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NOTES., Issue 7977, 5 August 1889
Those of our public men who have been
martyrised o.t one time or An English another by the interesting Agnew. couple yclept Agnew may find some slight consolation in the fact that they suffer in common with yet more illustrious statesmen. London possesses its Mr, if not its Mrs, Agnew. A few weeks ago a man named Thomas Elliott was charged at Bow street Police Court with annoying members of Parliament on their way to the House of Commons. Elliott, who claims to be next of kin to a variety of deceased persons, says he is entitled to estates seized by the Crown and now valued at L 7,000,000. Before a claim of this kind, the humble desire of the Agnews to be " placed on their land " sinks into insignificance. Mr Gladstone and Sir Michael Ricks-Beach are among the politicians whom the much-desiring Thomas has been in the habit of waylaying, and apparently they appreciate the honor as lictle as does Sir Barry Atkinson. Mr Vaughan, the presiding magistrate, gave Elliott his share of that good advice to which cranky claimants are so peculiarly susceptible, and discharged him "with a caution." The defendant left the Court offering pamphlets referring to his case to all who cared to accept them. It may bo conjectured with tolerable safety that Mr Vaughan and Thomas Elliott will meet again in the sweet by-and-bye. We are glad to notice that Sir John Hall and other members have been Unworthy B P eakin S out strongly in regard Proposal. *° tne alleged possibility of the provision tor the reduction of members being interfered with. Mr James Allen and Mr Downie Stewart are to be especially congratulated on the courageous firmness with which they denounced any such proceeding. The fact that so many members are notoriously ready to break their former pledges and undo their former acts speaks little for the prevailing tone of representative morality. Upon two points in connection with the representation question we believe that the largo majority of electors hold very strong opinions, and those two points are the reduction of members and the amalgamation of the city constituencies. Mr Allen admits that if he turned back on his vote in regard to the reduction of members he should have small
■chance of being again returned for Dunedin East; and we feci sure that if the reduction had been set aside, the constituencies would have taken caro that the delinquent self-seekers reaped no advantage from their unworthy tergiversation. The reduction was decided upon at a time when membcia were fresh from touch with their constituents, and it would never havo been carried but for the fact that the electors evidently demanded it. Moreover, independent of the merit of tho particular question, such a reversal as that hinted at would have formd a legislative precedent of the most dangerous character. The Representation Bill ha 3 heroically worked its way into Com¥>i in i mittee, and an hour may come l wyeu Out. wheQ . fc wm h&ve worl . ed its) way out again, but there is considerable virtue in that " may." Up to the end of last week the fun was fast and furious, and Parliamentary correspondence formed unwontedlygood reading. But the inevitable reaction has come about—a sense of stalcness, flatness, and unprofitability evidently haunts our weary representatives; the charm of political larrikinism is over for the time. The reporters are back in their a'.customed placea; hence tho fascinating odor of mysterious iniquity is no longer present. They know all about this kind of thing in Sydney, and the • Sydney Morning Herald ' evidently takes it for granted that very disgraceful scenes must have gone on while the galleries were empty. But the Sydney House could give us points on such an occasion ; we are only innocent novices at the work. "Sir Charles and Ladv Rcsskm, entertained at dinner at their house Tempus Frrglt. j» *"*»! street last evening the following guests :—Mr Gladstone and Mrs Gladstone, Mr Parnell, Lord Randolph Churchill," etc., etc. This little announcement, which we copy from the London * Times,' marks curiously the radical change which has taken place in certain political •conditions at Home during the last few years. Who would have believed only four years ago that such a dinner party would ever take place? At that time the threo famous personages named formed a triangle of mutual and bitter opposition. Mr Gladstone, Prime Minister of England, was at daggers drawn with Mr Parnell, leader of the Irish Nationalists; and Lord Randolph Churchill, leader of tho Fourth Party of Four, took delight in ceaselessly harassing both combatants. To-day two of the three are fellow-leaders in the greatest political agitation of the generation ; while Lord Randolph, on bad terms with his party and " full of sad experience," hobnobs with them at Sir Charles Russell's table. Thus "the whirligig of time brings in its revenges." Moreover, the cablegrams this week would seem to show that Lord Randolph's attitude towards his fellow-guests is one of something more than mere personal friendliness. " Lord Randolph Churchill, in addressing a meeting at Birmingham, said a general concession of popular local government, with greater decentralisation, should be made to Ireland, and he thought the Chief Secretary ought to welcome the overtare in that direction received from prominent members of the Nationalist party." Of course this does not read exactly like Home Rule ; but on tho other hand it may be taken for granted that any scheme recommended by really " prominent members of the Nationalist party " means something more than ordinary local government. Lord Randolph also seems to favor Mr Gladstone's 'scheme for buying out tho Irish landlords. Altogether the famous free lance is evidently progressing, and for a long time hia views upon economic questions have been distinctly Radical. If he does contest Birmingham at the next election his platform will probably be at least