Radicalism, what is it?

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Radicalism, what is it? : a letter to a West Kent elector  (c. 1870) 








&c., &c.

Experience unfortunately teaches us that men sometimes adopt their political creed from questionable motives. Influences of various kinds contribute to fix their allegiance to a party symbol or a party cry, and prejudice, false shame, or moral cowardice in presence of loud opinion restrain many, who, if they but heeded the voice of their convictions and steadily reflected upon the principles and practices of their political associates, would find their true position to be rather with those, whose aim is to unite rational progress and well ordered liberty, with the preservation of all that is dear to the memory and love of an Englishman.

Some of us have a reason for the political faith that is in us; nor will it be a profitless task at the present time to exhibit it, by giving you a brief and simple review of the principles of Radicalism. What claims it has to its spurious watchwords—what temptations it offers to our sympathies will then be evident.

The impending election divides us unto but two parties. Radical and Conservative. The former seems now to embrace all shades of Liberal opinion whatever. The 'platform,' as the Americans call it, upon which the entire party stands i.e. the length and breadth of their political creed, may be distinctly enunciated as follows.

  1. Separation of Church and State.
  2. Abolition of the House of Lords.
  3. Abolition of the Laws of Primogeniture and Entail.
  4. Abolition of the Game Laws.
  5. Compulsory Sale and Partial or Total Confiscation of land in Ireland.
  6. Disestablishment of the Irish Church.
  7. Relinquishment and Abandonment of our Colonies.
  8. (Subordination in all things to America)
  9. Repeal of the union of Great Britain and Ireland.
  10. Divorce of religious training from our Universities and Schools.
  11. Manhood Suffrage.
  12. Female Suffrage.
  13. Vote by Ballot.
  14. Equal Electoral Districts.
  15. Throwing expenses of elections on the rates
    (to pave the way for paid representatives.)
  16. Legalizing Trades unions and the application of Protectionist principles to labour, &c.
  17. Opening places of amusement on the Sabbath.
  18. Socialism and Communism.

It is possible to affix to each of these principles the well known name of some Radical advocate Few, let us hope, would stand on every plank of this platform, but this very discordance is a subject for our after consideration. What we may observe now, is, that if but few of these articles approve themselves to your judgment you have no right to vote with a party which embraces such a code between its extremes.[1]

To each and every one of these principles I am thoroughly opposed, and therefore my allegiance is given to those who oppose them too. But it is not only the principles of Radicalism which dismay me, but its conduct in support of them, nor does experience of so called Liberal administrations engender confidence in Englishmen jealous of their national glory and welfare.

On these grounds then we are opposed to Radicalism because of—

  1. its want of cohesiveness.
  2. its unfairness.
  3. its incentives to unprincipled ambition.
  4. its false and deceptive professions.
  5. its sacrifice of principle to popularity.
  6. its restlessness and love of novelty.
  7. its contempt of experience.
  8. its illogical and inconsistent conduct.
  9. its impatience of opposition.
  10. its tyranny.

I will make a few remarks on each of these statements and verify them by some simple facts.

  1. Its want of cohesiveness.

A glance at the doctrines of Radicalism will manifest their cardinal principle—destructiveness. So long as some common object for attack can be found, so long a union between the various shades and sections of Radicalism will exist. The moment their energies are summoned to a higher office, inherent divisions succeed, and a boasted political party with an overwhelming majority resolves itself into discordant and angry factions. Look at the picture of the Great Liberal party with its majority of 70 failing to execute its own task of Reform, and yielding office for two years to the minority. Adullamites, Whigs, Liberals and advanced Radicals, disunited, wrangling, and more bitterly divided from each other than from their common foe.

Nor is there any question except the present one of the Irish Church, so artfully selected for the purpose, which could or would rally the entire party. This once disposed of, the same anarchy must inevitably follow, and with the same results.

