Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

.

Premier

Sir Robert Peel, Bart., President of the Council :

Lord Melbourne (with a mar

quisate), Home Department

Lord John Russell (with a

peerage), Foreign Department

Earl of Aberdeen, Colonial Department

Lord Stanley, Exchequer

Mr. F. T. Baring, Board of Trade

Mr. Goulbourn, India Board

Lord Ellenborough, Admiralty

Lord Palmerston (with a peer

age), Duchy of Lancaster

Lord Ebrington, Privy Seal

The Marquis of Normanby, Lord Chancellor (in the Lords) Lord Lyndhurst, Court of Chancery

Lord Cottenham, Land Revenue

Lord Duncannon, Secretary at War

Mr. T. B. Macauley, Vice President of the Board of Trade Lord Sandon,

Mr. Emmerson Tennant, Commissioners of the India Board

Mr. Colquhoun,
Mr. D’Israeli,

Lord Seymour
Secretaries to the India Board

Mr. Clay,
Under Secretaries of State for the Š Mr. Vernon Smith,
Colonies

Mr. Gladstone,
Secretary to the Admiralty

Sir Thomas Cockrane, Judge Advocate General

Sir George Grey, Bart. Attorney General

Sir John Campbell (with re

version to Sir W. Follett on Sir John's accession to the

bench), Lord Lieutenant of Ireland

Earl Minto, Secretary for Ireland

Lord Morpeth, Lord Chancellor of Ireland

Sir E. Sugden, Solicitor or Attorney General of Ireland

Mr. Shiel (to be knighted), Governor-General of India

.

[ocr errors]

.

Sir James Graham (with a

peerage),

ŞLord Elliott or Mr. Charles Governor of Madras

Wood (with a baronetcy), Minister to France

Lord Clarendon, Minister to Constantinople

Sir S. Canning. ALL THE OTHER POSTS TO REMAIN AS AT PRESENT: Sir John Cam Hobhouse and Mr. Labouchere to receive peerages.'

The above list, it will be observed, includes the whole of her majesty's present ministers, with the exception of Lord Holland

and the Marquis of Lansdowne. The object of its framers appears to have been to decoy the Whig party into the false position we have described; and although Fraser's Magazine hints that Lords Normanby and Palmerston are to be excluded from the coalition treaty, we entertain no doubt that the Tories would joyfully hail a ministry formed of these incongruous materials. Lord Melbourne is offered a marquisate, Lord John Russell a peerage, Lord Palmerston a seat in the upper house; Sir John Campbell is tempted with a hope of the ermine; Mr. Shiel is to be a created the Right Hon. Sir Richard;' and Mr. Charles Wood is promised a baronetcy ; while Sir John Hobhouse and Mr. Labouchere are to be consoled with coronets! All this betrays intense anxiety to gain over the Whig ministers and their supporters to the proposed arrangement. The modesty of offering, as bribes to the ministers, the honors in their own gift, reminds us of the dialogue between the farmer and the fox that had robbed his poultry yard:-

[ocr errors][merged small]

Fraser's Magazine commences its article on the approaching . coalition' with the admission that the title of the paper is one which at first sight will disgust all honest men. It feels that honest men of all parties are ready to protest against the monstrous union; and takes pains to disarm their antipathies by averring, that having looked behind and before, and on every side, it has been forced to the conclusion that whether men like it or not, to this point we are now drifting! The process of ratiocination by which this conclusion has been arrived at is described in the following terms :

• First of all we take note of the fact, which no man, however whiggish he may be, will sincerely and honestly deny, that the present administration is most unquestionably on its very last legs.' It cannot surely be necessary for us to advance any lengthened proof of this. Ten or eleven formal and distinct defeats in a single session, and this not on one point merely, but on several distinct questions, must certainly be admitted to show, not only that the ministry is at its very last gasp, but that any other cabinet which England ever yet saw, would already have given up the ghost, and that several months since.'

Now if it be true, that the ministry is at the last gasp,' and that its dissolution is inevitable, it appears odd that a coalition should be proposed, and that the Tories should not rather wait till that event; and then at once, in a body, occupy the vacated

position. If the writers of Fraser's Magazine believe the assertion we have quoted, the proposition for a coalition is tantamount to a confession that the Tories are not strong enough to form a ministry or maintain themselves in office. Nothing we are told can maintain the Whigs in power : what then is the secret of the extraordinary generosity that proposes to divide the loaves and • fishes' with defeated rivals? This looks suspicious. It is evident, either that the Tories despair of displacing the queen’s present advisers, or dare not attempt the government alone. Whichever supposition we take, it is their interest to form a coalition ; and we must add, the interest of the Liberals to resist one. If the Tories have not the power to remove the Whigs, it would be folly to admit them to partnership: if the Tories could not stand of themselves, it would be something worse than folly. to prevent their fall. Sir Robert Peel knows well enough that if the Whigs cannot govern with a majority of from fifteen to twenty, it would be rather difficult for him to conduct the public business with a positive minority. Precarious, therefore, as the position of his opponents may be, he is shrewd enough to discover that the only road to enjoyment of power lies through the quagmire of coalition, where, if he can induce them to follow his will-o'-the-wisp,' he can swamp them irretrievably!

That Fraser's Magazine has some misgiving as to the ability of its friends to oust the Cabinet, is evident as we proceed.

