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In the debate, Mr. Bright delivered a speech which made a profound sensation in the House and the country. His sarcasms upon Lords Russell and Palmerston were most pungent. He said that when the country was heaving in the throes of a great war, Lord John Russell “was making a small speech upon a great subject somewhere in Cumberland. And at Bedford he descanted upon the fate of empires, forgetting that nothing was so likely to destroy an empire as unnecessary wars. Still more cutting was his reference to Lord Palmerston, who had delivered a speech denying the doctrine of human depravity. He says, “ The noble lord undertook a more difficult task, a task left unaccomplished by Voltaire; and when he addressed the Hampshire peasantry, in one short sentence overturned the New Testament, and destroyed the foundation of the Christian religion.” He also referred to the after-dinner utterances at the Reform Club, when Sir C. Napier was feasted before his unfortunate summer in the Baltic. And then occurred this memorable scene. In his most impressive manner, Mr. Bright was speaking thus, “Before the summer is over, perhaps before it comes, we may have news from the swamps of the Danube, news of the indiscriminate slaughter of the battle-field, which may strike hundreds of people in this country dumb with agony and despair. I want to know, then, whether the jokes and stories of the noble Lord (Palmerston) were becoming at a time like this? The reckless levity that was displayed was, in my opinion, discreditable in the last degree to the great and responsible statesman of a civilised and Christian nation.”

Viscount Palmerston: “Sir, if the honourable and reverend gentleman,

Mr. Cobden: “I rise to order. The noble lord bas, I believe, made use of an epithet in speaking of my honourable friend that is not justified by the rules of the House.”

Thus was the fippancy of the “jaunty old lord” checked. But Mr. Bright was sublime in his pathos, and thrilled that cold and critical audience by his reference to the losses they had sustained in their own House through this war, and in these solemn, simple, and fitting words spoke of the loss of the Hon. Col. Boyle, member for Frome : “ We all know what we have lost in this House, in the honourable member for Frome. I met him a short time before he went out, at Mr. Westerton's, the bookseller, near Hyde Park corner. I asked him whether he was going out? He answered, he was afraid he was ; not afraid in the sense of personal fear-he knew not that—but he said with a look and a tone I shall never forget, “ 'Tis no light matter for a man who has a wife and five little children. The stormy Euxine is his grave; his wife is a widow, his children fatherless." This told better and went deeper

war piece,” or any raving about the horrors of war.

than any


In his most ornate passages there is the same severe simplicity. In one of his Birmingham speeches he tried to realise the two thousand millions “extracted from the industry of the people of this small island, in pursuit of the will-o'-the-wisp-the balance of power.” “I cannotimagine how much £2,000,000,000 is, and therefore I shall not attempt to make you comprehend it. I presume it is like those vast and incomprehensible astronomical distances with which we have lately been made familiar, but however familiar, we feel that we do not know one bit more about them than we did. (A laugh.) When I try to think of that sum of £2,000,000,000, there is a sort of vision passes before my mind's eye. I see your peasant labourer delve and plough, sow and reap, sweat beneath the summer's sun, or grow prematurely old before the winter's blast; I see your noble mechanic, with his manly countenance and his matchless skill, toiling at his bench or his forge ; I see one of the workers in our factories in the north-a woman; a girl it may be, gentle and good, as many of them are, as your sisters and daughters are, I see her intent upon the spindle, whose revolutions are so rapid that the

eye fails altogether to detect them, or the alternative flight of the unresisting shuttle. I turn again to another portion of your population, which, 'plunged in mines, forgets the sun was made,' and I see the man who brings up from the secret chambers of the earth the elements of the riches and greatness of his country. When I see all this I have before me a mass of produce and of wealth which I am no more able to comprehend than I am that £2,000,000,000 of which I have spoken; but I behold in its full proportion the hideous error of your Governments, whose fatal policy consumes, in some cases half, never less than a third, of all the results of that industry which God intended should fertilise and bless every home in England, but the fruits of which are squandered in every part of the surface of the globe, without producing the smallest good to the people of England.” (Loud cheers.)

We have spoken of the terrible power of our orator's sarcasm ; we shall never forget its withering power upon the present Sir R. Peel. He had extolled the “gentlemen ” of the South, and demanded the recognition of the South, and vented tirades of abuse upon the North. In the debate Bright thus speaks of the right hon. baronet, then the Irish Secretary: “ The other day, not a week since, a member of the present Government-he is not a statesman, he is the son of a great statesman, and occupies the position of Secretary for Ireland-he dared to say to an English audience that he wished the Republic to be divided, and that the South should become an independent State. If in that land which, I suppose in punishment for some of its offences, has been committed to his care; if that island were to attempt to secede, not to set up a slave kingdom, but a kingdom more free than it has ever been, the Government, of which he is a member, would sack its cities and drench its soil with blood before they would allow such a kingdom to be established.”

In the same way he dealt with the Disraeli-Mayo scheme for settling all the evils of Ireland by endowing a Papist University in the country. Standing opposite to the right hon. member for Bucks, he said: “It is quite clear that for the evils we have to combat the remedy which the right hon. gentleman offers through the Chief Secretary is no remedy at all. (Cheers from the Opposition.) I recollect, a little time ago, a gentleman writing about the curious things that happened in his time, and he said, among other things, that there was a man down in the same county-I don't know whether it was Buckingham, or where it was (laughter) —and the man was not a Cabinet Minister, he was only a mountebank (renewed laughter), but he set up a stall, and offered to the country people to sell them pills that were very good against earthquakes." (Roars of laughter.) Again, when referring to Lord Derby's professions about reform in 1858, he said: “It would be like a sort of feast that a Spanish host sets before his guests, consisting of a little meat and a great deal of table-cloth. Nothing could exceed his crowning humourism, exhibiting his great felicity in stinging, sticking designations, and which are more effective than folios of dry argument; we refer to his reply to Messrs. Lowe and Horsman in 1866, which dissolved the whole country into laughter at the expense of the two right hon. gentlemen. He had been speaking of their growing disaffection ever since they were left out in the cold without office, and goes on to say: “If I might make an alteration, or parody, of a few lines of a stanza of one of the most beautiful poems of our language, I would say

