A dream of Midlothian
[PRICE ONE PENNY.
MR. GLADSTONE IN AUGUST, 1884.
SIR EDWARD SULLIVAN, BART.
"Thus, with an air sincere, in fiction bold
His ready tale th' inventive hero told."
"Oh! still the same Ulysses, she rejoined,
In useful craft successfully refined."
My Lords, Ladies, and Gentlemen,—So many and such glorious events have crowded into the four years since last I had the honour of addressing you, that I must begin by craving your patience!
"Friend, be not tedious," said an Indian Rajah to a Christian missionary, who was beginning to explain to him the beauties of the Christian faith, "remember life is short." Life is indeed short; but faith is eternal, especially faith in the great Liberal party.
Grant me but your patience and I will engage not to be tedious!
"Lend me your ears, I come to bury Cæsar, not to praise him." I come, not to praise your institution, to tell you of extending empire, of trade and wealth, advancing by leaps and bounds, but to tell you how, since I last addressed you, I have buried, I hope for ever, the last shred of the
IMPERIAL POLICY OF ENGLAND.
You will remember that when I last addressed you the Imperial policy of my predecessor had culminated in the Conference at Berlin. Peace with Honour its authors vainly called it—honour, indeed. Where was the honour? In checking the proselytising influence of Holy Russia? Of putting on the wall again the broken Humpty-Dumpty of Mahommedan cruelty and lust. Honour, indeed. The decisions of that iniquitous Conference have ever since checked the course of our beneficent efforts. How much nobler for England to leave the Conference in London in a minority of one, the champion of humanity and justice, than to leave the Conference at Berlin at the head of the Great Powers of Europe—the champion of injustice and crime. (Loud cheers.) When I last addressed you I engaged that if returned to power I would renounce the Devil and all his works, I would abjure for myself and for you all part or heritage in that policy that proclaimed for its sole objects the stability of British interests and the glorification of the British Empire. (Cheers.) I declared that I would not rest, night or day, while one stone of Lord Beaconsfield's Imperial policy, either at home or abroad, was left standing on another. (Cheers.) Well, I think you will give me the credit of having kept my word. (Loud cheers.) Mohammed told his followers whenever they were in doubt they should consult their wives, and do the very reverse of what they advised. Well, it is on this advice that I have acted. In every question of foreign, colonial, Indian, Imperial policy, I have invariably asked myself, "What would Lord Beaconsfield have done in this case?" And when I have satisfied myself on that point I have, at every apparent sacrifice of what are falsely called "national interests,"
DONE EXACTLY THE REVERSE.
(Loud cheers.) It is owing to this unswerving determination on my part to reverse in every case the policy of my predecessor that England owes the proud position she new occupies as the arbiter of the world. (Loud cheers.) It is to this policy entirely that we are now indebted for our cordial relations with Germany and France. It is this policy that has opened the way for the noble advance of Russian civilisation to the frontiers of India. It is this policy that has caused the uprising of national feeling in India. It is this policy to which we owe the present prosperity and contentment of Ireland, and the magical blossoming forth of the downtrodden land of Egypt. (Continued cheering.) All nations in the world, great and small, have experienced the beneficent influence of our policy. There is not one "from the hyssop that groweth on the wall to the cedar of Lebanon" that has not cause to bless the Liberal Government that now directs the policy of England. (Loud and continued cheering.) It is indeed the crowning privilege of a long, and, I humbly hope, a not altogether unsuccessful life, that I can now proudly say to my countrymen "Circumspice." All the unquestioning confidence, the cordial friendship, that is everywhere showered on your nation; all that gentle spirit of love towards you that you see in Ireland, in France, in Germany, in India, in Egypt, in Russia, is my work, and mine only, assisted of course by my Foreign Minister, Lord Granville. (Loud cheers.) I will not disgust you with the details of cleansing the Augean stables of Lord Beaconsfield's Imperial policy. (Shame.) Suffice it to say that, loathsome as it was, it has been a real labour of love to me and to my colleagues. We have done it thoroughly, and it is finished. (Loud cheers.) You will remember that even before I took office I found the burden of silence was too great for me to bear, and I was impelled to take steps to forbid Lord Salisbury publishing the unholy banns of marriage between England and the German Powers; to tear in pieces, in the face of High Heaven, "the tidings of great joy" he hadto wave in my face. (Continued hissing.) Even now I listen again to the ringing cheers with which you greeted the noble—for, with all humility, I think they were noble—words,
"HANDS OFF AUSTRIA!"
