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with this view to lay an arrest on the leaders of an agitation which is both mad in itself and too plainly the cause of murderous outrage. A Government that is not able to secure life or property in Ireland is not likely, with the best intentions, to secure any other good to it.
Of the remaining Liberal leaders there are at least three in the House of Commons and two in the Lords that deserve notice. We may begin with the Peers, as standing both officially and personally in advance of the others. Both Lord Granville and the Duke of Argyll must be pronounced in the front rank of statesmen, although the latter occupies a comparatively unimportant position in the present Cabinet. Lord Granville reached the maturity of his political fame and ability years ago; and it is only those who fail to recognise the firm determination-the steel glove, polished it may be-beneath the persuasive pat of his eloquence, who would be disposed to doubt his power as a leader. Like most men of his class, his power has been so mellowed both by natural bonhomie and ripened experience, that it is no longer obtrusive. He may give the impression of a courtly and refined gentleman of the old school, rather than of one fitted to represent the modern democracy. But English statesmanship owes much even to the school to which Lord Granville belongs—a school in which all the best traditions of Liberalism were combined with large knowledge of the world as well as the mere data of political science, and the eloquence of which was always touched with dignity and ease, never with violence. But Lord Granville himself is more than the mere product of any school. He is not only a persuasive speaker, who can on a fitting occasion unsheathe a barbed sarcasm from the most velvety sentence, but to far-ranging and most genuine Liberal instincts he unites a rare knowledge of foreign affairs, and the most righteous and noble impulses in their guidance. There can be no doubt that the country has perfect confidence in his motives and judgment, and that whatever may be the solution of the present complications, it will not be from any lack of wisdom on his part if the issue is not both wise and right.
The Duke of Argyll is beyond question one of the ablest men in the present Cabinet. In mere penetration and power of brain we do not know that there is any before him, even Mr. Gladstone himself. It is impossible to read what the Duke has written, or to listen to his speeches in the House of Lords, without recognising how strong and clear an intellect lies behind all his speech and writing. He has also the special virtue of being true to his convictions in circumstances which must have greatly tried them, and in the face of adverse influences fashionable both in the world of science and politics. He is in short, both as a politician and a writer, of a sturdy and independent type by no means common, and his sturdiness is never, as some incline to think, mere brusquerie. It has an element of brusquerie, as his manner notoriously has; but his independence as a politician is always more than mere self-assertion or a disinclination to fall in with the opinions of others. It has a true vein of manliness, and it is always marked by broad sense and intelligence. His Presbyterianism, resting, as he has shown so repeatedly, on a basis of enlightened as well as traditionary thought, is an evidence of steady loyalty to principle. Within his own religious sphere he is quite as great an enthusiast as Mr. Gladstone ; he is equally faithful to an inherited system, differing as it greatly does from that of his political master; but he moves in a higher rational light on religious questions, and is less weighted by a mass of mere tradition. He carries into political discussion the same rational and luminous intellect which he shows in handling the problems of science or theology, and adds to a masterly comprehension the fire of political passion. There is no speaker in the House of Lords that can be said now to equal him, or who is capable of rising to the same heights of sweeping yet dignified eloquence. It may be asked, then, Why is the Duke of Argyll not a greater figure in contemporary politics, and why should he have been relegated to a comparatively unimportant post in the new Cabinet, especially after holding a foremost post in the former Liberal Administration? These are questions that would occupy us needlessly, and on which we are probably not competent to throw any satisfactory light. It is understood that the state of the Duke's health rendered harder work than what is attached to the office of Lord Privy Seal undesirable to him on the formation of the present Cabinet. Such things can never be but partially known to outsiders, and are often least of all accurately known to those who pretend to know most about them. But the Duke of Argyll's political career has no doubt suffered from special causes that lie upon the surface, and which are just as patent as his great abilities—nay, to a large proportion of the political world far more patent. He has still, and has had from the first, an unhappily didactic manner-the manner of a Scotch professor or lecturer rather than of a man of the world. He lacks cordiality, ease, and apparent kindliness. He is a man to do his duty in all things according his light, but not more. taneity, effusiveness, or generous amplitude of courtesy which have often marked our great public men are not his; and he has probably never realised the lack of them. But these are far more telling qualities with the mass of English people, and English society, than any measure of talent or devotion to duty. From the lack of them in some degree the Prince Consort, with all his truly noble gifts, never was a popular man, and hardly is so even now when all his patiently heroic virtues are so well known. There is something no doubt that is right in the popular instinct, and we do not challenge its verdict. We offer it only in explanation.