*For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
The pleasing office e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the Treasury,

Nor cast one last long lingering look behind.' (Loud laughter.) What I complain of is this, and in it is a fair complaint to make to this House; that when place recedes into the somewhat dim past, that which when in office was deemed patriotism, vanishes altogether when out of office. We have what we might call a wild howl of despair from those benches because it is proposed to diminish the franchise from £10 to £7. The right hon. gentleman below me, who said a little against the Government, and something against the bill last night, made an attack upon so humble an individual as myself. He was one of the first of the new party who gave expression to his great grief. He had retired into what may be called the political Cave of Adullam, into which he invited every one in distress, and every one who is discontented, and called them around him. (Laughter.) The right hon. gentleman has long been anxious to form a party in this House ; and there is scarcely a member at this end of the House who is able to address the House with effect, or to take part in the debates, that he has not tried to bring over to his party and cabal. He has succeeded in hooking the right hon. member for Calne. I know it was an opinion entertained many years ago by a member of the treasury bench that two men could make a party; a party formed of two men so amiable and so discreet (loud laughter) we may hope to see for the first time in parliament perfectly harmonious and distinguished by a natural and unbroken trust. (Renewed laughter.) But there is one great difficulty which it is impossible to ignore, as in the case of a Scotch terrier, which is so covered with hair that you

could not tell which was the head and which was the tail.” (Shouts of laughter). And a little further on he spoke of Messrs. Lowe and Marsh having been Australian legislators, and thus only able to “ take a Botany Bay impression of the character of the bulk of their countrymen." (Laughter).

In proof of his skill as an orator, and his superior influence in Parliament, we quote a bit of pure sentiment. Any other man attempting this would have been laughed to scorn, but his cunning hand touched the tenderest chords of the hearts of the four hundred gentlemen who heard him. It was in his speech on Mr. Roebuck's motion to recognise the South: “What was the state of things before the war ? Every year, in the Southern States of America, there were 150,000 children born to the bondage and doom of slavery, born to the liability by law, by custom, and by the devilish cupidity of man-to the lash, to the branding iron, to be taken from their families and carried they know not where.

I want to know whether you feel as I feel on this question. When I go down to my home from this place, I find a half-a-dozen little children playing on my hearth. How many members are there who can say with me that the most innocent, the most pure and the most holy joy which in their past years they have felt, or in future years they have hoped for, has arisen from contact and association with their once precious children! If so, if when the hand of death takes one of these flowers from your household, your heart is overwhelmed with sorrow, and your household is covered by gloom-what would it be if your children were brought up under this infernal system ? 150,000 children are every year brought into this world in the slave states. Amongst these gentlemen, amongst this chivalry, amongst these men we can make our friends! Do you forget the thousandfold griefs and countless agonies which belonged to the silent conflict of slavery, before this war begun. It is all very well for the hon. and learned gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) to tell me and tell the House—he may tell the House, but he will not tell the country with any satisfaction to it,—that slavery after all is not such a very bad thing. Why, the brother of the member for South Durham told me himself, that in North Carolina he saw a woman whose every child-ten in number—had been sold at that age when they would fetch a price for their masters !

In many of these speeches we are struck with his manifest attachment to the Throne. When Mr. Ayrton, at a great meeting in London, sneeringly alluded to the Queen not coming to the palace window to see the great Reform demonstration as it passed her gates, Mr. Bright rose and rebuked him, saying, “I could not sit and hear such observations without a sensation of wonder and pain.” And on another occasion he said, “If the Throne of England be filled with as much dignity and purity as now, may the venerable monarchy be perpetual." In another meeting he speaks of the Queen as the “noble and illustrious lady who sits upon the Throne.”

How thoroughly he had studied our English Bible is evident from the texture of, and many allusions in, his speeches. See the magnificent use he makes of a solitary verse from the Psalms : “ The noble lord (Lord Mayo) towards the conclusion of his speech, spoke of the cloud which at present rests over Ireland. It is a dark and heavy cloud, and its darkness extends over the feelings of men in all parts of the British empire. But there is a consolation we may take to ourselves. An inspired king, and bard, and prophet, has left us words which are not only an expression of a fact, but which we may take as the utterance of a prophecy. He says, “To the upright there ariseth light in the darkness. Let us try in this matter to be upright. That cloud will be dispelled. The dangers that surround us will vanish, and we may yet have the happiness of leaving to our children the heritage of an honourable citizenship in an united and prosperous empire.” (Loud cheers.) Equally evident is his close and loving study of the poets. A fine poetic feeling runs through numberless passages of his speeches, and there is often the heave and swell of true poetry. We gather that the older poets have been more congenial to his cast of mind. We transcribe the statement of an indisputable authority on this point. “Our great political orator, to whom the House of Commons listened with an admiration as cordial as that which he commanded in the Free Trade Hall of this city, or the Town Hall of Birmingham (cheers), had acquired his remarkable eloquence in a great degree, by the study of our more illustrious poets. Fierce invective, calm explanation, pathos and humour, passionate declamation and biting epigram, were equally at his command. Doubtless Mr. Bright was born with a natural genius for eloquence, no culture could have transformed a dull man into an orator; but Mr. Bright's knowledge of the English language did not come from genius merely, it was not a gift, but an acquisi

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