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BEACONSFIELD calisms, the distrust of him as “ mystery man,” which up mischief, and that mischief devised and regulated by the to this time had never died out even among men who raging demagogue of the hour.” The Reform legislation were his nearest colleagues, were now more openly in- which promised these results in 1866 was thrown out. dulged. Out of doors he had a “ bad press,” in Parlia- Lord Derby’s third Administration was then formed in ment he had some steady, enthusiastic friends, but more the summer of the same year, and for the third time that were cold. Sometimes he was seen on the front Opposi- there was a Tory Government on sufferance. Its followers tion bench for hours quite alone. Little conspiracies were were still a minority in the House of Commons ", an angry got up to displace him, and might have succeeded but for Reform agitation was going on; an ingenious resolution an unconquerable dread of the weapon that destroyed Peel. founded on the demand for an enlarged franchise serviceIn this state of things he patiently held his ground, work- able to Liberals might extinguish the new Government ing for his party more carefully than it knew, and never almost immediately; and it is pretty evident that the seizing upon false or discrediting advantages. But it was Tory leaders took office meaning to seek a cure for this desperate weakness by wholesale extension of the an extremely bad time for Benjamin Disraeli. Though Lord Palmerston stumbled over his Foreign suffrage. Their excuses and calculations are well Conspiracy Bill in 1858, his popularity was little damaged, known, but when all is said, Lord Derby’s state- 1867. and it was in no hopeful spirit that the Tories took office ment of its character, “ a leap in the dark,” and again in that year. They were perilously weak in the of its intention, “dishing the Whigs,” cannot be bettered. House of Commons, and affairs abroad, in which they had Whether Lord Derby or Mr Disraeli originated this small practice and no prestige, were alarming. Yet the resolve has been much discussed, and it remains an new Administration did very well till, after resettling the unsettled question. It is known that Disraeli’s private government of India, and recovering from a blunder com- secretary, Mr Ralph Earle, quarrelled with him violently mitted by their Indian secretary. Lord Ellenborough, they at about this time; and Sir William Fraser relates that, must needs launch a Reform Bill to put that dangerous meeting Mr Earle, that gentleman said : “ I know what question out of controversial politics. The well-intended your feelings must be about this Reform Bill, and I think but fantastic measure brought in for the purpose was it right to tell you that it was not Disraeli’s Bill, but Lord rejected. The country was appealed to, with good but Derby’s. I know everything that occurred.” Mr Earle insufficient results; and at the first meeting of the new gave the same assurances to the writer of these lines, and parliament the Tories were turned out on a no-confidence did so with hints and half-confidences (quite intelligible, vote moved by Lord Hartington. Foreign affairs supplied however) as to the persuasions that wrought upon his the motive: failure to preserve the peace of Europe at the chief. Mr Earle’s listener on these occasions confesses time of the Italian war of independence. It is said that that he heard with a doubting mind, and that belief in the Foreign Office had then in print a series of despatches what he heard still keeps company with Mahomet’s coffin. which would have answered its accusers had they been One thing, however, is clear. To suppose Disraeli satisfied presented when the debate began, as for some unexplained with the excuses made for his adoption of the ‘ ‘ dishing ” reason they were not. Lord Palmerston now returned to process is forbidden by the whole tenor of his teaching Downing Street, and while he lived Disraeli and his and conduct. He could not have become suddenly blind colleagues had to satisfy themselves with what was meant to the fallacy of the expectations derived from such a for useful criticism, though with small hope that it was course ; and all his life it had been his distinction to look so for their own service. A Polish insurrection, the above the transient and trafficking expedients of the Schleswig-Holstein question, a commercial treaty with professional politician. However, the thing was done. France, the civil war in America, gave Disraeli occasions After various remodellings, and amid much perturbation, for speech that was always forcible and often wiser than secession, violent reproach, the Household Suffrage Bill all could see at the time. He never doubted that England passed in August 1867. Another memorable piece of should be strictly neutral in the American quarrel when work, the Confederation of Canada, had already been there was a strong feeling in favour of the South. All accomplished. A few days after Parliament met in the the while he would have gladly welcomed any just means next year Lord Derby’s failing health compelled Premier of taking an animated course, for these were dull, dark him to resign, and Mr Disraeli became prime jg^g. days for the Conservatives as a parliamentary party. minister. Irish disaffection had long been astir ; Yet, unperceived, Conservatism was advancing. It was the Fenian menace looked formidable not only in Ireland much more than a joke that Palmerston sheltered Con- but in England also. The reconstructed Government servative principles under the Liberal flag. The warmth announced its intention of dealing with Irish grievances. of his popularity, to which Radical applause contributed Mr Gladstone approved, proposing the abolition of the nothing in his later days, created an atmosphere entirely Irish Church to begin with. A resolution to that effect favourable to the quiet growth of Conservatism. He died was immediately carried against the strong opposition of in 1865. Earl Russell succeeded him as prime minister, the Government. Disraeli insisted that the question Mr Gladstone as leader of the House of Commons. The should be settled in the new parliament which the party most pleased with the change was the Radical; the Franchise Act called for, and he seems to have had party best served was Disraeli’s. Another Reform Bill, little doubt that the country would declare against Mr memorable for driving certain good Liberals into a Cave Gladstone’s proposal. He was mistaken. It was the of Adullam, broke up the new Government in a few months ; great question at the polls; and the first elections by the Disraeli contributing to the result by the delivery of new constituencies went violently against the authors of _

opinions not new to him and of lasting worth, though their being. The history of the next five years is Mr Gladstones. presently to be subordinated to arguments of an inferior order and much less characteristic. “ At this rate,” he The Irish Church abolished, he set to work with passionate said in 1866, “you will have a parliament that will good intention on the Irish land laws. The while he did entirely lose its command over the executive, and it will so sedition took courage and flourished exceedingly, so meet with less consideration and possess less influence.” that to pacify Ireland the constable went hand in Look for declining statesmanship, inferior aptitude, genius hand with the legislator. The abolition of the Irish dying off. “Instead of these you will have a horde of Church was followed by a Coercion Act, and the Land selfish and obscure mediocrities, incapable of anything but Act by suspension of Habeas Corpus. Disraeli, who at