when I selected you as the medium for declaring, urbi et orbem, that German and Austrian influence had always had for its object the degradation of mankind. (Loud cheers.) Those inspired words, for inspired they must have been, have already borne fruit, and promise a crop of blessings to this country and to the empire that no human eye can foresee. (Cheers.) In obedience to the wishes of some weak-kneed colleagues I was induced to apologise to the Austrian Government for the force of my language. (Shame.) But what of that? Do you suppose it caused me to change one jot or tittle of my policy? Not a bit of it. It merely, if anything, made me more determined to carry it out. (Loud cheers.) You remember our young friend Mr. Midshipman Easy's apology to the purser's mate for saying that "he was not fit to carry guts to a bear." "Sir, I have the greatest pleasure in allowing that you are fit to carry guts to a bear!" Well, gentlemen, that was the nature of my apology to Austria. (Loud cheers.) "Words are the daughters of the Earth, acts are the sons of Heaven," and it was by acts not by "words, idle words," that I have brought about the satisfactory relations that now exist between Germany and this country. (Loud cheers.) During the last four years, as you are aware, the relations between Germany and Austria on the one side, and of France and Russia on the other, have been very strained. Last year, indeed, war was at one moment very imminent. Well, during that prolonged period of unrest, I have not ceased to parade my active sympathies in favour of France and Russia, and
MY HOSTILITY TO GERMANY AND AUSTRIA.
Naturally, at first, Germany could not appreciate the full nobility and self-negation of my policy; she could not conceive it possible that the active sympathies of an English Government could be in favour of Russia, who openly threatened her empire in India; and of France, who openly threatened her influence in Egypt. And I am told that when the scales at last fell from the eyes of Prince Bismarck, and he saw clearly the full nobility of our policy, he laughed—actually laughed, loud and long. Evidently national abnegation is an unknown virtue to Prince Bismarck and his school of politicians—a lesson he has yet to learn. (Cheers.) I need not explain to you, my dear fellow-countrymen, whose indisposition to give a direct answer is proverbial, how impossible it is that there should be any sympathy, anything, in fact, but antipathy between me and a statesman who says exactly what he means, who tells you point blank what he wants, and how he is going to get it; who goes direct to his point, and as was said of Cæsar, writes despatches in the same way as he makes war—"in eodem animo scripsit quo bellavit." What sympathy can I feel for one who laughs at the noble faith of cosmopolitanism, who boasts that his sole political guide is the interest of his own country. With such a nature I can, of course, hold no communion, and I am satisfied you would not wish me to do so. (Loud and prolonged cheering.) I do not worship at the shrine of Angerona. I have never practised plain speaking, and, if it pleases Divine Providence, I never will. I can feel nothing but pity for those earthy minds who can see in international politics only questions of hard common sense, who would strip them of all that sentiment, of all those high-sounding professions, without which my eloquence would be but as sounding brass or tinkling cymbals. (Cheers.) No. Germany can never have place in my heart. My instincts draw me rather to the side of France, the land of Voltaire, Rousseau, of my friend, Doctor Clémenceau, the noble champion of the Commune. They draw me to Russia, the civiliser of Poland, of Siberia, of the Caucasus, of Khiva, and soon probably of Persia and Hindostan; to Russia, so eloquently described by Mr. Lowe, now Lord Sherbrooke, as "the refuge of the afflicted, the protector of the unprotected, the father of the fatherless"—to Holy Russia, the home of that pure and orthodox Greek Church, with which my dearest sympathies are imperishably entwined. (Loud cheers.) Excuse me, my dear friends, if on this matter I have spoken with more warmth than I intended. The personal hostility between the German Chancellor and myself, if, indeed, "personal hostility can enter into my nature," is a question of righteousness, that far exceeds in importance all earthly politics. I have undertaken in the face of God and