  1. Its unfairness.

Misrepresentation is the cardinal vice of the body generally from the unscrupulous pot house politician whose stock in trade consists of denunciations of a 'bloated aristocracy' to men of cultivated minds like Mr. Gladstone who with his boasted majority of 60 or 70 can charge the government with extravagance in the face of his own controlling power! Others have not been slow to imitate their leaders by raising false issues. In the face of the fact that Messrs. Gladstone and Bright dictated to their followers at Carlton Terrace to throw out the Conservative Reform Bill on the second reading (a proceeding which led to the tea room party!)—in the face of the fact that these gentlemen strenuously advocated 'a hard and fast line,' totally opposed to household suffrage;—that these gentlemen with their special following were defeated in no less than 13 or 14 critical divisions, they have the hardihood to claim for themselves and their party the merit of passing the Reform bill!!

These are by no means isolated instances. Mr. Bright's Speeches generally when not occupied with [2]depreciation of his country, have been devoted to the misrepresentation of his adversaries.

  1. Its incentives to unprincipled ambition.

It is a bad thing when as in America every man is perpetually involved in political turmoil. This endless excitement nourishes a race of unscrupulous politicians, selfseekers, covetous of their own aggrandizement and possessing the two essential requisites of a ready tongue and great assurance. Such fellows talk themslves and their hearers into anything, and their fluency possesses an influence in direct proportion to the ignorance of their audience. Whether they talk sense or nonsense is not the question. So long as they denounce with fierceness, and declaim with volubility, they are credited with all knowledge and become leaders of the people! This is the history of the rise of these puffing demagogues, and sad as it is, men are not ashamed to follow a Finlen shouting Reform, which he at least could soon find to his heart's content for his peculiar social and domestic virtues in the nearest House of Correction. The influence obtained by such men will necessarily be exerted for their own purposes. Secretaries and Delegates must live, and Trades unions must support them, and exist for this purpose if for no other.

One reason why Democracies have never answered hitherto is, that their founders, well intentioned men, have never estimated in their balance this great thing—human nature. They seem to have always taken an optimist view of things—to have fancied that noble and patriotic men would always be rushing to shed their blood, or spend their lives for their country—that their fellow countrymen would always be so discerning as to choose men of ability, virtue, and excellence for their leaders, and that such men would always be the embodiments of self sacrifice and self denial! In no other way can we account for the great blunders of Democracies hitherto, which have proved just the reverse—that the best men do not come to the front—that the noblest talent is not enlisted in the service of the state—that wherever salutary checks are withdrawn, and strong incentives are offered, unprincipled men make politics a trade. Radicalism does offer such incentives. It is the creed any adventurer does and will at once take up to make his way in the political world.

  1. Its false and deceptive professions.

When such a man wishes to start a political career, he must build upon the basis of superficial popularity, to which end be will adopt the most specious creed he can and the wider the better for his chances with the unthinking. His professions will be extensive. Brought face to face with realities at last, he finds that his ardour is cooled, and that the possibility of performance is not in proportion to his profuseness of profession. Frantic Radicals have often ripened into cautious Conservatives, and the effect of official life on political creed is so well known, that the comparative mildness and moderation of Mr. Bright's later effusions have been generally set down to his desire to prepare for the responsibilities of office.

The mode in which the Liberal party has all along dealt with Reform is an apt illustration.

Had sincerity been an ingredient in their professions, there is no excuse whatever for a party in office so long, with such a majority, not having realized this among others of their political aspirations. Odd enough, nearly all the great questions of importance, such as Catholic emancipation, Free trade, and Reform, which are claimed as Liberal triumphs have awaited their solution at the hands of Conservative administrations.[3] It was no empty boast of Mr. Disraeli that he was at the head of a government 'truly liberal.' For assuredly experience shews his opponents have been professedly but not really so.

Reform, made a political cry by Lord Russell for the purpose of rallying a discordant party, was dangled before the popular gaze until it had performed its office and then was quietly shelved. Whether the genial, patriotic English spirit of Lord Palmerston, or the conviction that he alone could exorcise the bugbear from the House of Commons was the secret of his influence, remains a question. The union of the Liberal benches was dissolved when it became a proximate reality, and the test was by no means complimentary to the professions which had heralded it.