as much Gladstonian as Salisburian. Is it possible to convert the ordinary French youth into a healthy footballing ■Sports In animal ? We cannot say ; but (Trance, it is a noteworthy fact that tho desirability of essaying some such conversion is beginning to present itself to influential French minds. A Congress is to be held in connection with the Paris Exhibition upon the subject of athletic education, and a circular has been sent by M. Jules Simon and others to the heads of English schools askiug for their attendance or advice and information. It is well known that outdoor sports aro as much neglected among the French as they are over-valued among the sons of Briton ; and there can be little question that a good deal of admiring envy mingles with the sarcasm in which Frenchmen are wont to indulge at the sight of a young Englishman's athletic enthusiasm. Probably it will always prove an impossible ta.sk to inoculate the French schoolboy with a proper appreciation of the delights of the " scrum," but it is something that French educationalists are coming to the opinion t'iat a taste for athleticism would be likely ti improve the physique and the morale of the French youth. The London ' Times,' in ai article on the question, says : "We are not sure that the confusion between the two terms 'sport' and 'sports' has not done a good deal to retard the progress of physical s;ames among the French, whose Anglomania his taken the superficial form of devotion to 'sport,' without cultivating that taste for ' sports' without which the mere Bsorting man is a somewhat despicable character." ' The Times' is afraid that M. Jules Simon and his friends are going the wrong way to work. "We are half inclined to believe that they are in some doubt whether English school games are not a department of official instruction. Frenchmen find it very difficult to get away from the idea that education, whatever its form, must be imposed upon boys by the authorities. If the framors of the circular entertun this belief, tho first thing to do is to disabuse them3elveß of it. No real love of nnnly sport can be implanted in the schoolboy's breast by force of authority." This true remark reminds us of a clever skit which appeared some time ago in 'Macmillan's Magazine.' The idea of the writer was that (with a view of regulating over-athleticism) cricket and football should be made compulsory parts of the school curriculum, such pastimes as classics, mathematics, science, etc., being merely optional. He was convinced that the plan would work beneficially. Lord Carnarvon, than whom there is no cooler and acuter observer of The Cane c °l° n, ' a l affairs, writes to tho ' London papers deprecating tho | opposition excited by Sir Hercules Robinson's great speech on leaving the Cape, and warning the Imperial Government against the folly of pursuing an illiberal policy in South Africa. After an unqualified eulogy of Sir Hercules Robinson's career, Lord Carnarvon points out that Sir Hercules stated that he could only return to the Cape on the condition that he was assured of the full confidence of Her Majesty's Government. " If, therefore, the question be left on this understanding, and Sir Hercules does not return to his post, there will and can be but one inference drawn in South Africa." Lord Carnarvon, who asserts with great earnestness that "we hive come to the parting of the ways in Smth Africa," believes that the only possible policy lies in accepting in the fullest sanse the consequences flowing from the granting of responsible government to the Oipe, and, moreover, in recognising the interest which the Cape has in the management of the adjacent Crown colonies. It was for his references to these latter that Sir. Hercules Robinson was specially criticised, and Lord Carnarvon's justification of his right is worth quoting: *'The Cape is the dominant element in S>uth African politics. She believes herself destined to absorb, in the fulness of time, m»ny at least of those outlying lands, though she is naturally ready to wait till the time comes when she can do so with the least strain and burden to herself. And, as far as it is wise to prophesy in human mitters, that is her destiny. It is impossible that anyone who understands the present condition of affairs in South Africa cui seriously bolieve that Crown colonies, cut off on all sides from the sea, surrounded either by responsibly-governed colonies or independent State 3, can be indefinitely maintained under the direct rule of the Colonial Secretary in Downing otreet witb"
out an enormous cost and without dangerous friction. They can only be rotpincd for a while, and with the concurrence of the Cape Colony." Lord Carnarvon was one of the best Colonial Secretaries of recent times, but his views have developed considerably since he held that position. He is not now in office, but he naturally exercises considerable influence in the counsels of the Conservative party. His political letters arc na remarkable for the grace of their literary style as for the lucidity and thoughtfulnebs of their subject matter.
We are inclined to ac;rec with MrLabouchere and Mr John Morley,
~,. ~ n ,, rather than with Mr Gladstone, u •in regard to the question of Royal maintenance, but it is not altogether unpleasaut to find the Grand Old Man kicking over the Hadical traces on tho matter. He has shown rather too marked a tendency of late to say ditto to the " members below the gangway " on points where his views have apparently leaned somewhat in the other direction, and the spectacle of " Labby " getting an old-fashioned half-Tory " slating " from his great leader must have had a refreshing charm. It must be borne in mind that Mr Gladstone's Radicalism is a nobly sentimental, not a philosophical, Radicalism ; and the very considerations which make him a reformer in some directions tend to keep him conservatively inclined in others;
NOTES., Issue 7977, 5 August 1889
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