Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/300
260 THE CECILS
any course, I do not for a moment deny that it is your duty to yield. It may not be a pleasant process ; it may even make some of you wish that some other arrangement were existing ; but it is quite clear that whereas a member of a Government, when asked to do that which is contrary to his convictions, may resign, and a member of the Commons when asked to support any measure contrary to his con- victions, may abandon his seat, no such course as this is open to your Lordships ; and therefore on these rare and great occasions on which the national mind has fully declared itself, I do not doubt your Lordships would yield to the opinion of the country ; otherwise the machinery of government could not be carried on. But there is an enormous step between that and being the mere echo of the House of Commons."
That the Lords did right in rejecting the Suspensory Bill cannot be questioned, and that Lord Salisbury was willing to act up to the principles he had so ably laid down, was proved in the following year. At the election of 1868, the Liberals were returned by a large majority, and Gladstone immediately set about his mission of " pacifying Ireland," by introducing the Bill for Disestablishing and Disendowing the Irish Church. When this measure reached the Upper House, Lord Salisbury, arguing that the general election had been fought on this question, used all his influence to secure its passage ; and, acting in co-operation with Archbishop Tait, was able to compose the difference which arose between the // Houses on the subject of the Lords' amendments, and thus to avert a serious constitutional crisis. At the same time, the result of his moderating