And what was the object of Liberal Reform? was it a measure truly national, or merely a scheme on the part of Earl Russell and Messrs. Bright and Gladstone to widen the area of the liberal constituencies by lowering the qualification a little, so as just to include the fag end of the middle class, who, always having a grievance of some kind, and being chiefly given to Dissent, might be safely reckoned upon as Radical? If this plan of theirs had succeeded, and a long tenure of office been thereby secured to the Whig-Radical coalition, at some future period when Conservatism had once more fought its way to a level, this weapon of Reform would again have been unsheathed from the Radical quiver, and a fall from £6 to £4 would have again secured popularity and place! As Mr. Bright said, we should have had two bites at our cherry in 40 years!! When our so called Liberal friends were made to swallow the cherry at once, were there no wry faces?

I maintain the Liberal professions of Reform were deceptive and conceived for the sole purpose of party aggrandizement.

Again take the question of Free Trade. If Free Trade be good for one thing it is good for another; and surely in the race of life, the gifts of God are not to be checked and hampered by tyrannical restrictions, which enslave individual character, induce poverty and suffering, fetter capital and labour, and injure national wealth.

The revelations of the Sheffield and Manchester atrocities, whilst they arouse our indignation, excite our wonder, that no Radical leader (except Mr. Roebuck who will most probably lose his seat for it) has fearlessly denounced such things and pointed out that these Protectionist Trades unions are utterly at variance with the principles of Free Trade.

But Radicals and Liberals are professedly the especial friends of the poor and working man!

During the long period of Liberal power, what member of the party has proved his claim to the title? Our wretched tenements, our miserable poor, our social curses and the ignorance of our lower classes with all its attendant evils, remain as abundant proof of the zeal of the poor man's friends. Electoral Reform has been the only panacea suggested!

Shall we contrast the munificence of the Lancashire nobleman during the cotton famine with the magniloquence of the Lancashire manufacturer?

If space permitted I might refer you to the Factory acts, and a dozen other Conservative measures specially beneficial to the operative which either received no support from Mr. Bright, or encountered his strenuous opposition.

  1. Its sacrifice of principle to popularity.

As a spurious popularity is the basis on which Radicalism must rest, it is not surprising that principle should be subordinated to it. When the Conservative administration inherited from their predecessors the vexed question of meetings in the Parks, did Lord Russell and Mr. Gladstone by word or sign interpose so as to vindicate order and authority, and a course of action, which judging from the out spoken sentiments of Sir G. Grey they would have adopted themselves? Bad as was this behaviour on the part of the Liberal leaders it was nothing when compared with Mr. Gladstone's conduct in the matter of Finlen.

Mr. Finlen leaving his starving children in their wretched den proceeded with a deputation one Saturday afternoon to communicate to Mr. Gladstone their valuable sympathy, their disapproval of the House of Lords, and their intention to hold a meeting on the Sabbath in Hyde Park to express their pent up feelings. One can fancy Mr. Gladstone, a gentleman of lofty character and of deep religious feeling, thanking them for their sympathy, disabusing them of their opinion about the Lords, (among whom some of his friends sit,) but stating most unequivocally that being a man of religious principles he could not sanction any political meeting whatever on Sunday in Hyde Park or any where else.

Can it be believed that for the sake of popularity with such men, under such a leader, he gave them an answer, which, if it meant anything, implied that they might possibly have a good reason for what they were doing?

  1. Its restless love of novelty.

Politicians who depend upon the breath of popular applause, find the true duties of the statesman irksome, uninteresting and uninviting. Such labours besides are unaccompanied by the gratification of political excitement. Any fanciful crotchet likely to beguile the unthinking—any subject that offers the chance of agitation is therefore eagerly embraced by them. Such matters as Female Suffrage, Confiscation of land in Ireland, and philosophic nostrums of all kinds are preferred to practical national good. What is new, startling, or plausible, readily usurps the place of unostentatious patriotic work. A Session of Parliament has been frittered away, and remedial measures of all kinds postponed to gratify this whim about the Irish Church;—a scheme which simply means, that all useful legislation must be impeded until Mr. Gladstone is back again in office!

