Page images

and loyal subjects of the Crown in Ireland, the blood of Hicks Pasha and his 10,000 soldiers, the blood of the army of General Baker, the blood of Tewfik Bey and his 500 heroes?

For four years this ministry has literally waded in blood; their hands are literally dripping and reeking with blood. From massacre to massacre they march, and their course is ineffaceably stamped upon the history of the world by an overflowing stream of blood. How many more of England's heroes—how many more of England's best and bravest, are to be sacrificed to the Moloch of Midlothian?

This, too, is shocking and horrible—the heartless indifference and callousness of the Liberal party to narratives of slaughter and unutterable woe. Fifteen times did Mr. Gladstone on Tuesday night, in his reply to the grave and measured accusations of Sir Stafford Northcote, fifteen times, I say, did he excite the laughter of his Liberal supporters with a frivolity which was too hideous to contemplate.

Talk of Bulgarian atrocities! Add them together, and even multiply them if you will, and you will not exceed the total of the atrocities and the infamies which have distinguished with an awful reputation the most blood-stained and withal the most cowardly government which England has

ever seen.

Well, we are met together this afternoon, as loyal subjects of the Queen and as lovers of our country, for this purpose, and this purpose only,--to put a stop to further wicked and wanton bloodshed. We know that great empires must sometimes fight great battles, and that empires which fear to fight battles will soon cease to be empires; but we are resolved that the battles which we have to fight shall be fought for definite objects and for noble ends, and that poltroons and

traitors, in the garb of ministers of the Crown, shall sacrifice no longer, for worthless and degraded aims, the life-blood of our country. The supporters of the present government exclaim that the Tory party, although prodigal of censure, is deficient in a policy of its own; and with many taunts they call upon us to disclose the direction in which our efforts would be turned in the event of a change in the councils of the Crown.

The demand cannot be considered unfair, and the reply is not so difficult as some people seem to think. We recognize to the very uttermost the immense responsibilities which this country has incurred toward Egypt, and toward the interests of Europe there, and to the discharge of these responsibilities we would be prepared to apply all the resources, if need be, of the Empire of the Queen; and till those responsibilities are satisfied we would neither stop nor stay.

The history of the Tory party in the past is, I fearlessly assent, an ample guarantee that the recognition of a responsibility and the full discharge of a responsibility are inseparable and consequential. I cannot claim to have the smallest share in the councils of the leaders of the Tory party, whoever they may be and therefore, as far as they are concerned, I speak without authority.

But having studied with some care the history of our perty in the past, possessing an unbounded faith in its future, and being not altogether ignorant of the state of public opinion, I will venture to say this much—that the policy of the Tory party, should it be placed in power, will be the policy of calling things by their right names. The occupation of Egypt by the British forces will be called a Protectorate of Egypt by the British Empire, having for its object the establishment, in process of time, of a government at Cairo which

shall be consonant with the legitimate and laudable aspirations of the Egyptian people; which shall be able to protect itself alike from internal tumult and from foreign intrigue; which, while it shall develop the undoubted resources of Egypt, shall faithfully discharge the equitable liabilities of its people; and which, as far as human governments can do, shall give promise of prosperity and happiness in the land of the Nile.

We are now in Egypt by the sufferance of Europe, but we must endeavor to be in Egypt by the mandate of Europe. Our Protectorate, to be effective, and authoritative, and secure, should be acquiesced in by a European Congress in which Turkey shall be adequately represented and the rights and powers of the Sultan loyally secured. Our Protectorate, if it is to be crowned with success, must not shrink from dealing comprehensively and boldly with the financial indebtedness of Egypt, even though such dealing should involve some pecuniary liability on ourselves.

The work, if you undertake it, will be a work of time,perhaps a long time. It will be a work of difficulty, and perhaps a work of danger; but it would also be a work of duty and a work of honor; and from work of that kind Britain has never yet recoiled. It is a work which, if courageously persisted in, will bind more closely to us than heretofore the sympathies of the Mohammedan races, and will establish on deeper foundations our dominions in the East. Our aims are honor, peace, and freedom, and we should not shrink from prosecuting those aims, if need be, by force of arms. Conscious of their magnanimity, we would go boldly forward, knowing well that the results of our policy would surely be to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed

go free.



UGUSTINE BIRRELL, a brilliant English essayist, was born near

Liverpool, January 19, 1850. He was the son of the Rev. Charles Birrell, a Baptist ininister; received his education at Amersham and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1872, was called to the bar in 1875, and fourteen years later was elected Liberal member of Parliament for West Fife. In 1896 he was appointed Quain professor of law at University College, London. Among his best-known publications are “ Obiter Dicta (1884 and 1887); “Life of Charlotte Bronté " (1885); “ Res Judicatæ (1892); “ Men, Women, and Books ” (1894); “Lectures on the Duties and Liabilities of Trustees (1896).

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]

R. JOHN MORLEY, who among other things has

written two admirable books about Edmund Burke,

is to be found in the Preface to the second of them apologizing for having introduced into the body of the work extracts from his former volume -- conduct which he seeks to justify by quoting from the Greek (always a desirable thing to do when in a difficulty), to prove that, though you may say what you have to say well once, you cannot so say it twice.

A difficulty somewhat of the same kind cannot fail to be felt by every one who takes upon himself to write on Burke; for, however innocent a man's own past life may be of any public references to the subject, the very many good things other men have said about it must seriously interfere with true liberty of treatment. Hardly any man, and certainly no politician, has been so


bepraised as Burke, whose very name, suggesting, as it does, splendor of diction, has tempted those who would praise him to do so in a highly decorated style, and it would have been easy work to have brought together a sufficient number of animated passages from the works of well-known writers all dedicated to the greater glory of Edmund Burke, and then to have tagged on half-a-dozen specimens of his own resplendent rhetoric, and so to have come to an apparently natural and long desired conclusion without exciting any more than the usual post-lectorial grumble.

This course, however, not recommending itself, some other method had to be discovered. Happily, it is out of the question within present limits to give any proper summary of Burke's public life. This great man

This great man was not, like some modern politicians, a specialist, confining his activities within the prospectus of an association; nor was he, like some others, a thing of shreds and patches, busily employed to-day picking up the facts with which he will overwhelm his opponents on the morrow; but was one ever ready to engage with all comers on all subjects from out the stores of his accumulated knowledge.

Even were we to confine ourselves to those questions only which engaged Burke's most powerful attention, enlisted his most active sympathy, elicited his most bewitching rhetoric, we should still find ourselves called upon to grapple with problems as vast and varied as Economic Reform, the Status of our Colonies, our Empire in India, our Relations with Ireland both in respect to her trade and her prevalent religion; and then, blurring the picture, as some may think-certainly rendering it titanesque and gloomy-we have the spectacle of Burke in his old age, like another Laocoön, writhing and wrestling with the French Revolution; and it may serve to

F-Orations. Vol. 25

« PreviousContinue »