man to rule the British Empire according to the inspirations of a higher power; and if, as it unfortunately appears probable. Prince Bismarck ventures to doubt my credentials, and sneer at my mission, my duty is at once to stand up for my Divine right. (Loud cheers.) You remember I denounced those who declaimed about national honour and grandeur as worse than the disseminators of the small-pox; and so they are! A pest fall on them all! But when it comes to a question of personal honour and grandeur, when ridicule is attempted to be thrown on my inspired words, then, indeed, I have no hesitation in invoking the God of battles. I know we have not the legions of Germany, that our army is puny in comparison with theirs, but what of that? Did not David slay Goliath? Do we suppose the God of justice always marches with the biggest battalions? No, indeed! If my policy or my personal honour requires it, I shall not hesitate to hurl my skeleton regiments against the serried legions of Germany, confident that you will support me with your last boy and your last "bottom dollar." (Enthusiastic cheers, which were renewed every time the right hon. gentleman doubled his fists and assumed a fighting attitude.) You will remember that one of the cardinal points of Lord Beaconsfield's policy was
DISTRUST OF RUSSIA.
The advance of Russia on our Indian Empire was a constant bugbear; to meet this advance a strategical frontier was drawn out at the cost of the Afghan war. Candahar was occupied, the railway from Quettah was commenced. Well, you know I do not share this scare of Russia; on the contrary, she is next to France, the country whose religious and civilising instincts have most enlisted my love and sympathies. I have therefore abandoned the scientific frontier; withdrawn our troops from Candahar, abandoned the railway plant at Quettah, with a result even more satisfactory than I hoped for. (Cheers.) These offensive restrictions being removed, Russian civilisation has now advanced to Merv and Sarakhs, and her military missionaries are within a gallop of Herat (Cheers.) I have always maintained that, in strict moral justice, and by that alone, do I guide my policy. The interests of Russia in India require as great, or even greater consideration than our own. (Loud cheers.) India is a trust placed in our hands by Divine Providence to have and to hold till she can walk alone, and if she now thinks she can walk alone, and my friend, Lord Ripon—(loud cheers)—has done all in his power to induce her to try, or if she prefers the guidance of Holy Russia to our own, she is perfectly at liberty to do so. (Loud cheers and shouts of "Perish India.") It is true that this advance of Russia to Merv and Herat has caused a great ferment in India, and that your gallant fellow-countryman, Sir Donald Stewart, has applied for 15,000 English troops to enable him to increase largely the army of native troops; but he entirely misunderstands the situation. Be of good cheer. You need not be under the least alarm that I shall grant his request. (Cheers.) Four years ago I assured you that the
CONDITION OF IRELAND WAS SATISFACTORY,
and that it was only Tory malignity and inefficiency that made the Arms Bill necessary. I therefore abolished the Arms Bill; and I feel satisfied everything would have gone according to my wishes if Mr. Parnell had not allowed his impatience to prompt him to be beforehand with me in advocating the confiscation of the property of the Tory landlords. That, of course, was a card I could not allow him to play; you remember how I denounced him at Leeds as steeped in treason to the very lips; how he was imprisoned in Kilmainham without trial; how I made that famous treaty with him and his associates—(loud cheers)—that spread such consternation in the Tory camp. You know how again my hand was forced by these horrible murders in Phoenix Park. Since then I have been obliged to trust to a considerable degree to that admirable resource of civilisation, the hangman's rope; certainly it has done good service; and if occasionally it has got round the wrong neck it is only what happened under a Tory Government during the Indian Mutiny when three Tantia Topees were hanged before they got hold of the right one. (Loud laughter.) In consequence of the just and popular administration of my friend, Lord Spencer, and of the severe measures of repression, the most severe ever known in Ireland, that I have placed in his hands, Ireland is again loyal and peaceful. The "voice of the turtle is again heard in the land," and contentment and prosperity whistle in the streets. (Loud cheers.) The extraordinary success that has attended