In this race for popularity each must advance and outstrip his fellow if he would not be left behind, and representatives of the old style have hard work to keep up with those of the new. Earl Russell adopted the wise idea of issuing a Commission upon the Irish Church to find out what was wrong and then to remedy it—rather a common sense way of doing things. Meanwhile he published a pamphlet advocating what his followers contemptuously call—'Levelling up.' Lo! Mr. Gladstone went in for a clean sweep. Down came Earl Russell, swallowed his pamphlet, and actually found himself on a platform surrounded by Beales, Potter & Co. whilst his poor Commission was working away in Ireland! When his son Lord Amberley went as a Candidate to Leeds, the rapidity of his political growth in 24 hours was most astonishing!

  1. Its contempt of experience.

The love of novelty arising from the race for popularity, leads these guides of the people to prefer experiment to experience, and to ignore the salutary lessons it would teach them. The tone of many articles of the press, and of many election addresses, induces the inference that the triumph of Democracy among us ought to be a subject of the warmest congratulations![4]

The lessons taught by Democracy are simply these,—that public men may be popular favourites and not patriotic—that popular favour is capricious—that the worst corruption and the grossest tyranny may co-exist with the most radical governments—that huge national armaments may oppress the taxpayer—that war is more possible, if not probable—that the worst of men may be leading politicians—that Protection may flourish luxuriantly—that national debts may in four years eclipse those raised by effete monarchies in a century—that doctrinaires may ruin a state by their whims—that human nature is ever the same, and that blunder after blunder may be committed by treating men as you would have them to be, instead of as you find them!

Both Radical leaders and papers profess to dread the advent amongst us of 'Americanization,' yet work with all their might to accomplish it! This suggests

  1. Its illogical and inconsistent conduct.

No instance could be more appropriate in illustration of this very prominent characteristic than the conduct of Mr. Gladstone and his friends during the late Session of Parliament. If there is one topic more than another worn threadbare it is the necessity of protecting the poor oppressed voter. To this end, their great hobby—the Ballot—is periodically trotted forth. How far this laudable motive is real may be gathered from the fact, that influenced by the terrible history of past Elections in Ireland, anticipating also, that in presence of enkindled religious animosities, intimidation and violence would be more rife during the impending contest in November, the government proposed to protect the voter by largely increasing there the number of polling places—a course often adopted among ourselves after any signal riot. Mr. Gladstone and his friends—the champions of the oppressed voter, threw out the measure, sacrificing their credit for consistency to an unscrupulous resolve that the Romish priesthood should have supreme control over the elections, and that Mr. Gladstone's present allies should triumph at any cost and by any means over the Protestant feeling of the country.

The privileges of class influence are a never ending theme of Radical reproach, yet if any class exists the influence of which has been pernicious to every state which has had the misfortune to experience it, Spain or Italy or Ireland—the Romish Priesthood is such. To it is fairly due the ignorance, the squalor, the low condition and disloyalty of the Irish poor. For 700 years according to their own account they have had a preponderating influence, and to their door it must be laid. What good has been accomplished has been due to the counter-persuasion. Yet with this stern fact before them Radical policy tends to augment this pernicious influence, and to rivet the papal chains more firmly. Mr. Angerstein your candidate for West Kent in his address, admits the Irish Church 'has faithfully preached the truth' and resolves to contribute to the triumph of a Church which according to him must preach falsehood!!

Mr. Bright is especially remarkable for a forgetfulness which renders him often inconsistent. In this Irish question he deals as all his party do with Ireland as a separate nation, and not as part of our common country as we maintain it to be: so when it suits his purpose he deals with Welsh or Scotch interests. During the debate on the Scotch Reform bill when the question of providing additional representatives was being discussed, he gave vent to the sentiment that there was "no difference between north of the Thames and north of the Tweed"!! Why, we ask, west of the channel?

If time permitted, we might profitably review his conduct in perpetually fastening upon the aristocracy of this country the stale reproach of Protectionist sympathies, and ignoring the fact that they are only to be found now a days flourishing in all their vigour among the Radical Republicans of his favourite America. Radical Papers which harp upon the fancied grievances of Ireland have no word of sympathy or remonstrance on behalf of the down trodden Southern states. Men who like Mr. Goldwin Smith, would find no terms of reprobation too strong for a Haynau can cross the ocean to shake hands with a Butler! Next we consider

  1. Its impatience of opposition.

The incessant use of such watchwords as Liberty—the selfasserted championship of the oppressed throughout the globe (except where a radical government happens to be the oppressor) would lead as to expect nothing unjust, unfair, unreasonable, factious, or tyrannical, in so pure-minded, so just, so patriotic a party, one too so jealous of the rights of a minority!! In practice we find exactly the reverse of our expectations. Mr. Bright does not hesitate to justify an agitation for the repeal of the union, if the verdict of the nation be favourable to the Irish Church. Mr. Ayrton's conduct during the debate on the Cattle Bill is an instance more truly typical. Defeated in some whim he petulantly threatened the county members who happened to be in the majority with a curtailment of their rights by some future Radical measure for Redistribution. Then by the most factious conduct and abuse of the forms of the house he impeded all legislation, and vindicated his reprehensible conduct by justifying a minority in the use of unscrupulous means. Time would fail to dwell upon the characteristic repugnance of radicalism at all times and in all places to fair argument and free speech.

  1. Its tyranny.

Mr. Beales has during the last two or three years made his name known. He has gathered together a set of people somewhere near the dark arches of the Adelphi, and there they dream that some how or other they guide the destinies of this country. The wonders they accomplish with a revenue of about £100 are enormous. It is even a question whether Mr. Beales will descend from his high estate and deign to accept the inferior post of representative in the rather tame and ordinary assembly that meets at St. Stephen's. The works that this man has done are these—He has incessantly tried to give currency to the strongest adjectives in the language—He guided, or rather misguided a mob to pull down the railings of Hyde Park, costing the nation only about £12,000, and by stopping traffic in the streets, causing poor men to lose their day's wages, and possibly to spend nearly as much in ale houses—at least £50,000 more. For these magnificent labours, it has been seriously proposed to reward him with a national testimonial of £10,000, and about half a score Liberal M.P's are Vice Presidents of the Committee.

I quote from the Pall Mall Gazette, of August 28, some very excellent remarks upon the very point I wish to illustrate.

"It is impossible not to feel that he (Beales) is to be paid, not because he is a popular leader in any good sense of the word, but because he has been the centre and idol of a mob, because he bullied a minister of state, because he was the occasion, if not the cause of a riot, and because a happy mixture of audacity on his part, and weakness and disingenuity on the part of the Government, gave him the best in the game of brag, which was disgraceful to both the players. It is a melancholy thing to see services of this sort rewarded with large sums of money, and to reflect on the encouragement which such a proceeding is sure to give to the most vulgar and reckless forms of agitation, and to that vilest of all tyrannies—the tyranny of a mob towards which they lead."

Pall Mall Gazette, August 28th.

It is a blessed thing that the annals of our country do not furnish a history of the doings of such a party during a period of well assured triumph. If the past could furnish us with such a record, we should probably now be enabled to appeal to a bitter experience which would do much to mitigate our fears. We can however with confidence appeal to our next door neighbours and to our own kindred in the far west. A dispassionate perusal of all that has occurred during the past eighty years, which few of our people ever study—an acquaintance even with the proceedings of Congress during the last four years, would shew that no tyranny can surpass that of a radical majority. The unscrupulous means adopted to secure its success in the impending Presidential Election have compelled even their own organs to express their shame. History bears overwhelming testimony to the fact that the triumph of Radicalism is the highroad to an insufferable despotism, in comparison with which the strongest paternal government is a relief.

Radicalism is like the Romish Church, which, when curbed as in Poland, flaunts the banner of Liberty—when triumphant as in Spain, erases the article of toleration from its creed.

Such are some of the grounds upon which, irrespective of other considerations, the principles and conduct of the party fail in evoking the sympathy of those who love Order, Liberty and Progress—watchwords daily debased from their true significance. Where they are typical of a Liberal programme, they ought rather to be interpreted as meaning, Disorder, License and Revolution. To menace the Legislature with hordes of the lowest of our people—to stop traffic and commerce—desecrate the Sabbath, and double the work of the Police Courts on the following day is called 'Peaceful agitation,' To copy the faults without the experience of foreign nations is deemed—'Political wisdom'—To assault principle after principle of our noble constitution, the accumulated wisdom of our forefathers, is regarded as the true characteristic of a 'Friend of the People."

Those however who regard political professions simply as devices for the hustings prefer the practical test of performances. Nor can anything be more a propos just at present, than to review the long term of office enjoyed by the Liberal party, and to ascertain what grounds, if any, exist for the self satisfaction that prevails among its adherents, and what grounds there may be for most serious reprehension.

A brief summary of Foreign Policy during the past sixteen years, will furnish us with some data on which we may form a true opinion.

Mr. Kinglake in his interesting volumes just published on the Crimean war, vividly describes the effect on the Czar of the loss of the Battle of the Alma. The scene closes with a significant confession that indicates the true cause of the war.

"The Czar would put no faith now in any words of hope. Nay, he raged as they say against those who sought to comfort him, saying, "you are the men—you are the very men who brought me to this—who brought me into this war, by talking to me of the power of the English 'peace party.' Yes, you are the men, the very men who persuaded me that the English would trade and not fight, Leave me, leave me."  Crimean War, Vol. 4.

Mr. Bright forgot that his advocacy of peace at any price' would be viewed in a light totally different to his expectations; and if this statement be true, he and those who agreed with him were responsible in no trifling degree for the war, bloodshed, and loss of millions which followed. Nor is this all. The mismanagement and impotent conclusion of the war, lies at the door of that most brilliant of Liberal administrations, which narrowly escaped impeachment for its incompetency.

Lord Russell, who so nobly deserted the falling Cabinet, conceived in an unfortunate hour, that he had an especial genius for directing our Foreign affairs. His Diplomatic ability had been displayed in the lesson taught him by Prince Gortschakoff at Vienna, and he must then have considered his qualifications perfect.

Having excited the hopes of the Poles and stimulated an abortive insurrection, he withdrew a critical despatch in the face of a Russian menace, leaving Polish hopes to their fate, and English honour in the dust. Then succeeded the betrayal of Denmark, which relying on our support—a fleet in the Downs and a mooted expedition on her behalf, withstood the Federal demands, and so lost half her territory. From this conduct flowed results which culminated at Sadowa, and the effects of which will be seriously felt in Europe before long. The loyalty of the French Emperor to the English alliance received a needless rebuff, when he proposed a conference which might have been declined at least in terms of courtesy. Pusillanimity towards Russia was atoned for by high handed proceedings towards Brazil, Unjust reprisals were taken on trivial grounds. A Diplomatic rupture ensued, and finally when the dispute was referred to the arbitration of the King of Portugal, the award was not complimentary to us. The Foreign Secretary, as well as Mr. Gladstone, committed himself to an opinion on the merits of the American Civil War, favourable to the South, thereby inducing the conviction in the North that the escape of the Alabama was as much due to connivance as to negligence. American claims he refused to refer to arbitration, thus leaving the question open—a fertile source of future trouble and of possible war.

Neglect to answer the missive of Theodore has entailed upon us the expense of five millions; and has subjected the present administration to the reckless charge of increasing the estimates. Such is a brief sketch of a Foreign Policy which has made the name of England 'to stink' in the world—reduced her from her high place among nations— filled Continental Journals with contemptuous sneers, and our own with indignant complaints—a Foreign Policy which Lord Derby well described as 'meddle and muddle,' and Mr. Cobden in his severe review as—an 'Anarchy'!!

In contrast to this picture we oifer you another. During barely two years Lord Stanley has saved Europe from a general war by arranging the Luxemburg dispute—checked Spanish presumption—brought to a happy conclusion the Abyssinian trouble, bequeathed him by his predecessor—accepted the principle of arbitration, and toned down American susceptibilities—raised the prestige of England in the East, and restored her to her high place in the Councils of Europe.

The 'Presse' a French paper, at the commencement of August, had an article on the European situation, in which occurs this striking testimony to the ability of the Conservative minister;—"England therefore among the great Powers, is the real arbiter of the destinies of Europe."

But whilst not one Liberal Candidate deems it prudent to draw attention to our Foreign relations as they have been, and as they are, most of them are not ashamed to charge the effects of the Abyssinian blunder, and a year of terrible commercial panic and depression upon the financial department of the Government. A brief Statement of the budgets of ten years will prove whether the so called Liberals have any more claim to a speciality for Retrenchment than they have for Reform.

Expenditure of the Country.
1857-58  £70,527,501 6 7 Palmerston and Lewis.
1858-59 64,709,420  10  10 Derby and Disraeli.
1859-60 69,619,266 9 1 Palmerston and Gladstone.
1860-61 72,964,536 4 1 Palmerston and Gladstone.
1861-62 72,223,627 8 10 Palmerston and Gladstone.
(New Series.)
1862-63 £67,810,987 11 10 Palmerston and Gladstone.
1863-64 67,883,404 18 4 Palmerston and Gladstone.
1864-65 66,508,265 4 10 Palmerston and Gladstone.
1865-66 67,434,769 18 1 Russell and Gladstone.

Thus showing the Liberals have expended in excess of the Derby administration in the last seven years an average of upwards of 4,000,000l. a year.

Income Tax.
1857-58   7d.    Palmerston and Lewis.
1858-59; 5d. Derby and Disraeli.
1859-60; 9d. Palmerston and Gladstone.
1860-61; 10d. Palmerston and Gladstone.
1861-62; 9d. Palmerston and Gladstone.
1862-63; 9d Palmerston and Gladstone.
1863-64; 7d.d Palmerston and Gladstone.
1864-65; 6d.d Palmerston and Gladstone.

Thus showing the Liberals raised from the income tax, in excess of the Derby administration, in the last six years, 26,000,000l., or upwards of 4,000,000l. per annum.

Lord Derby left the income tax at 5d.; Mr. Gladstone raised it to 10d.!

It thus appears that in 1858-59, under the Derby-Disraeli administration, we have a considerably smaller expenditure than at any period under Mr. [Gladstone's financial management; and it also appears that the income tax imposed by the same Derby-Disraeli government—viz., 5d., is smaller than that imposed by Mr. Gladstone during any year of his financial supremacy.

The unavoidable increase of certain estimates for the current year has been satisfactorily accounted for by the able and triumphant letters of the chancellor of the Exchequer, and of General Peel. To these I refer you; though it may be well to remind you of a few reasons which sufficiently dispose of the frivolous allegations of their critics. When the budget was framed, those at least who were responsible could not afford to forget that they had some trifling things to provide for, such as—Fenianism—the conversion and improvement of our arms in consequence of the state of military preparation in Europe—increase of pay to the re-enlisting soldier—the extension of the Contagious diseases Acts on moral and sanitary grounds—extra colonial defence—obligatory outlay on the fortifications for which a Liberal administration is solely responsible[5] — the short comings of their predecessors in naval and military matters—and lastly, the results of the terrible commercial panic and distress in lessening the revenue.

These facts furnish us with three reflections.

1. That with the possession of power for nearly twenty years past, with an ample working majority, and the cry of Retrenchment everlastingly on their lips, our Liberal friends have not done much to curtail extravagant estimates, or reduce expenditure.

2. It is certain Mr. Bright has never worked to check within the House of Commons the extravagance he denounces out of it.

3. Mr. Gladstone with his majority of sixty[6] is more to blame than the minority for any increase in the budget, he chooses to criticise solely for electioneering purposes.

Such are the simple but weighty considerations which certainly prevent my vote being given to such a political combination.

Can it be that on religious grounds you will indentify yourself with a cause which is supported by a Pusey, a Spurgeon, and a Bradlaugh? Which will muster among its forces every returned convict, and lawless man, every one faithless to his duties, as well as the enemies of all religion? The Socinian, the Socialist, the Deist, the Atheist, the Revolutionist, the Leveller, the Doctrinaire will all be found in your ranks,[7] and what bond of union can there be among you beyond the Adullamite principle of associating together "all that are discontented"?

If you carefully examine the Election addresses of the Liberal Candidates you will find three topics to be their common burden—Finance—the Irish Church—and the defects of the Reform bill. There is a fourth upon which their unanimous silence seems more than accidental—their past Foreign Policy.

Upon the first of these I would observe briefly, that facts are at variance with their misrepresentations. The second I can safely leave to the defence of its friends. For me it is sufficient to know as Mr. Angerstein says, that "it has faithfully preached the truth"—that its preservation is an article of the constitution—and that it is the great adversary of that enemy of all Liberty—the Romish Hierarchy. I am not forgetful that in times gone by, when our last Papist Sovereign made his attack on the Church and Liberties of England (for the two have been hitherto inseparable,) a Quaker was his adviser, and a "Declaration of Indulgence"—the Liberal prelude to his sinister designs.

With respect to the third—It will be time to consider the rate paying clauses,—a grievance, when those most interested deem them such, A future agitation may be rewarded by their repeal, so as to admit to the franchise that 'residuum' which to Mr. Bright is most obnoxious. And to the last, I would say—it is a matter of some national importance that England should retain the proud position she at present occupies, and which no one will have the hardihood to ascribe to the merits of a Liberal administration.

The present election is most critical. To it hereafter we may possibly revert as the great turning point in our national career. Years hence this may be characterized as an epoch when the throne of Religion began to totter, and the disunion of Protestant bodies contributed to the growth and power of their common foe: when to please and flatter a mob was deemed worthy of English politicians: when liberty degenerated into License, and those political evils which had heretofore been the secret or open dread of all shades of opinion began to manifest themselves.

It is the duty of a sensible man at such a time as this, not to be guided by party symbols or party cries. These may remain the same, while the principles they represent rapidly fluctuate. It is his duty to weigh well not only the particular points at issue, but their tendency—to review the antecedents and composition of the party to which he inclines. I am confident the result of his unbiassed judgment will be—as a patriot to rally to the defence of all that is dear to an Englishman at home and abroad—as a practical man to enrol himself with the great constitutional party, under a banner, on which is inscribed the sum and substance of all good principles—"Fear God, Love the brotherhood, Honour the King."

  1. These extremes are easily connected. Mr. Gladstone supports Mr. Mill for Westminster, and Mr. Mill subscribes £25 to support the candidature of Mr. Bradlaugh, at Northampton!
  2. 'The only thing we dislike in the attitude of some of the new electors is 'a disposition, fostered often by men of education, who should know better, 'to disparage their country, their ancestors, their old institutions and laws.' Times, Sept. 9th, 1868.
  3. The theme of endless diatribes against the Conservative party, due to misconception as to the province and functions of Conservatism: as well charge with inconsistency the parent who plucks in August for an impulsive child the fruit which he refused in April!
  4. Mr. T. Hughes the member for Lambeth seems especially jubilant in anticipation of the strong government it will give us! Englishmen will find out what this means by and by.
  5. The total expense for these will be about £8,885,000.
  6. Among whom were Mr. Childers, Mr. Stansfield, and Lord Hartington. They seem to think, that though the Commons have the power of the purse, the House of Commons is not the place to exercise it.
  7. The London Review of Sept. 19th, deplores the unhappy coupling of the names of Mr. Mill and Mr. Bradlaugh (see note page 5,) and asks, "what community of ideas or interest can there be between such a man as Mr. Mill and one like Mr. Bradlaugh, who calls a minister of the Gospel, a "rat faced preacher," publishes a description of the Messiah as "a Jewish peasant of low birth, subject to maniacal delusions," and cheers his readers by permitting the Day of Judgment to be anticipated in his paper as "a blazing exhibition of fireworks."? The answer to all this is—there is a community of ideas or interest,' else why should Mr. Mill subscribe to promote the successful candidature of Mr, Bradlaugh?

This work was published in 1870 and is anonymous or pseudonymous due to unknown authorship. It is in the public domain in the United States as well as countries and areas where the copyright terms of anonymous or pseudonymous works are 152 years or less since publication.