the venerable patriarch of the cause of the slaves; whose days were to be numbered by acts of benevolence and piety; whose whole life had been devoted to the highest interests of religion and charity."

(To be continued.)

Mr. Hunter on India,

(Continued from December Number.) We have had to reorganise a Government conceived in the interests of the pomp and luxury of a few into one conceived in the interests of the well-being and security of the many.

It would be impossible within the limits permitted to me to state all the new departments of expenditure involved by this change. But the magnitude of the additional outlay thus involved may be realised from three items -justice, police, and education. It is not too much to say that the two first departments have been completely reorganised, while the third, or education department, has been almost entirely created during the past 25 years. As regards the dispensing of justice, rural tribunals maintained by the State scarcely existed when we obtained the country in the second half of the last century, One of the earliest acts of the East India Company was to create such tribunals. Justice has been brought very near to the door of the peasant. But it has cost the Government many millions sterling to do so, and the gross outlay has been raised from under 14 millions in 1857 (during the last year of the Company), to over 3 millions during the present year, 1880, or just twofold. The police of India has, in like manner, been completely reorganised since the Government passed under the Crown. The Bengal force was reconstructed on a new basis by Act 5 of 1861. The Mahommedans bequeathed to us in the previous century a police, which I have described (" Annals of Rural Bengal," 5th ed., p. 335) froni the old records as "an enormous ragged army, who ate up the industry of the province.” The Company had improved this police so far as to spend a million sterling upon it in its last year, 1857. The re-organised police of India now costs, in 1880, a gross sum exceeding 2 millions sterling, or more than two-fold, tri

As regards education, no general system of public instruction existed either under the Mogul Emperors or under the East India Company. Sir Charles Wood's justly famous despatch, which laid the foundation of the enlightenment of India, was penned only in 1854. The company had not time to give effect to that despatch before its rule disappeared; and the vast system of public instruction which is now educating two millions of our eastern fellow-subjects is the work of the Queen's Government in India. It is a noble work, but it has cost money.

In going over the items of Indian expenditure the single one which I find steadily increases from year to year is the expenditure on education. It now exceeds a gross sum of a million sterling per annum from the Imperial revenues, with, perhaps, double that sum from local sources. I cite only these three examples of the increased cost of a government conducted according to European standards of efficiency, but from those three items you may not unfairly judge of the increased cost of every other department. Our financial difficulties in India arise from the fact that the revenues do not increase so rapidly as the additional expenditure required to raise the administration to our new standards. i Take justice, police, and education alone, and you will find that the East India Company in 1857 gave less than three millions' worth of these commodities to its subjects in the last year of its rule, 1857, while the Queen's Government of India now spends a gross sum of nearly sepen millions sterling upon them. No one, I think, will grudge another large item of expenditure, almost unknown in the time of the Company, but which is now estimated at an annual charge of 12 million sterling-namely, the relief of the peasantry during famine. A Finance Minister must either cut down existing expenditure or he must increase the taxation. As a matter of fact, the Finance Ministers of India have done both. Daring the 22 years since India passed to the Crown they have abolished one highly paid place after another. Under the Company the civil and military services of India were regarded as roads to an assured fortune. Those services now yield simply enough for a man to discharge the duties of the position in which he may be placed. While the higher salaries have been curtailed or lopped away, the purchasing power of money has decreased, and the Indian civilian or soldier now only looks forward to a hard-earned pension after a service of 25 to 35 years. Of that pension, the civilian is compelled by Government to contribute a large proportion by monthly subscriptions throughout his service. If he dies, the subscriptions lapse, and it has been estimated that the nominal pension of £1,000 a year paid to covenanted civilians represents a net outlay to Government of under £400 per annum. This cutting down of high salaries is perfectly justified by the modern conditions of Indian service. I myself believe that if we are to give a really efficient administration to India, many services must be paid for at lower rates.even than at present; for those rates are regulated in the higher branches of the administration by the cost of officers brought from England. You cannot work with imported labour as cheaply as you can with native labour, and I regard the more extended employment of the natives not only as an act of justice, but as a financial necessity. Fifty years ago the natives of India were not capable of conducting an administration according to our English ideas


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »