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harangue. He could sparkle with vivacity in a style that scintillated, but never flashed with the fire of genius, and was conversant with all the arts of compilation and selection necessary for parliamentary speaking. Then, his fine presence, his buoyant animal spirits, with his undoubted manliness, excellently sustained him before a popular assembly like the Commons. The wear and tear of public life, the pangs of ambition, the toil of competitorship, never soured him into moroseness, or parched him into a mere thing of formula, like a hardened hunter after power." And then, with perfect correctness, it is added, that, though his thinking was never original or profound, he could spice his common-places with so much piquancy, and dress up parliamentary platitudes with so much sounding rhetoric, and then rattle off his concerted pieces with such swashing spirit, that he could deceive political novices into the idea that he was a genius.
Shoals of political novices,-nor novices only,-are to this hour of opinion, no doubt, that his lordship is a genius. They hold him to be the all-accomplished statesman, the Pilot to weather the storm, as well as to guide the good ship in tranquil times, when wind and weather and tide are in her favour. They would not object to apply to him, in all its amplitude, Ben Jonson's Ciceronian ideal of the true Statesman at the helm:
Each petty hand
Can steer a ship becalmed; but he that will
Gusts, storms, and tempests; when her keel ploughs hell,
Milder enthusiasts will be satisfied with attributing to Viscount Palmerston though in an exceptional degree, that parliamentary tact in the management of parliamentary men-that knowledge of where to have them, how to tickle them, and how far to cross them, for which public men of talent have sometimes been as conspicuous as public men of genius have been fatally deficient in it. Clarendon's account of Hampden, as a debater, is, that it was his wont, after a full debate, when he saw how the House was like to be inclined, to take up the argument—" "and shortly, and clearly, and craftily, so stated it, that he commonly conducted it to the conclusion he desired; and if he found he could not do that, he never was without the dexterity to divert the debate to another time, and to prevent the determining anything in the negative, which might prove inconvenient in the future." Of Lord Southampton, again, the same noble historian-long-time his trusty colleague-also tells us, that "he was a man of a great sharpness of judgment, a very quick apprehension, and that readiness of expression upon any sudden debate, that no man delivered himself more advantageously and more efficaciously with the hearers; so that no man gave them more trouble, in his opposition, or drew so many to a concurrence with him in opinion." Little as Viscount Palmerston may have in common with John Hampden, or with the Lord Treasurer
Southampton, he is confessedly famous for parliamentary qualities of the kind characterised in these extracts. Thus, too, he has his resemblance, so far as it goes, to the same historian's portraiture of that old Irish agitator, Daniel O'Neile, who "had a natural insinuation and address that made him acceptable in the best company," and "was a great observer and discerner of men's natures and humours, and very dexterous in compliance where he found it useful.” The last trait suits Pam to a t. Or to take examples from a later generation of our public men-look at Sir Robert Walpole, as depicted by Earl Stanhope. Walpole's talents, as his lordship says, were eminently practical. Even the most trying circumstances could very seldom ruffle his good humour; and calm himself, he worked upon the passions of others. So closely had he studied all the weak points of human nature-so skilfully were his address and management adapted to them, that he scarcely ever failed, either in public or in private, to gain upon his hearers. There have certainly been many more eloquent orators, but never, I believe, a more dexterous debater... Always catching and always following the disposition of the Houseknowing exactly when to press, and when to recede-able at pleasure to unfold the most intricate details, or to involve in specious reasoning the grossest fallacies-he, in the long run, prevailed over spirits far more lofty and soaring." The applicability of much of this description to the present Head of the Government, will be obvious enough both to friend and foe. So with the "eloquence" of Pulteney, which, we are told, was of that kind most valued in English parliaments-ready, clear, and pointed, and always adapted to the temper of the moment. Not that Palmerston will go down to posterity with Pulteney, as one of the firstclass orators of St. Stephen's; but his mastery of the style of speechcraft just defined is what "nobody can deny." And after all, look at a debate on any great question, as the author of "Granby" says, and see how very little attention is given to a discussion of its principles, and when given, to how little purpose! What an absence of comprehensiveness in the view of it-what an eager nibbling at its outworks-what a frequent departure from the real merits of the question-what a waste of ingenuity on irrelevant attacks! A man, who has grappled, however eloquently, with the real substantial merits of a question, who has viewed it comprehensively, and probed it deeply, will be said to have uttered a good essay, or a clever treatise, but not an effective parliamentary speech. No-the palm of sincere applause, Mr. Lister with truth asserts, "will be given to the dexterous skirmishing debater, who knows how to avoid the depths of his subject, and sports amusingly in the glittering shallows; who makes no hard demands upon the reasoning faculties of his auditors, but appeals to their memories rather than to their judgment, and undermines a motion which he cannot condemn, by an ingenious charge of inconsistency in the mover." A Burke becomes the House's dinner-bell; a Sheridan fills the benches, and keeps them filled. A Mackintosh addresses perhaps an average of forty save one, and a Molesworth is voted tedious to the last degree; while a Bernal Osborne keeps honourable gentlemen awake by his smart fire of paper pellets, hit or miss, and a Henry Drummond amuses either side by belabouring them both in turn, or both at once, as the case may be.
The charm of Lord Palmerston's ministerial manner, however, must
be allowed to have had its drawback, of late, in the curt sort of replies he sometimes vouchsafes to eager appellants. Even he has found it expedient to adopt the snubbing process, and to stretch it occasionally almost beyond its legitimate tension.
Sæpe roges aliquid, sæpe repulsus eas.
It might seem that First Lords of the Treasury had laid to heart an apophthegm in Mr. Carlyle's Miscellanies: "A prime minister's words are not as water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered; but rather as heavenly manna, which is treasured up and eaten, not without a religious sentiment"-so careful a premier is apt to be not to drop a syllable too much, unless he wants to talk over the House, when his tendency is to run into the contrary extreme, and deluge the assembly with words, words, words. Addison devotes the fag-end of a Spectator to the style proper of a minister, and gives hints for a proposed college of statesmen to practise it in their common conversation, before they are employed either in foreign or domestic affairs. If one of them asks another what o'clock it is, the other is to answer him indirectly, and, if possible, to turn off the question. If he is desired to change a louis-d'or, he must beg time to consider of it. If it be inquired of him whether the king is at Versailles or Marly, he must answer in a whisper. If he be asked the news of the last gazette, or the subject of a proclamation, he is to reply, that he has not yet read it; or if he does not care for explaining himself so far, he needs only draw his brow up in wrinkles, or elevate the left shoulder.
Viscount Palmerston is as suly a great proficient in the results of such a collegiate training, as his whilom sub, or super, the present Sir Robert Peel, is not. One is reminded by Pam's sleight of hand and shoulder and leg work, in this line of things, of that couplet in the Dunciad:
Never by tumbler thro' the hoops was shown
One of the most graphic, and not the least accurate as well as appreciative of his critics-Mr. Francis, in his "Orators of the Age"-presents this parliamentary tact of the Premier's in the fairest light. The dexterity with which his lordship fences at the case before him-as this writer expresses it-touching its vulnerable points with his sarcastic venom, or triumphing in the power with which he can make a feint of argument answer all the purposes of a real home-thrust, is only equalled by his corresponding watchfulness and agility in parrying the thrusts of an opponent, guarding himself from his attack, or skipping about to avoid being hit. "He is almost unsurpassed in the art with which he can manage an argument with a show of fairness and reason, while only carrying it and his admirers far enough to serve the purposes of party in the debate. He seldom commits himself so far as to be laid open to even the most practised debaters. They may ridicule him upon his excessive official vanity and imperviousness to criticism on that score, but they can hardly discover a flaw in the particular case which it suits him for the time being to make out." Mr. Francis also comments on his considerable power of ridicule, and his knack, where he finds the argument of an opponent either unanswerable, or only to be answered by
alliance with some principle that might be turned against himself, at getting rid of it by a side-wind of absurd allusion.
What M. Villemain says of another Prime Minister of ours, of a past generation, is for the most part applicable to Lord Palmerston: "Demandez-vous s'il était dénué de talent? Non certes; il est un des premiers modèles, non de l'éloquence, mais de la tactique parlementaire... Vous le voyez attentif à ne rien laisser sans réponse [here possibly the analogy leaks somewhat], ferme, railleur. Les sentiments élevés ne sont guère à son usage; mais il parle le language de l'intérêt avec habileté, avec instinct; il est infatigable, et toujours prêt à donner hardiment, au moins, une mauvaise raison."
The Premier's wide-spread popularity, within these islands, is largely due to the reputation he can boast as a thoroughly practical man. The charm of that word, to a practical age, to a people who exult in the term and the thing as their own distinctive characteristic, national and exclusive, is something supreme. His early and late and almost unbroken experience of office has confirmed his bias in this direction. The author of "Friends of Bohemia," who defines Lord Palmerston's "genius" to be simply "the genius of common sense," has sagaciously remarked of him, that, never left sufficiently long in Opposition to study into crotchetiness, he was from the first imbued with a reverence for the practical and a partiality for the possible; and that never having acquired a prejudice, he, like all men to that extent wise, was never hampered with a principle. "I wonder," Mr. Landor makes King CarloAlberto say, in an Imaginary Dialogue with the Princess Belgioioso, "I wonder what could have induced his lordship to abandon his policy and principles ?" "Sir," the Princess replies, "he abandoned no policy, no principles; his lordship is a Whig; these Whigs have neither; protestations serve instead."
At a later stage in the same dialogue the King warns the Princess, "You must be less inflammatory than Lord Palmerston." Her answer is: "I could neither be more hasty nor more inefficient. Touchwood makes but an indifferent torch." As Foreign Secretary it was, however, that his lordship won the name and fame that made him famous at home, and a name of fear abroad. Pope celebrates, in the “ the Lock,"
Ev'n mighty Pam, that Kings and Queens o'erthrew :
and our Pam has somehow contrived to achieve in continental esteem something of the same awful prestige. Mr. Disraeli hardly exaggerated current opinion, in the East for instance, when in the conference (in "Tancred") between Pasqualigo and Barizy of the Tower, the following notions are interchanged: "This will never satisfy Palmerston," objects Barizy to a certain hypothesis-when Pasqualigo breaks in with a scream that "Palmerston has nothing to do with it, he is no longer Reis Effendi; he is in exile; he is governor of the Isle of Wight." think I do not know that?" rejoins Barizy of the Tower; "but he will be recalled for this purpose. The English will not go to war in Syria
without Palmerston. Palmerston will have the command of the fleet as well as of the army, that no one shall say 'No' when he says 'Yes.'" Of his lordship's Syrian policy (in 1840-41), Mr. Disraeli, in the same
work, writes in very flattering terms-affirming, that when we consider the position of the minister at home, not only deserted by parliament, but abandoned by his party and even forsaken by his colleagues; the military occupation of Syria by the Egyptians; the rabid demonstration of France; that an accident of time or space, the delay of a month or the gathering of a storm, might alone have baffled all his combinations; it is difficult to fix upon a page in the history of this country which records a superior instance of moral intrepidity. "The bold conception and the brilliant performance were worthy of Chatham; but the domestic difficulties with which Lord Palmerston had to struggle place the exploit beyond the happiest achievement of the elder Pitt." But we are reminded that throughout this memorable conjuncture, Lord Palmerston had one great advantage, which was invisible to the millions-that of being served by a most vigilant and able diplomacy: and that, in fact, the superiority of his information concerning the state of Syria to that furnished to the French minister was the real means by which he baffled the menaced legions of our neighbours. "A timid Secretary of State, in the position of Lord Palmerston, even with such advantages, might have faltered; but the weapon was placed in the hands of one who did not shrink from its exercise, and the expulsion of the Egyptians from Turkey remains a great historic monument alike of diplomatic skill and administrative energy." How little scrupulous the Foreign Secretary could be, as such, in case of an emergency, was awkwardly manifest in the Affghanistan affair-when he asserted in the House of Commons (23rd June, 1842), upon Mr. Baillie's motion, that Lord Auckland had adopted, and could not have done otherwise than adopt, the views of Alexander Burnes: to support which theory, as the late Samuel Phillips severely observes, and throw the blame on the memory of a dead man, who was not then known to have left behind him duplicates, and even triplicates, of all his official letters, a blue-book was presented to parliament in which every portion of every document was diligently cut out which could implicate the really responsible persons. "Even the first few lines of one letter were expunged, leaving just enough of the commencing clause to convey the impression that Burnes was speaking of his own opinions, when he was in reality replying to ideas thrown out by Lord Auckland. Lord Palmerston, at the moment when he received from Nesselrode a complete disclaimer of Russian interference in Central Asia, had in his possession the instructions with which Vilkievich went to Affghanistan. To maintain a good understanding with the Court of St. Petersburg, the British Government consented to overlook this discrepancy, and bartering lie for lie cemented the bond of union by disowning the proceedings and blackening the character of its own subordinate agents."-The radical author of "The Governing Classes" contends that there are, unquestionably, some grounds for the Gallic belief in the perfidy of Albion: for there is an enduring English, as there is an enduring Russian, policy-the secret policy of Britain always having reference to the commerce of Britain; "and certainly Lord Palmerston would not be so popular as he is on the 'Changes of England, if it were not that he, more than all his contemporary competitors, understands the sanctity of British trade. That general traditional policy of the Foreign Office he has followed with victorious fidelity." Mr. Landor has a