OUR POLICY IN EGYPT
is the wonder and admiration of the world, and but for the pardonable jealousies of some of our neighbours, and the unpardonable criticisms of the Opposition, our success would have been greater still. The judicious letting of blood at Alexandria, Tel-el-Keber, in the Soudan, and on the shores of the Red Sea, appears to have been attended with wonderful results. (Cheers.) I am assured by Sir Evelyn Baring that since he went to Egypt the advance of the fellaheen in material prosperity has been simply marvellous. The Egyptian war—but I forget, I have already distinctly proved that it was not a war at all, rather the military operations in Egypt—were undertaken in the cause of Europe, of Egypt, of civilisation. No degrading thoughts of the interests of England ever crossed our minds. (Cheers.) We spent six or seven millions sterling in destroying Alexandria, in stamping out the national rising under Arabi, in bringing the blessings of civilisation to the fierce Arabs of the Soudan at Teb and Tamanieb. (Loud cheers.) These are the sacrifices we have made in the noble cause of cosmopolitanism, in advancing the interests of ether nations in preference to our own; and now—such is human ingratitude—the very nations in whose interests we spent £6,000,000 to destroying Alexandria now ask us to pay £8,000,000 more to rebuild it. (Shame, shame.) But you need be under no alarm; we shall not pay it. Sooner than do so we will withdraw from the country, and leave it to stew in its own juice. (Loud and long-continued cheering.) I have been accused by Lord Randolph Churchill—(hisses and groans, and cat-calls)—and other feeble folk who have their habitations in the rocks of Tory stupidity and ignorance, of bloodguiltiness—I am told that my hands are smirched with the blood of Egyptians and Arabs, even as I declared the hands of Lord Beaconsfield were smirched with the blood of Bulgarian and other Christian martyrs. It is false. Even supposing the blood of Arabs and Egyptians had flowed ten times as freely does Lord Randolph Churchill—(groans)—see no difference between the blood of Christians of the Holy Greek Church and the blood of the Jews, or of the Pagan followers of Mahound? (Loud cheers.) My conduct of the Egyptian Question has been misunderstood even by some of my colleagues. It has even been whispered that if I had been in opposition I should have been an Egyptian nationalist, that I should have supported the struggling nationality of Egypt, as I had before done those of Italy, Bulgaria, and India; but they were mistaken. The conditions were quite different, as I could prove to you if time permitted. (Cheers.) I know that in addressing so thoughtful and intelligent an assembly as I now see before me, I shall receive your hearty applause when I tell you that what is vulgarly called the glorious Empire of England, inspires me with no pride whatever. (Loud cheers.) On the contrary, it has always appeared to me
AN EMPIRE OF FRAUD AND FORCE—
(continued cheering)—and the question that has been constantly present to my mind has been not "ought we to reduce our Empire," but "how can we reduce it with least injury and inconvenience to our neighbours and to the world?" It has never yet been proved to my satisfaction, and I think I may promise you it never will, that England would be worse off without India, or Ireland, or Australia, or Malta, or Gibraltar. Are not the Dutch, and Belgians, and Portuguese as happy and prosperous as the Irish? Is not our true position amongst the fifth-rate Powers of the world, and should we not be more honest and respected if we accepted it? (Loud cheers.) I have been reminded that as the Scotch are the most adventurous and successful of our pioneers, that as there are a far greater number of her sons in India and our Colonies as covenanted and uncovenanted servants, as merchants and traders all over the world, the policy of abandoning our possessions might not be popular with you; but though I acknowledge to the full the enterprise of my countrymen, though I agree with Sir John Ross that if he had ever reached the North Pole he would have found a Scotchman sitting astride of it—(loud cheers)—yet I know I am addressing a pious and God-fearing people, whose motto has always been "Fiat justitia, ruat cœlum," who would never allow what is called the "main chance" to interfere with their sense of justice, and who would shrink from the touch of unhallowed gain with the same disgust as I myself, humbly be it said, shrank from the profits made by my paternal slaves fifty years ago. (Loud and continued cheering.) Cicero once said he wished every man had written on his brow what he really thought of the affairs of the State. Well, I am more fortunate than Cicero. I believe I can actually see what Cicero only desired to see. I think I can see