Of the remaining Ministers in the House of Lords there are the Lord Chancellor and the head of the Admiralty who may both claim also to stand in the front rank as statesmen. But neither of them can be said to be popular leaders. The clear, incisive, orderly intellect of Lord Selborne, and the sterling candour, knowledge,
and calm unaffected sense of Lord Northbrook are both invaluable adjuncts in the Liberal Cabinet. No one probably knows India and all the difficulties of its administration so well as the latter; and there was no clearer evidence of the folly of the late Viceroyship, and the bad principles which guided it, than the decided if unostentatious disapproval of Lord Northbrook. The deliberations of the present Cabinet would lose greatly if it lost the presence of either him or the Lord Chancellor, whose Conservative interests, both in reference to Church and land, are not at all incompatible with the most genuine and enlightened Liberalism. In the best sense of the word there is no greater Gladstonian in the Government than Lord Selborne. Both men are therefore true elements of Liberal strength, although neither will ever probably become distinct powers in the Constitution.
The three statesmen in the House of Commons who still claim prominent mention are of course Mr. Bright, the Home Secretary, and the head of the War Office: men so unlike each other, and the possibilities of whose influence and career are to be measured so differently, that it is hardly possible to speak of them together. Mr. Bright stands apart from the other two not merely on account of his exceptional powers as an orator, but because his age places him in advance of the others. He may be said to be a generation older in political life. There is no man deserves better of his country than John Bright. If others did more to guide and direct the great agitation associated with his name and that of his friend Mr. Cobden, no one did so much to give it motive power, and by the kindling life of a rarely felicitous and effective eloquence, to bring triumph to a beneficent cause. He has hardly lost any of his power as an orator. He has no living match as a speaker in his happier moments, as in the discussion on the Burials Bill in last Parliament, when he rose above all the miserable entanglements of the question, and by the simplicity of his language, the pathos and beauty of his allusions, and the sweet yet manly tenderness of his tone, touched every heart that heard him. But undoubtedly Mr. Bright's political thought moves now more in the past than in the present or future world of politics. We do not mean that his political interests are of the past. On the contrary, he is warmly interested in all present questions, and no man probably anticipates the political future with a more glowing faith and enthusiasm. It is, nevertheless, true that his modes of thought belong to the past. He has never forgotten or quite outlived the comparatively narrow range of ideas which were a gospel and all the gospel of politics to him from 1840 to 1850. He has never left the things that are behind that he might reach forth unto those that are before. It is impossible not to notice the narrow sharpness with which he still often draws distinctions as to classes and interests which may have had force then, but which have largely lost all meaning or, at least, the same meaning, since. Not only so, but his career as an agitator—it is the penalty of every career of agitation—has left with him a certain tinge of asperity and exaggeration in speaking of classes of his countrymen, opposed to him in politics, which is not only at times painful, but which always marks a note of descent in the political scale. The highest political intelligence may yield to this class-tone in moments of political passion, but never without regret, and it instinctively rises above it in all better moments. It would seem sometimes as if Mr. Bright nursed the tone and rejoiced in it rather than repelled it; and it breeds that air of defiance of saying by his looks as well as by his words, “if you don't take that, you will by-and-by get something worse,' which is so very offensive to classes of his countrymen. It may be said that Mr. Bright knows, if possible, less of these classes than they know of him. His heart is large and his sympathies are not confined, but the country gentlemen of England do not come within the embrace of either. He will never be anything to them but a somewhat coarse agitator, and they are to him creatures of political imagination rather than the manly and reasonable creatures they often are. Mr. Bright, with all his powers and that charm of noble speech which still is his in all better moods, is no longer a political leader towards the gates of the future. Even as to Ireland he has declared all his mind long ago; and whatever solution may await the difficulties of that country, it will hardly be found within the compass of the well-known Bright clauses. He is a dogmatist—and has always been one--on all questions of Church and State, and there is no kind of political mind from which less can be hoped in the future than that which is represented by the dogmatic Dissenter.
