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dred livings in my gift, and eighteen to twenty stalls in cathedrals; still I am not bound to subscribe to the Thirty-nine Articles. I am not called upon. No text, sacramental or subscriptory, was demanded before or after my admission into office. After this, to yield to weak and foolish fears,—to be frightened because half-a-dozen Fellows might vote away in their colleges a few livings, is, indeed, to be straining at a gnat, after having swallowed a camel."
This is a sample of the method by which such a man as Lord Brougham can make his own high office appear absurd and anomalous for the sake of confuting an antagonist. But let us proceed. The Bishop of London made an excellent speech, setting forth, from his own observation, the ill consequences which, in his opinion, would flow from acceding to the petition which the Duke of Gloucester opposed. The Bishop of Exeter, after paying a high compliment to the speech of the Bishop of London, referred to the practice of requiring subscription to the Thirty-nine Articles before admission to Oxford University, which practice the Lord Chancellor had called a solemn mockery—he contended that it was not so, for it was not pretended that those who subscribed the articles at that time entered into a critical examination of them-it was merely understood that they thereby acknowledged they belonged to the Church, of which the Thirty-nine Articles formed the profession of faith. No sooner had the Bishop concluded, than the Chancellor, who by that time had lost all restraint which a sense of propriety ought to have maintained. He said such a method of ascer taining conformity to the Church was the clumsiest method ever struck out by human brain. “A man said that he only meant one thing, while he subscribed to thirty-nine. I can only view such a plan,” continued the Lord Chancellor, rising in passion as he spoke, “I can view such a plan only as a cloak to hypocrisy-a mere trap for tender consciences, and only suited to the uses of hypocrites and jesuits." Can we wonder that the House was put into confusion by the application of such language as this, on the part of the Lord Chancellor, to the explanation which one of the Bench of Bishops had just given ? The Marquis of Salisbury rose to order, but the raging Chancellor, instead of being recalled to a sense of shame for his intemperateness, rushed, like a baited bull, upon his new antagonist. Having imputed jesuitism and hypocrisy to the conduct which the Bishop of Exeter defended, he now launched forth imputations of stupidity against the Marquis of Salisbury. “Before noble Lords rose to order,” he said, "they should condescend to catch some glimpse—some faint glimmer of the meaning of those whom they interrupted.” Another scene of confusion occurred, and in the midst of it the Duke of Richmond moved an adjournment, of which the Lord Chancellor took advantage, when putting the question, to tell their Lordships that it was then in his power to inflict a new argument upon them, if to him it seemed fit so to do. He then alluded to a practice as to speech-making " in explanation," which he said was the common course of the Duke of Wellington. The Duke denied it-the Lord Chancellor retorted, that it did not follow as a matter of course, that because a person denied having done a thing, he did not in point of fact do it. At length this rude commotion ended, with a jest from the promoter of it ;-he said, if the Marquis of Londonderry wished to excite a quarrel between the two Chancellors (meaning himself and the Duke of Wel
lington, lately elected Chancellor of Oxford), the attempt would be a failure.
We need not waste commentary in showing how improper all this is in the House of Lords, the supreme court of the kingdom. There can be no grave deliberation in companionship with such behaviour
We find that the limits we have prescribed to this article will not allow of even such cursory notice of the particulars of other scenes as we have given to that of the 21st of April; we must content ourselves, therefore, with little more than a bare reference to other examples. On the 28th of April, when the Warwick Borough Bill was brought forward, Lord Wynford moved that the course which had been pursued in all similar cases should be pursued in that-namely, to examine witnesses at the bar of the House, so that their Lordships might be assured of the facts alleged, before they proceeded to enact what was, in effect, a bill of pains and penalties. The Earl of Durham, another peer who seems to think himself so much above the rules of decorum as to be at liberty to descend beneath them, charged Lord Wynford with not really intending what he said he intended by the proposed examination of witnesses; the object of the Noble Baron's motion was, he said, to defeat the Bill altogether, by means of a parliamentary ruse de guerre. The Earl of Durham then proceeded to advert to an allusion respecting the going down of the House in public estimation, and told the House that if this were so, the best course they could pursue was that of yielding to the House of Commons, and accepting their judgment without further examination ! This remarkable specimen of combined courtesy and independence in the House of Peers must, of course, have its effect upon the public; and what the nature of that effect will be we need not stop to point out.
