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LONDON, December 1, 1894. Tzar and the Prince have stood always side by side The close of the year now near at hand before the world in public, and in private have been The Drift of
not less intimate. the Year. naturally suggests the question as to the
It is not too much to say that drift and tendency of affairs during the since the death of the Tzar tke Prince of Wales twelve months. Stands Britain where it did ? And has had his first great opportunity of exerting what of the world in whose affairs the English the Imperial influence that belongs to his exalted speaking man is so large a factor? Is the drift position, free from the trammels of the Court or backward or forward, towards peace or war, to
the embarrassing anxieties of Cabinet Ministers. wards barbarism or civilisation, progress or retro
By universal consent the Prince has risen to the gression The answer will vary according to our height of his great opportunity, and without meddling moods and sympathies. But the general tendency
in politics or playing at diplomacy has done more to seems to be forward, although many of the agencies place the relations between the two Empires on a and instruments whereby peace, progress and civili foundation of personal confidence and affection than sation have been attained are being used up in the could have been accomplished by all our statesiden movement. Parties and churches and empires are
and all their ambassadors. That is one of the uses like the baggage waggons of an army in progress.
of Royalty, which even from a pinch-penny point of They wear out and break down and disappear and view makes it real economy to keep up the Throne. are forgotten, but the army arrives. So it is with
If princes are being utilised to do the
The Peers the human race. The Chinese Empire, with all its and work of the Peace Society, the Peers are faults, has for millenniums done a civilising work Reform. being employed in the work of social amongst a third of the human race.
It is crumbling
reform. In old times it used to be said that one of beneath the blows of the Japanese. The Russian the favourite expedients of the aristocracy was to Tzar, who for the last twelve years has kept the engage the attention of the people in a foreign war peace of Europe, is dead. The American Democratic in order to stave off domestic reform. Today party, the hope of the Free Traders, was the Peers ali unknowingly have taken exactly the whelmed at the November elections by an electoral opposite course. By their attitude of uncompromising avalanche of disaster. At home the Liberal party opposition to the concession of Home Rule to Ireland is marching to the abyss. And yet who is there they have compelled their own party to concentrate who does not feel that the securities for civilisation attention upon projects of social reform. By waging in the East, peace in Europe, fiscal progress in the war to the death with Archbishop Walsh they have United States, and reform at home, have been given over the citadel to Mr. Chamberlain. To strengthened rather than weakened in the course strengthen their ranks against a political change in of the year?
Ireland they are acquiescing in a social revolution at The first of all interests is peace, and the their own doors. It is interesting and full of suggesThe Prince disappearance of the stalwart form of tive significance. Upon all political and constitutional
“ The Great Emperor of Peace” occa changes opposed by the Tory party—upon Home Rule, sioned for a moment a thrill of awe through the upon Disestablishment, upon Prohibition-they have Continent. But hope springs eternal in the human laid a veto. They are - Thou shalt not” incarnate. breast, and the manifest rapprochement between But as a party must do something, the Conservatives England and Russia that followed the death of are driven willy-nilly to adopt a programme of social Alexander III. has revived the confidence of all reform which they would have opposed tooth and those who know that the entente between London nail if it had been brought forward by the Liberals. and St. Petersburg is the sine qua non of tranquillity
And Mr. Chamberlain is the zealous
Mr. Chamberin Asia. The public, both Russian and English, has lain as Tory bellwether of the flock. Liberals lanoted with satisfaction and with joy the close
Bellwether. mented when Mr. Chamberlain forsook intimacy between the young Tzar and his uncle the the party with which he had been accustomed to act. Prince of Wales. For three long and trying weeks— It seemed like the extinction of a personal force weeks which count for more than as many years—the which had been confidently counted upon in the
The Rôle of
Lord Rosebery well said at Edinburgh the
on November 30 that social questions Whigs.
examined from the point of view of high principle and high conscience must to some extent disintegrate Party divisions. The standpoint of the new elector will not be Whig or Tory gain or loss, but 6 how best can
we raise the common condition of the people.” Hence “ Parties in future will be regulated less by the shibboleths of the past than many people imagine." The danger is, as Lord Rosebery proceeded to point out, that the line of cleavage from being perpendicular may become horizontal, and that all the haves may be on one side and all the have-nots on the other. What he did not say was that to-day the chief safeguards against this horizontalization of party cleavage is the fact that he is Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Party, and that Mr. Chamberlain is the mentor and master of the Tories. In other words, the great security against revolution here, as in olden times, has been the great Whigaccepting that word in its best sense. Now Mr. Chamberlain is the great Whig of the Conservative party and Lord Rosebery of the Liberals.