• Our next remark is, that we cannot reasonably expect of the present ministers anything like a frank, manly, and unconditional surrender. The extraordinary specimen of adhesiveness which they have already given us prognosticates, with the greatest certainty, a readiness and a watchfulness, even in the act of resignation, to catch at every chance; to avail themselves of every opportunity ; and, in short, to get all, to hold all, and to cling to all, up to the last moment of exist

The Melbourne cabinet, then, 1. Cannot go on as they are ; 2. Will strive to save anything out of the wreck that they are able.'

ence.

The plain English of this is, that there are very strong doubts whether the opposition have the power of dispossessing the Melbourne cabinet; and what they cannot do by force they will try to effect by stratagem. Leaving, however, the circumstances of the cabinet, we turn to the prospects of • Conservatism,' on which subject the opinions of the publication under review assume more importance :

• The apparent prospect of the Conservatives at the present moment is somewhat as follows: there appears every probability, judging from the constant diminution of the ministerial array, and increase of that of the opposition, that in the ensuing session the ministry may be so

pressed and hampered as to be compelled to make its election,- either to dissolve parliament or to resign.

• To the Conservatives it is almost indifferent which of these courses the ministry may take. Should they appeal to the people, appear. ances are strangely deceptive if, even with all that government influence could do, the Whigs did not lose on the whole, at least thirty votes. Such a loss, reckoning their present majority at ten, would leave them in a minority of fifty, and this in a parliament of their own calling. Probably this would be the course that Sir Robert Peel would decidedly prefer his opponents to take. It would give him the helm at once, and would also leave him the right to dissolve again in his turn, should any circumstance make it advisable within the next two or three years.

• Should the Whigs, however, rather choose to give up the helm for a period, trusting to time and chance for a fresh opening for resumption, the duty of dissolving parliament would devolve upon Sir Robert Peel. Admitting the government to have influence in the return of ten votes, in such places as Portsmouth, Chatham, and Devonport, &c., and remembering, also, that many men like Mr. Byng in Middlesex, may stand by their party to the last, but not after they have themselves thrown up the cards,- we may surely estimate that with all these advantages, Sir Robert Peel's majority, in a parliament called by himself, would be nothing below a hundred.'

Will the reader believe it, notwithstanding this splendid majority of a hundred, we find Fraser's Magazine ready to coalesce with the Whigs !—what amiable condescension !—what patriotic disinterestedness !—a majority of fifty or even a hundred, and yet Sir Robert Peel pushes away from him the seals of office! But why should this surprise us: bishops, formerly, when about to receive the mitre for which their temples throbbed, were accustomed to exclaim nolo episcopari. It does not stand within the compass of belief that Sir Robert would refuse office without a coalition, if he were certain of a majority of a hundred, or fifty, or a working majority at all. If the Whigs resign he at once finds himself in a minority; and it is certain that the Whigs will not dissolve parliament unless they are satisfied that their position will be improved by doing so. Sir Robert's only chance, therefore, is to dissolve parliament himself; and that, it is well known, he shrinks from doing. The writers from Fraser's Magazine talk of their majority of a hundred,' just as Caleb Blalderstone used to talk of the venison and sack of Ravensworth Castle; or as the auctioneer who estimates at one hundred guineas the article he is about to knock down for as many shillings! They want to make the best bargain they can ; and therefore think a little exaggeration pardonable.

The only reason offered us in support of the assumption that the Whig ministry cannot remain in office is, that they have been defeated on some unimportant questions ; indeed we are told that 'any other cabinet that England ever saw would have already given up the ghost, and that several months since. But is it forgotten that the Peel ministry in 1835, had only one majority; which was procured by accident and afterwards reversed ? Is it not a matter of history that Sir Robert was ten times successively in a minority before he resigned,-on the speakership, the address, the London University charter, the committee on Colonel Tremenhere, the Leicester election, the Cork election, an adjournment, and thrice on the appropriation clause ?-and is it not notorious, that the Tory * ministries of Perceval, Liverpool, and

.

Take the following few as a specimen from many cases that are at hand. 1818, April 15.—Lord Castlereagh moved that an allowance of £10,000 a-year be given to the Duke of Clarence. Mr. Summer moved an amendment that the allowance be £6,000 : For the motion

184 For the amendment

193 Majority against ministers

-9 April 16.—Lord Castlereagh moved that £6,000 a-ycar be granted to the Duke of Cumberland : Ayes

136 Noes

143 Majority against ministers

-7 1822, March 1.-Sir M. W. Ridley moved that the number of Lords of the Admiralty be reduced from 7 to 5 : For the motion

182 Against it

128 Majority against ministers

-54 May 2.-Lord Normanby moved an address to the Crown, praying that there be but one postmaster, instead of two: For the motion

216 Against it

201 Majority against ministers

-15 1823, April, 22.-Sir Francis Burdett moved an inquiry into the conduct of the Sheriff of Dublin, on the ground of his having unfairly constituted certain juries: For the motion

219 Against it

185 Majority against ministers

-34 1828, February 26.—Lord John Russell moved that the Test and Corporation Acts should be repealed : For the motion

237 Against it

193 Majority against ministers 1830, March 26.—Sir Robert Heron moved that no supply be given for certain pensions granted by government to the Hon. Mr. Dundas and the Hon. Mr. Bathurst: For the motion

130 Against it

112 Majority against ininisters

-18

.

« ForrigeFortsett »