Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

9 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

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MR. GLADSTONE'S resignation, for a time at least,, of his position as chief of the Liberal party in the House of Commons, has been felt as a sore blow by all true Liberals in the House and the country, and such men as Mr. Baines have been fitly occupied in endeavouring to bring about a better understanding between the Opposition and its leader. Not in the course of recent Parliamentary history has the Liberal party been so dependent as at present upon the abilities and experience of one man for guidance and direction. The cluster of statesmen who adorned the front Liberal benches when Russell and Palmerston were at the helm, has been broken up, and there are no men now like Cornewall Lewis and Sidney Herbert to whom the party can look in an emergency. Mr. Gladstone, in fact, has be- come as necessary to the Liberals as Mr. Dis- raeli has long been to the Conservatives, and the desertion of either from his accustomed post in the House would be the temporary an- nihilation of the party he has led. No doubt, there are many who believe that such a result, either among the Liberals or Conservatives, could properly be no cause of regret to their political opponents. But this is not the view that the thoughtful and intelli- gent men who compose the great bulk of the English nation are likely to entertain, and a brief experience of such state of things would be sufficient to prove its disastrous effects upon the general well-being of the country. The candid and impartial student of political affairs knows well how much England owes to party organisation, and that the brilliant rivalry of men like Pitt and Fox has built up the na- tion's greatness. It is well, indeed, that. no party in the House can at any time have all its own way, and that, by the division of statesmen into two great and opposing groups, we have a system of check and countercheck which effectually secures the general modera- tion and wisdom of our legislative measures. It would be a bad day for the country if this rivalry should cease to exist, or if at any time circumstances should arise to stultify one party in the State. We do not anticipate such a result from the misunderstanding which now has arisen be- tween the Liberals and their chief. The efforts of Mr. Baines, Mr. Crawford, and others will no doubt secure the reconciliation of Mr. Glad- stone and his usual supporters, for he has still the great majority of the party with him. Mr. Gladstone himself can scarcely expect that anything like absolute unanimity will exist in the Liberal ranks; and although party has its claims, there are other considerations of still greater importance. The Reform question, out of which the difference has arisen, is pre- cisely the one on which a division of party to a greater or less extent might have been anti- cipated with certainty. The same thing has occurred on both sides of the House, and the Conservatives, indeed, have had to encounter the most serious defection. If men like Gen- eral Peel and Lord Cranborne could find their way to Mr. Gladstone's side in the lobby on a Reform division, he could neither wonder nor complain with justice if some of his own sup- porters were seen for the time among his ad- zn versaries. If we do not conclude that the breach will last, neither do we believe that it is likely to be healed by the seceding Liberals reversing their recent course of action. The inclination to act with their party is not so strong as the determination to secure a sound and useful measure, according to their own idea of what such a measure would be. Circumstances may yet arise, as the bill progresses, to bring them back to the Liberal ranks, just as Lord Cran- borne and his friends may again be found len- ding all their help to the Conservative leader. But paramount above all these considerations in the mind of the country is the desirability of dealing at once and satisfactorily with the question of Reform, and, whatever political leaders on either side may think, the nation will thank all who make such a settlement their first aim, and give party feeling and party allegiance a secondary place in their regard. 6




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