"HOUSE OF LORDS"
written on the intellectual foreheads of the whole noble assemblage I am now addressing. (Laughter and cheers.) Well, you shall not be disappointed. I will tell you all about the House of Lords, but in doing so I shall have to take you into my confidence—into my family confidence—a confidence hitherto withheld from all the world, and now open to my constituents alone. Of course, so far as I am concerned, I would do away with the House of Lords to-morrow; but if I did so what would become of my friend Lord Granville, of the Dukes of Devonshire and Argyll, and many of my greatest personal friends? But it is not the claim of friendship alone that stays the axe already uplifted to bring to the ground another upas tree. I have, as you know, two sons, one who is treading in my footsteps so closely that I feel sometimes unconsciously turning round in alarm lest he should tread on my heels. And my eldest son, to whom, I grieve to say it, politics appear to be rather a bore, it is certain he will never make a name in the present House of Commons; it is possible he may never sit in another. The only way in which he can serve his country, and achieve success, is by making him a peer. (Cheers.) He would make an excellent peer. Should I be justified in sacrificing the best, probably the only prospects of my son's advancement, to my dislike to Lord Salisbury? (Cries of "No, no.") Am I to sacrifice my friends in order to be revenged on his? To burn my house in order to roast his eggs? (Cheers.) I think not. I am not, as you know, just now a supporter of female franchise, but that is because it was made a stalking-horse by the Tories to hamper my Franchise Bill. Only let the female franchise be opposed by the Tories on some future occasion, and you will see with what vigour I will champion it. But, after all, franchise or no franchise, women go for something in this world, and the question of the House of Lords is, I may whisper to you in confidence, very much more
AN AFFAIRE DE FEMMES
than many of you suppose. God forbid that I should ever go to the House of Lords; but events may be too strong for me. Already my friends have threatened it, my wife has threatened it, my doctor has threatened it, and destiny may compel it. At any rate it is always pleasant to have a port under one's lea. What between wife and doctor, and sons and friends, I think you can quite conceive that if I returned home one day and said I had abolished the House of Lords, I might possibly meet with a very warm reception! (Loud laughter, in which the right hon. gentleman joined.) I do not read the newspapers, as you know; but I am told that one of the Opposition journals has had the bad taste to reflect on the merits of those who have received personal marks of favour at my hands. I should have supposed that then even a journalist would have esteemed such a subject sacred. It was in the cause of science that I made my friend Andrew Clark a baronet—(cheers)—it was in the cause of commercial enterprise that I gave my hospitable yachting host, Donald Currie, the same reward. (Cheers.) It was in the cause of truth, because he never swerved from that story of the impaled Bulgarian, the main stay of the atrocity agitation, that your countryman, my friend, Mr. Malcolm McColl, but indeed he has an Irish accent, was promoted to be a dignitary of the Church—(loud cheers)—and it was for devotion to the cause of the great Liberal party that my electioneering agents were rewarded with the offices of Commissary Clerk, Queen's and Lords' Remembrancer, and Sheriff-substitutes, with only some paltry £5,000 or £6,000 a year. (Cheers.) Are we ashamed to let our left hand know what our right hand is doing? Is it not the great canon of our faith that everything noble, generous, and admirable, is represented by the party I have now the honour of addressing, and everything mean, contemptible, and miserable by the party that I am told will be addressed by Lord Salisbury next week? (Loud cheers.) Four years ago I told you that the
