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DEBATE ON THE FOREIGN POLICY OF LORD PALMERSTON., Issue 3, 8 March 1851
DEBATE ON THE FOREIGN POLICY OF LORD PALMERSTON.
[From the Edinburgh Witness.] The high character of the debate was kept up to the last. Some abatement ought perhaps to be allowed for the speaking on Thursday night, which was certainly the dullest of the four. It was not redeemed by Mr. Gladstone's speech, distinguished as that speech was for all the eloquence, all the subtlety, and all the casuistry, of the Right Hon. Gentleman. The secret lay in the want of originality in its glow. It was, in fact, no more than a repetition of the speech of Lord Stanley, in the House of Lords, with the charges put forward in a still more offensive way ; for what Lord Stanley advanced recklessly, and with all the frankness of undisguised hostiliy, Mr. Gladstone invariably prefaced with a long sanctimonious explanation of his unwillingness to take away any man's character, and his anxiety that the charges he felt constrained to advance, should prove be groundless. His unfairness in quotation was mercilessly exposed on the following evening (Friday), when, from beginning to end, an almost uninterrupted succession of masterly speeches on both sides showed that the genius of eloquence has not yet deserted the British Parliament. The first of the speakers this evening was Mr. Cockburn, who has hitherto shown himself one of the most successful pleaders in the Westminster Hall, but who on Friday took a higher range, and planted himself in a position in the House which no lawyer except Brougham has ever, in our generation at least, succeeded in attaining. He showed himself equally at home in law and in politics, and was universally allowed to have proved himself one of the readiest debaters now in the House. His opponents say that it was a speech for the Solicitor-Generalship, which the pendtng law changes will shortly leave vacant. If it be so, the speech must be held as fully establishing the claim. Mr. Cobden also addressed the House, but his speech added little either to the facts or to the argument. With his peculiar faculty of seeing clearly whatever is to be seen in a small compass, the honorable gentleman demonstrated that we would be just as prosperous, and a
great deal more comfortable, if we left all our subjects to take care of themselves in Foreign States, and never in. terfered in the affairs of the world at all so long as we were ourselves let alone. This was the amount of his speech, felicitously illustrated, as nsual, with homely arguments. As to the idea of a conspiracy against Lord Palmerston, he denied that any existed, because he was not in the secret. The Honorable Gentleman forgot that there are two parties in a conspiracy, — first, those who direct it ; next, and the larger portion, those who are its unconscious tools. It is no disparagement to Mr. Cobden to say, that if such a conspiracy existed, that he would be the last man to be taken into the secret, and the first who, from his recorded opinions, it would be thought easy to entrap into an instrument. Sir Robert Peel's speech was able and weighty, though cautious, as usual, In fact, Sir Robert, with great expressions of courage, in giving his opinion, contrived, with his wonted dexterity, to shift the issue nearly altogether, aad, by making the discovery that this vote of confidence in Lord Palmerston was an implied vote of censure on his own Foreign Minister, Lord Aberdeen, he assigned that as the ground of his opposition. The high pitch of interest which the debate by this time had assumed was not diminished by the grave and dignified address of Lord John R-ussel, who took his stand on the general principles of his foreign policy, — admitting that here' and there circumstances had occurred which might have been managed better. Of this nature was the inference in the affairs of Sicily, which, without openly abandoning, he seemed inclined to admit had been too rashly followed up, for which the only excuse was the extraordinary circumstances of the times. Mr. D'lsraeli closed the debate, but he had better have left it alone. The House was tired, and so was he : the speech he had prepared for three or four hours, was obliged to be compressed into one, and in delivering presented the appearance of being a collection of fragments. He was the only speaker of any note who did not add to his fame by his speech on this interesting debate, which will hereafter no doubt hold a high place in the annals of Parliamentary eloquence. FATE OF THE KINGS OF FRANCE.
This morning the earth will close on that extraordinary man, in whose life it was only an incidental passage that he was King for nearly twenty years over a mighty nation. In a foreign though friendly land, by strange hands, and in a humble cemetry, will be deposited' the coffin which three years ago would have rested with ancestral dignities in a Koyal mausoleum. Yet neither as compared with his kindred nor his pre. decessors has Louis Philippe singularly fallen. Once only during the last seventy years has a Sovereign of France died in his own country, otherwise than as a malefactor on the scaffold. Louis XVI. indeed, found a grave in France, ■- but it was the grave of felon. Louis XVII. was extinguished in a jail. Napoleon was interred by Englishmen; his son by Austrians; and the lastoK sequies ever solemnized over a King of France were performed, like those of this very day, in a lowly church of a foreign village by strange priests and sympathising exiles. French history is only to be painted by contrasts ; nor can we quit this topic without observing, that at the moment when the vaults closed on Charles X. at Goritz the present chief of the nation was bidding a mournful adieu to the shores of France, at the command of him who this morning exemplifies the vicissitudes of destiny- at Weybridge. - Louis Philippe had proved, above all other living men, the lubricity of fortune ; yet even his unparalleled experience. - could hardly have then suggested that, his own end would be the veritablecounterpart of that just rejx>rl^^jto him from Goritz, and that, wfeedp^7his;T^ . ;, mains should ultimately fiftcl" aa'e^^^g*v::X place in the soil of France, ntT^t^ef^^ pend on the will of the theni|p^^^^ captive whom he . was transportii^l^i^? ri;n<s<s flip rpjks — Ttmws: S«ar»f Q.*' ~"" "^ " " £■?•'
DEBATE ON THE FOREIGN POLICY OF LORD PALMERSTON., Issue 3, 8 March 1851
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