The whole struggles of the seventeenth century are a still living commentary upon the wisdom of their political designs and accomplishments. They may be destined to triumph once again as they did then, but their triumph, should it come, will not be that of enlightened statesmanship.
Mr. Childers as a statesman can hardly be said to have made his mark as yet ; but he has shown great administrative aptitude, and a wisdom of reticence as well as of speech which betokens latent capacity. With no mean gifts as a speaker, he has never been forward in political utterance-speaking, as is the habit of some, in season and out of season, and necessarily saying much that bad better have been left unsaid. While a strong Liberal, Mr. Childers is neither on the one hand a Whig of an old school, nor a Neo-Liberal with extreme tendencies in one direction nor another. He has identified himself with no social or political nostrums, and plainly does not believe in advancing the well-being of the country by any ready-made legislative panaceas. He is, in short, a man of good sense, of large intelligence, and of ripened knowledge on many important questions; a man of business, yet with a special political education and the instincts of statesmanship guiding all his com
He is far more than the mere burcaucrate, and knows well that no amount of mere business aptitude or departmental
capacity can ever make a statesman, without the higher thoughtfulness that comes from the study of national questions on a great scale.
Of Sir William Vernon Harcourt it is more difficult to speak than of any other who occupies a prominent position in the present Cabinet. He is a force still to be revealed. Of his powers as a speaker, and even as a political thinker, there can be no question. His mind ranges freely over the world of politics. He has knowledge, energy, openness of mind. He is capable of infinite pains, at least in the preparation of his speeches, which no doubt was one of the weapons which overthrew the late Administration. His elaborate criticisms, studded with sarcasm and set off with a most effective rhetoric, did much to lay bare the imposture of a sinister foreign policy. His confidence in himself and in his cause gave a sweep to his oratory which made it deadly, and no one, save Mr. Gladstone himself, contributed so much to the results of the late election. He received therefore only what was due in his promotion to the high office which he now holds. He has still to prove that he possesses the higher qualities which can make him successful in such a post, or as a political leader. His mannerism has considerably softened during four months of official parliamentary life, he has learned some due consideration for the feelings of others, and has even at times been humble with a courtesy which suggests the diminution of a self-consciousness which must have otherwise proved a formidable inconvenience in the House of Commons. As there is no doubt of his capacity, so there is good hope that his political convictions are deeper and more steadfast than they once seemed to be, and that no mere love of asserting his own will, but a grave sense of the evils, not merely of boy-imprisonment, but of many other details of our domestic legislation, may stimulate him to an active and enlightened course of home policy. No mere cleverness, however intellectual and well-informed, can secure success in such an important career as that on which Sir William has entered. No one knows this better than he does himself, and the growth of steadfast, pure, and earnest public principles will no doubt mark prominently the future of that
Of lesser men we cannot now speak, and it is the less necessary to do so that, able as many of these men are—like Mr. Fawcett, Dr. Playfair, Mr. Grant Duff, and others—they are none of them powers likely to influence the future much. Mr. Fawcett is a man of undoubted ability, and has earned for himself a highly honourable position as a politician, as he has well deserved the official promotion which he has reached; but, however valuable his guidance on special questions may be, he can never be either a popular or official leader. It is different with men like Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Charles Dilke, the latter of whom especially may yet prove a power in the country. Both of these men have shown high capacities of parliamentary rule ; both are men of clear political insight, and possess that determination of judgment which, ripened by experience, and chastened by a wider