of the country was the result of the foreign policy of Lord Beaconsfield. I could not have foreseen that the deadly effects of that policy could last so long. The fatal effects indeed are so strong we cannot get rid of them. We have reversed that policy from its foundations, but its ruinous results are still evident. After every trade in the country has more or less suffered, we have now reports of the depression of the great shipping interest also. You are not shipowners, I believe—(loud cheers)—and, therefore, I may tell you exactly what I feel on the subject. When I remember the thorn the shipowners had been in the sides of my friends, Messrs. Chamberlain and Childers, when I think of their unreasonable behaviour in the matter of the Suez Canal Treaty and the Merchant Shipping Bill, and, indeed, of the Congo Treaty also, I confess I have small sympathy for them. (Loud cheers.) I am sure you will agree with me that it is better for the great cause of humanity and cosmopolitanism that every ship in England and in Scotland should be laid up than that they should continue to trade under the inhuman system that Mr. Chamberlain has so bravely exposed. (Loud and prolonged cheering.) Ladies and gentlemen, I feel I have kept you too long. (No.) Nothing has afforded me greater solace during the arduous labours of the last four years than the intelligent appreciation with which my followers have adopted my slightest suggestions. This has often appeared to me extraordinary. It is only the other day I suggested
THE MANUFACTURE OF JAM
as the panacea for agricultural ruin. The word jam was scarcely spoken than the parable was taken up over the whole country; the fiery cross itself could not have circulated with greater rapidity. Jam was the one subject thought of, dreamt of, talked of, in every Liberal household in the country! Jam, especially strawberry jam, was accepted as an emanation of the spirit of Liberalism; the Caucus issued instructions about jam; and now I see my friend Sir Thomas Farren defends the foreign sugar bounties, and excuses the ruin of our own sugar-growing dependencies, solely and entirely on the imperative necessity of getting cheap sugar for jam. From what little beginnings do great results often spring; who could have supposed that my simple praise of jam would result in planting the standard of Liberalism in every nursery in the Kingdom. But such is the case; through jam, and by jam, we have secured the suffrage of that sweet tooth that we know is common to us all. The hearts of mothers and nurses, as well as the hearts of little children, yearn towards us, and even the very face of the infant in arms, when swallowing his concealed Gregory, is dimpled with joy as he recognises the sweet presence of the Grand Old William of the jam pot. (Prolonged cheers and laughter again and again renewed.) As you know, I do not read the newspapers, but I am told that during the last four years there has been a considerable
FALL IN MANUFACTURING WAGES.
And I am particularly reminded that, at Sunderland, the glassmakers, on strike, have asked to be allowed to return to work at the rate of wages paid in Belgium! This is, indeed, an unexpected triumph for Free Trade! Another proof of the infallibility of my friend, Mr. Giffen! Hitherto the Belgians have been able to produce glass cheaper than we have, and have undersold us in our own market. They will do so no longer. This fall in wages will not only enable us to compete with them in our own market, but if the fall is continued, as I think we may reasonably hope it will be, it will enable us to compete with the Belgians in their own markets, in spite of the 40 per cent. protection they enjoy. What a future does not this open to the true political economist! We shall hear no more of producers drinking champagne, and feeding their dogs on beef- steaks! But we shall, instead, welcome the consumer's, a long day's work for a short day's pay. But there are pessimists who will never be comforted, do what we may. We have piped to them, but they will not dance! We have brought wages down to the Belgian level; wheat down to 32s. a quarter; New Zealand mutton down to sixpence per pound; but yet they are not happy! What more do they want?