Mr. Chamberlain believes that he won Unauthorised Programme the General Election of 1885 by his II.
unauthorised programme. In the counties, as Mr. Labouchere put it in his gay and picturesque fashion, “ Joseph saved us. His three acres and a cow simply romped in.” Mr. Chamberlain expects to render the same service for the Conservative Party in 1895 that he rendered to the Liberals ten years ago. Last month he repeated in Lancashire
and reforin. But wisdom is justified of her children, and every one see that Mr. Chamberlain has been, and is, and is likely to be, more potent for good in the Tory camp than he ever could have been amongst the Liberals. We have plenty of reformers of his type in our ranks. The Tories hare none but Mr. Chamberlain. He is it kind of solitary Radical missionary permeating the Conservative heathen with sound doctrines of social reform. We regret that he opposed Home Rule. But it was probably necessary that he should cannon off the Irish party in order to strike old Toryism as he has done. From the point of view of such men as the Earl of Wemyss and all hidebound Conservatives of the old school, Mr. Chamberlain, far more than Lord Rosebery or Mr. Labouchere, is the enemy tu le feared and hated.
From Picture Politics.]
LORD SALISBURY'S BLOCK SYSTEM.
The Justifica- Lord Rosebery could not help himself. tion of Lord He was compelled to offer battle, and to Rosebery.
do so in such fashion as to render it possible for him to carry his party with him. All that his promised Resolution proposes to do is to raise the issue, whether or not the nation desires to be governed by the will of its elected representatives or by the will of four hundred peers? He emphasises his opinion in favour of a Second Chamber, because if he did not the vehemence of his Radical supporters would give the country cause to believe the Resolution was equivalent to a declaration in favour of a single Chamber. Lord Rosebery, like a prudent man, tries to take one step at a time. He is in command of a mixed host of Menders and Enders. To be able to tight at all he must offer Menders and Enders some formula round which they can rally., This he has discovered in his declaration that the House of Commons must be the paramount partner. As to the second step, --whether it must be in the direction of ending or mending,--that must wait until the first has been taken. And nothing seems to be more certain than that the first step will not be taken until the next General Election but one.
The result of Forfarshire by-election, The Warning where a Unionist carried what had long from Forfar.
been regarded as one of the safest Radical seats in Scotland, has tended to increase the general
the appeal which he had previously addressed to Birmingham. Here, he said, is a Policy of Construction :-
1. Municipal monopoly of public-houses. 2. State loans to enable workmen to buy their own houses. 3. Old Age Pensions. 4. Tribunals for Industrial Arbitration. 5. A Veto on Pauper Immigration.
6. A Better Employers' Liability Bill than that of 1894. This, says Mr. Chamberlain, is a practical programme, a serious programme, which will meet with little opposition and which can be passed within
reasonable compass of time. Above all he reminds us it can be passed through the Lords. Will the
Lord Salisbury at Edinburgh and the Tories Duke of Devonshire at Barnstaple, have adopt it ?
given Mr. Chamberlain's unauthorised programme their solemn and official benediction. Mr. Chamberlain declares — I am perfectly satisfied with their statements on the subject of my programme, and as a Conservative Government gave free education and allotments legislation, I have confidence that they will take up and carry to a successful issue the Unionist programme of social reform which is now before the country, many of the items of which have already been advocated liy Conservative members, and which has received the support of some of the most influential Conservative organizations. The strength of Mr. Chamberlain's position is the fact that he may claim truly enough that he has the House of Lords in his pocket.
But the question whether any party in the State can afford to allow its opponent to carry a branch of the Legislature about with it in its pocket is one which admits of only one answer.
The Liberals, in face of the Tory monopoly An inevitable of the Upper Chamber, must make a Conflict.
stand or consent to their virtual extinction. If the Conservatives fail to see this, let them ask what they would think of the Monarchy, if the Prince of Wales when he came to the Throne were to pose as a thoroughgoing Radical and to refuse to give the Royal Assent to any measure passed by the Conservatives. The Tories themselves would declare that in such a case the Monarchy would not be worth six months' purchase. Neither party can afford to allow an integral part of the legislative machine to pass solidly and permanently into the hands of its opponents without acquiescing at the same time in its own annihilation as an instrument of government. Hence the question of tho Peers is for the Liberals a question of life and death. That, and that alone, explains why with infinito reluctance and without any clear and definite plan, Lord Rosebery has been compelled to challenge the Peers to a conflict, the immediate result of which is unfortunately a foregone conclusion.