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fine to keep down enterprise in the issue naturally, the object of much fierce deof cheap newspapers. The newspaper nunciation. According to many of his was, according to his belief, one of the critics, the result of his policy could only most powerful influences towards the be the overthrow of the altar and the spread of national education, and he soon throne, the aristocratic system and the made up his mind to abolish the last tax whole moral creed, of the nation. The which stood in its way.
vested interests in the House of Commons In his financial scheme of 1860 he an were then, as they are even still, very nounced that the Government had re- strong, and one vested interest was gensolved to abolish the duty on paper. It erally found ready to stand by another. is hardly necessary to say that such a In the early part of the session Mr. Gladproposition met with the strongest opposi- stone was very unwell, and his financial tion from both sides of the House. It statement had to be put off for some became a mere question of what we call days. When he did come to make his vested interests. There were many influ statement, the force of his marvelous eloential manufacturers of paper in the quence and reasoning power compelled House of Commons, and these all joined the House of Commons to pass the proin an organized opposition to any scheme
vision for the abolition of the paper duty. which threw open the business of news But at each stage of the measure the paper publishing to free and common com majorities in favor of the abolition fell petition. Naturally, the well-established and fell. The second reading was carried and high-priced journals objected to the by a majority of fifty-three; the third idea of a penny “rag” being enabled to reading was carried by a majority of only compete with a sixpenny daily journal. nine. This naturally gave new courage Therefore the battle was fiercely fought to the House of Lords, and in the Heredout in the House of Commons and in the itary Chamber a motion was made and daily press, and Mr. Gladstone became, carried by a large majority to reject alto
THE DEE ABOVE CHESTER
CHESTER This portion was erected by Abbot Simon Ripley about 1492. The buildings to the left are modern gether Mr. Gladstone's bill for the repeal before the peers, the peers had a perfect of the duty on paper. This action on the right to modify the scheme in any way part of the House of Lords brought on a that they thought fit. constitutional crisis as serious as any that The question then came down to a has happened in our time. The House very narrow issue. The repeal of the of Lords, it should be understood, has no pa per duty was put off for one session ; power to impose taxation on the people but the public out-o'-doors, having full of England. But if the House of Lords faith in the leadership of Mr. Gladstone, has no power to initiate taxation on the were not much excited by wbat Mr. people, it was fairly and justly contended Gladstone well called the “gigantic innoby Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright that vation ” on the part of the Hereditary neither can the House of Lords have any Chamber. There were meetings held, to right to reimpose on the English people be sure, all over the country, and the acany tax which the House of Commons tion of the House of Lords was strongly has seen fit to take off. This is, indeed, and justly denounced. But the general the evident common sense of the matter.
feeling was one of perfect conviction that If the House of Lords could have the Mr. Gladstone would put the whole thing constitutional right to reimpose a tax right, and therefore there was no popular which had been taken off by the Repre- disturbance whatever.
I remember the sentative Chamber—that is, the taxing time well. I was even then in the thick Chamber—there could be no reason what- of political life, and I can say with cerever why the House of Lords should not tainty that only the strong faith in Mr; have the right to initiate taxation of its Gladstone's capacity as a leader prevented own free will. Nobody even among the something not unlike a national convulTory leaders of the House of Lords sion. The Liberals had little faith in ventured to contend that the Hereditary Lord Palmerston, Chamber had any right to initiate taxa sympathies went a good deal with the tion, but it was plausibly argued that Tories and against the Radicals. Mr. when a certain scheme of taxation came Gladstone absolutely condemned the con
It remained duct of the House of Lords. Lord Palm- left out of the measure. erston only proposed a series of mild res for men like Lord John Russell and olutions reaffirming the rights of the Mr. Gladstone and Mr. Bright to initiate House of Commons with regard to na later on the movement which admitted tional taxation. Then for the first time the workingmen and the poor to a share it became clear to all the world that Mr. in the representation of the country. Gladstone was bidding his final farewell Therefore the House of Commons, to not merely to the Tory party but to the which Mr. Gladstone submitted his scheme party of the Whigs—that is to say, the for the abolition of the duty on paper, lagging and backward section of the took. but a languid interest in the matLiberals. His final declaration on the ter when the instantaneous spell of his
Most of the memsubject was yet to come, but it may al- eloquence was over. ready be anticipated by some considera- bers, or nearly all of them, could very tion of the conditions under which the House of Lords was still stimulated into setting up its will against that of the House of Commons. I have said that the majorities in favor of Mr. Gladstone's dwindled at each stage, and at last came down to a poor superiority of nine. The fact is that at that time the House of Commons was only constitutionally
and technically representative of the majority of the people. The franchise was so high and so limited that it excluded the whole mass of the working classes. There was not at that time a single man in the House of Commons who represented, or was entitled to speak for, the laboring population of the three kingdoms. The great Reform Bill introduced by Lord Grey and Lord John Russell thirty years before, and carried after a two years' struggle, had admitted what men called the middle classes of England to the right of voting for the election of a member to the House of Commons. But the working classes and the poor had been wholly
At the corner of " Hawarden Castle Entry'
ONE OF THE OLD HOUSES
well afford to pay sixpence for their iniquitous measure, of course they must daily paper, and they were not responsi- have it. If they really want to ruin the ble for their votes to any of the class who country, we must only let them ruin the most especially wanted cheap newspa- country, and make no further work pers. The peers, therefore, naturally about it.” A story went at the time took courage. They felt little doubt that that Lord Palmerston sent up a message the majority of the House of Commons to the House of Lords to give them adwould be rather obliged to them than vice as to their conduct with regard to the otherwise for the course they had taken repeal of the duties on paper. I do not in resisting Mr. Gladstone's reform. But venture to vouch for the truth of the story, the country kept quiet, as have said, but, if it was not true, I think, at least, it because it had full faith in Mr. Glad- ought to have been true. Lord Palmerstone's determination, and because it was · ston, it was said, sent up a message to quite certain that the peers would not the House of Lords to say that the reresist him for very long.
jection of Mr. Gladstone's scheme was As a matter of fact, Mr. Gladstone's a very good joke for once, but they scheme was passed into law in the very really must not try it another time. The next session. The peers did not attempt peers would seem to have acted promptly any further resistance. If anything could upon this suggestion. They did not have proved more clearly than another try the joke another time. The duty the utter worthlessness of the existence
on paper was repealed, and the three of the House of Lords, it would have been kingdoms got their cheap newspapers in proved by its action with regard to the abundance. It is almost needless to say
For the House of Lords that not one of the penny papers that said in one second that to make paper started into existence all over this councheap would be to food the country with try advocated any doctrine of anarchy abominable newspapers, spreading every or profligacy or disorder. Better-conwhere the doctrines of anarchy and prof. ducted papers do not exist in any country ligacy, and in the very next session it in the world than the cheap jouin.is said in effect, “Well, it Mr. Gladstone which Mr. Gladstone by his policy helped and the House of Commons want this into existence. With one single excep
BRIDGE STREET ROW The "Rows" in Chester are supposed by some to be of Roman origin. They were well described by the late Albert Smith when he said that “the passenger's footway lies right through the first-floor fronts of the houses and above the shop, of ordinary normal position, by the roadside; and thus the back drawing-rooms, or whatever else they may be, are turned into more shops; and great is the puzzle of the stranger as to whether the roadway is down in the cellar, or he is upstairs on the landing, or the house has turned itself out of window."