I hear some one say. Employment, of course, but employment in renumnerative, not in unremunerative labours. Employment, not in the unremunerative labour of growing corn, or barley, or meat, but employment in the remunerative labour of growing fruit, and flowers, and jam. "We are growing less corn every year," say the pessimists. "We have one million of acres less under wheat than we had ten years ago." And this, forsooth, they call a misfortune. Can they not see that in this beneficial process we are converting unremunerative into remunerative labour? Can they not see that in reducing our wheat area one million of acres we are liberating the labour of 300,000 or 400,000 men? Removing them from the unremunerative labour of growing wheat to the remunerative labour of growing fruit, and flowers, and jam. Is it only a dream of happy Arcadia, or is it a reality, that in a few years our population will withdraw from the ruder arts of husbandry—will no longer toil and moil in the demoralising atmosphere of unsuccessful manufacturing competition, but, guileless and happy, will, under conditions of compulsory peace, employ their leisure in the truly rural occupation of growing fruit and flowers and making jam. But the strongest argument against diminishing our home supply of wheat, and one that almost makes me doubt the sanity of my countrymen is, that
"IT PREVENTS OUR GOING TO WAR!"
They say that if we went to war with any maritime Power we should be starved into peace in a fortnight. Of course we should. And this, forsooth, is called a national danger. I say, on the other hand, it is the greatest national security that human ingenuity could devise. (Loud cheers.) Who so safe as those who cannot fight? (Renewed cheers.) I say that Free Trade is steadily extinguishing our home supply of food; in making us absolutely and entirely dependant on foreign nations for food, is working a miracle in the cause of civilisation, of humanity, of peace that nothing else could have effected. As far as England is concerned, Free Trade has made peace compulsory. Let jingoes rave and patriots declaim, England can never, under free trade, carry on a war with a maritime power; our fleets would be employed in guarding our grain ships; our coasts, our colonies, our coaling stations would be at the mercy of our enemies. In a month wheat would be up to 200s. a quarter; and I defy the most warlike Minister that ever lived, I defy Lord Salisbury himself, to carry on war with wheat at 200s. a quarter. "But," say the pessimists, still not happy, "the English are, after all, at heart, a proud, fierce nation, and if insulted would rush into war," ready or not ready. Well, all I can say is that if, after; a few more years of Radical rule, they have any pride left, they had better put it in their pockets; it will only cause them mischief. (Loud cheers.) I have been twitted, like my friend Mr. Cobden, with having advocated the
of England at any cost. Whatever idle words I may have been compelled to speak on that matter, you know perfectly, I have never put them into practice! Strengthen the navy, indeed! On the contrary, I confidently believe that in a few years neither army or navy will be tolerated in this country. How long, may I ask, will you continue to spend £25,000,000 a-year on your soldiers and sailors after you have realised the fact that war would bring you to starvation point in six months? Our opponents charge us with
THE FAILURE OF OUR POLICY;
but, like everything else they charge us with, this is false. I do not mean to say that our policy has been everywhere completely successful. This would be, perhaps, saying too much—the luck of Polycrates has not always been ours, but that our policy has been most successful, far more successful than we had any right to expect, I do most fearlessly assert. I do not mean to say that the Commercial Treaty with France, that the bombardment of Alexandria, the destruction of Hick's army, the proclamation of the abandonment of the Soudan, the relief of Sinkat and Tokar, the battles of Teb and Tamanieb, our treaty with Abyssinia have each, in their way, been conspicuous successes; neither do I deny that the Suez Canal Treaty, the Congo Treaty, the Angra Pequena Treaty, the Ilbert Bill, the Mercantile Marine Bill, the Municipal Bill, the Half-Guinea Tokens Bill, or even the London Conference may not, at a first glance, on some critical minds, at least, leave the impression of a want of completeness and finality. But this, believe me, is only in imagination. In reality, I assure you each and all of them have far exceeded in their results our most sanguine expectations. But granted, which in all humility it is my pleasure to do, that in every case we have not been able to command complete success, does not that prove the extraordinary difficulties we have had to encounter? Is it not more noble to have deserved success than to have achieved it? And have we not deserved it? Have not our energy, our decision, our foresight, our unswerving purpose, our prompt action, our tender consideration for our friends and allies, earned for us, not only your admiration, but that of the world? (Loud cheers.) But suppose that our policy has not been universally successful,
WHO IS TO BLAME?