On the 1st of May, Lord Ellenborough gave notice of a motion for papers relating to the proceedings of the Board of Control. We refer to the Lord Chancellor's answers on this occasion for examples of hasty snappishness which is at all times, and in all places, unbecoming in a Minister, and in the House of Lords is a novelty which goes, with the rest, to lower its character.
On the 5th of May, upon the occasion of the presentation of a petition by the Earl of Wicklow for the better observance of the Sabbath, the Lord Chancellor delivered a discourse, professing, indeed, great reve. rence for the Sabbath, but treating the feeling of anxious uneasiness regarding its loose observance rather as a matter of joke than a thing for serious attention. “As for lawyers," he said, “ they were obliged, particularly on circuit, to attend to their business on Sundays, or leave their clients without justice. He recollected an anecdote of the father of the present Vice-Chancellor, who was about to attend a consultation on Sunday. He was asked by some one, of some sex or another, why he should attend to the business of litigation upon the Sabbath ? His answer was, that one of his asses had fallen into a pit, and, in obedience to scriptural injunction, he was going to try if he could pull him out.” Now we do not mean to say there is anything heinous in this story, which made noble Lords laugh ; it would have been all very well at another time and place; but when a Lord Chancellor makes a speech about the observance of the Sabbath in the House of Lords, such
a manner of treating the subject is unbecoming, and injurious to the character of the House. The Bishop of London, as soon as the Lord Chancellor had done, said he regretted very much that the conversation about the Sabbath had taken place. We wish it had appeared by the Chancellor's speeches in reference to this subject since, that he had taken this just rebuke as he ought.
On the 7th of May the House of Lords assembled, and, although important business was fixed for that day, the Peers remained in the ridiculous position of being unable to proceed, in consequence of the absence of the Lord Chancellor; the cause of which, or its probable duration, no one could tell, as he had sent no excuse or explanation. At length the House adjourned, leaving the business untouched ; and next day it turned out that the Lord Chancellor had been asked out to dinner!
On the 12th of May we find the Lord Chancellor in his place in the House expatiating upon the high honour conferred upon him by some forty thousand people, who had confided to his charge a petition to the House to “ take measures to dissolve the unjust, unscriptural, and injurious union of Church and State.” A strange sort of honour truly for the Lord Chancellor of England, and one of which the acknowledgment by that high functionary was yet more strange! It is true that Lord Brougham, with great ability and emphasis, disclaimed all sympathy of feeling with the petitioners in respect of these requirements; but still he presented their petition, and said he felt particularly honoured in having that task confided to him. This is a new spectacle in the House of Lords,-a stretch of liberality which certainly no former Chancellor would have ventured upon ;-whether it does not tend to loosen and derange all settled notions of what is becoming in the station of Chairman of their Lordships' House, we leave the reader to judge.
The last scene to which we shall at present refer, is that of the 15th of May, when Lord Wynford moved the second reading of his Bill for the better observance of the Sabbath. Upon this occasion, Lord Brougham appeared to be in a particularly gay humour for a Lord Chancellor :-his method of opposition to a measure which involved considerations of so solemn an import was very characteristic, and he succeeded, as fully as if that had been the end and aim of all he said and did, in producing a state of confusion and irritation, of alternate jesting; and reproach, highly unbecoming the House of Lords. He began with an apparently grave inquiry of Lord Wynford, whether he was really serious in proceeding further with his Sabbath Bill. This first joke produced a laugh, and fired by his success, the Lord Chancellor went on in the same vein, in his speech upon the Bill. An important part of the Bill was that which was directed to the prevention of drunkenness upon the Sabbath day; and here the Lord Chancellor, as if inspired by his theme, became particularly jocose. He developed the hidden things of this interesting subject; he showed that one man might tipple off his two bottles, with less effect upon his head, than another would feel from two glasses. He talked of empannelling juries, not of matrons, as he facetiously observed, but of waiters, to decide upon cases of drunkenness. But Lord Wynford was not of opinion that a measure with so important an object in view ought to be thus treated. He complained that the Lord Chancellor had grossly misrepresented the Bill before the House, and had endeavoured to throw ridicule upon the whole subject to which it referred. The Lord Chancellor denied that he had misrepresented the Bill; and Lord Plunkett, coming to his aid, must needs follow the example set from the Woolsack, and endeavoured to raise a laugh upon so jocund a subject as that before the House. His Lordship’s mirth was, indeed, rather of the heaviest, and, like his explanation in the Deanery of Down affair, something obscure. He talked about making love on a Sunday—and the legal effect of promises of marriage made on that day, under