Supposing that even now, at the eleventh hour, we may be too late to rescue Gordon, whose fault is it? It is solely and entirely the fault of those whose execrable Imperial policy compelled us to employ Gordon. But for the sinister policy of Lord Beaconsfield and Lord Salisbury, we should have had no Dual Control. If we had had no Dual Control we should have never bombarded Alexandria, we should never have occupied Egypt, we should never have proclaimed the or another partially failed there; but to study them, as a whole—as one continuous, unbroken chain of events; for it is in that way, and in that way only, that you can ever fully realise the true grandeur of our policy. (Loud cheers.) Many of you whom I have now the honour of addressing, are, I am happy to know, living in well-earned and well-meritedof the Soudan, and if we had not proclaimed the abandonment of the Soudan we should not have found ourselves compelled to send Gordon to Khartoum! I am sure you will agree with me that it is no exaggeration to say that it is the late Government who virtually are answerable for Gordon's peril, and it is we who deserve the honour of his release. What I would ask you to do, and what I know you will do, is to take these twenty different points I have referred to, and consider them, not one by one, not allowing yourself to suppose that one has partially failed here,
EASE AND INDEPENDENCE.
The "Tempter" will, I understand, soon be amongst you, and you may be sure he will tell you that you owe not a little of this ease and independence, to the credit that attaches to staple institutions; to the absence of revolution at home; to the protection you have enjoyed under the British flag all over the world. He will say to you as the citizen of Seriphus said to Themistocles, "You have become great not by yourselves, but by the glory of your country;" and he will use this as an argument in defence of some of those many institutions that I consider it my high mission to destroy. I beseech you not to listen to him. "Let no man beguile you into a voluntary humility!" Honour to whom honour is due—the honour of your success is due to your noble selves. "You owe nothing, absolutely nothing whatever, to your institutions, to your citizenship. On the contrary,
YOU OWE EVERYTHING TO YOURSELVES;
To yourselves solely and entirely; to your energy, your thrift, your sobriety, your intelligence, your enterprise. Believe me, you are rich and prosperous, not on account of your institutions, but in spite of them!
ONE WORD MORE
and I have done; it is personal to myself. There was a time, about five years ago, when I felt the weight of advancing years, and thought that the hour had struck that warned me to concern myself about a future state; but you will be happy to hear it was a false alarm. Since my great rival passed away a great change has come over the spirit of my dreams. I never now feel fretful about the present, or anxious about the future; on the contrary, I grasp the present with perfect confidence, and leave the future with equal confidence to take care of itself. A woman, as you know, is as young as she looks, a man is as young as he feels! Well, dear friends, I will tell you a secret. I feel fifty, not a day older, I assure you; and as my friend Lord Rosebery reminds me. Blind Dandolo was ninety when he was elected Doge of Venice. I think, therefore, that you will agree with me that my work, instead of being finished, is in reality only now commencing. I have, it is true, the most enlightened, the most devoted, the most intellectual Parliament that ever sat in St. Stephen's, and with its assistance I can go far, very far; but with the Parliament of the future, the Parliament of my aspirations, when Mr. Parnell is at the head of eighty Home Rulers, and the opinions of my friends Mr. Bradlaugh and Mr. Labouchere are represented by scores and hundreds, I shall hope to see the realisation of the dearest wish of my heart, "Great Britain disunited, but free." (Loud and prolonged cheering, during which the right hon. gentleman resumed his seat.)