the provisions of Lord Wynford's Bill. He then had a sneer at Lord Wynford, supposing that Noble Lord "should intend again to enter into the blessed state of matrimony;" the good feeling of which may be appreciated from the circumstances of Lord Plunkett having himself become, not long ago, a widower, and being, to all appearance, an older man than Lord Wynford. The debate having gone on in this gentlemanly manner, the Earl of Wicklow rose, and expressed in very emphatic terms the disgust which he felt at the levity with which such a subject had been treated. He contended that the Lord Chancellor had totally misrepresented the Bill in the long string of witticisms in which he had indulged. The Lord Chancellor said, “the speech of the Earl of Wicklow was a most extraordinary and uncalled-for misrepresentation ; yet he did not attribute it to wilfulness on the part of the Noble Earl, but to the fact that the Noble Earl did not understand either the scope, drift, or course of his argument.” The reply of the Earl of Wicklow to this courtesy we transcribe, as a good specimen of that dignity and forbearance which have hitherto obtained public respect for the House, and the absence of which on many recent occasions may lead, as we greatly fear, to the total falling away of that respect. “The noble and learned Lord,” said the Earl of Wicklow,“ with his usual attachment to the introduction of reform into this House, has favoured it with no less than three speeches. He has stated that I have misrepresented him, not wilfully, but through misconception. I shall say nothing in answer to that; and as the Noble Lord has solemnly stated that he did not intend to treat the Bill with levity, I have, of course, not a word to say in contradiction."
The reader will, we trust, sympathise with our feelings upon this subject, when we say that more in sorrow than in anger we have dwelt upon these scenes in the House of Lords. We have no desire, in what we have said, to excite indignation against any individual on account of the political party to which he may be considered to belong; nor, indeed, is indigo nation, upon any ground, the sentiment we should wish to inspire by calling attention to a matter of such grave importance. Deeply impressed with a sense of the value of the House of Lords, such as it has been in times past, to the whole body of the people, --considering that the soberness, dignity, constancy, and unimpaired freedom of the nation are greatly owing to the share this branch of the Parliament has had in making good laws, and in preventing bad laws from being made,-believing that the mode and style of its proceedings have furnished a great and high example of order and propriety to the whole kingdom,-finally, feeling well assured that our progress in “manners, virtue, freedom, power," has been greatly assisted by the superintendence and example of the Peers in Parliament assembled- we have contemplated, and we do contemplate, with deep and anxious regret, events which may take from that House its dignity, its respect, and its usefulness. Therefore it is, that, albeit with sympathetic shame, we have compelled ourselves to dwell upon the late scenes in the House of Parliament, which it were a thousand times more agreeable to forget, if we could, and if there were room to hope that by throwing oblivion over the past, we should have done with the contemplation of occurrences so disgraceful. At present, however, it would be vain to indulge in such a hope—it is only by the strongly expressed feeling of the public against such improper exhibitions of levity or violence, that the needful “reform” will be effected in the House of Lords, and the uniformity of dignity and decorum in its proceedings be restored. With this view,
With this view, the foregoing article has been written ; and we trust we shall not have fruitlessly laboured to stimulate the public mind on a subject of so much practical importance.
NOTES ON THE LIFE OF THE LATE SIR THOMAS
It has been maintained by a few persons, that the life of a painter can be written only by a painter. If the opinion were well founded, its principle would of necessity extend to all men whose lives are worth writing. The sculptor, the engraver, the architect, the general, admiral, statesman, king, and poet, would each require one of his own vocation or craft to be his biographer. The fallacy of the opinion, however, is amply proved by experience, and of the few lives of great painters, which have been written by painters, none possess any superlative excellence, and their merits are to be traced, as in the case of Vasari, to mental qualities, distinct from talents in their profession.*
Those painters who have written the lives of their professional brethren have generally been assisted, to a very large extent, by literary persons who were ignorant of the mechanism, and insensible to the details, of art; and they have never hesitated to be the biographers of sculptors and architects, although the science of architecture implies, what a painter, as a painter, can know nothing of—mathematics, mixed
But painters have been too shrewd and sensible to adopt any such opinion. Sir Joshua Reynolds' warmest desire was, that Edmund Burke should be his biographer; and, on the failure of that hope, Malone was selected for the task, though the Royal Academy, at that period, con
* It was satirically remarked by a great poet, that the only part of the life of a painter that could be interesting, must be that which has no relation to painting. Vasari, Cellini, and a few others, would almost justify the satire.