Imágenes de páginas

Parliament in expatiating upon these measures in gross and in detail, and so spending in your company an intellectual and not unimproving evening. But I remembered myself in time.

I think that you are too much accustomed to view her Majesty's Ministers merely on their practical, and not on their imaginative side. I for my own part consider that, rightly viewed, each office of the Crown is not merely a place for the transaction of business, but a realm of imagination. I will illustrate what I mean. As regards the First Lord of the Treasury I know nothing; but I suspect that it depends very much upon the occupant of the post as to whether he would illustrate my thesis or not. As regards the Lord Chancellor I will say nothing, because his office is above imagination, and it would be indiscreet for one who holds the highest of judicial offices to indulge in anything like a flight of fancy. Nor can I say anything for my right hon. friend the Home Secretary.

Two massy keys he bears of metals twain;
The golden opes, the iron shuts amain.

And as he opens and shuts the prison doors of the country with an impartial hand, it would not do for him to indulge in any flights of fancy. But when I come to the other Secretaries of State my mind enlarges.

r My noble friend, the Secretary for the Colonies, rules over an Empire on which the sun never sets, and it is impossible to say at any given moment on what particular part of the globe his mind may be reposing. My noble friend Lord Kimberley's mind reposes on "India's coral strand." His talk is of Oriental splendour, his dream is of Oriental luxury, only marred by the awful spectre of the constantly depreciating rupee. When we come to the next Secretary of State, Mr. Campbell-Bannerman, I do not doubt, if he be a man of the boundless and virile imagination I believe him to be, sometimes, in dreams, he pictures to himself a British Army taking the field in adequate numbers and with adequate equipment. But when I come to my own office I transcend them all. I have only to open a red box to be possessed of that magic carpet which took its possessor wherever he would go. Perhaps sometimes it carries me a little farther than that. I open it, and find myself at once in those regions where a travelled monarch and an intellectual Minister are endeavouring to reconcile the realms of Xerxes and Darius with the needs of nineteenth-century civilisation-I smell the scent of the roses, and hear the song of the bulbul. I open another box, which enables me to share the sports of the fur-seal-his island loves, his boundless swims in the Pacific; I can even follow

him to Paris and see him-the corpus delicti—laid on the table of the Court of Arbitration. I can go still farther. I can transfer myself to the Southern Pacific, where three of the greatest States in the world are endeavouring, not always with apparent success, to administer one of the smallest of islands -the island of Samoa-in close conjunction and alliance with one of our most brilliant men of letters. I will say this in virtue of my office-I follow every Court. Not a monarch leaves his capital on a journey, but I am on the platform in the spirit if not in the body. I am in spirit in the gallery of every Parliament. I am ready and anxious-but not always successful-to be present at the signing of every treaty. I think I have laid a sufficient claim before you to insist that, in future, when you consider her Majesty's Ministers you may not consider them merely as political creatures, but as persons who have also their imaginative side, as official Ariels roaming through time and space, not on broomsticks, but on boxes.



In the House of Lords on 7th September 1893

I AM quite sure I speak the feeling of everybody in this House when I say that we have heard the speech of the noble and illustrious Earl [Lord Selborne]— an effort remarkable at any age, but much more remarkable when we consider the advanced age at which he has arrived-with the greatest satisfaction. I do not deny that on this side of the House at anyrate that satisfaction is of a somewhat mingled kind. It has been our fate in the past to hear the noble and learned Earl speaking on the side of the House and on the side of the question which we ourselves espoused, but I can assure him that we take his rebukes patiently. They are not mingled with any of the venom of those which we sometimes receive, and we give him all the credit that we demand ourselves for conscientious opinion. The speech of the noble Earl, as I heard it, divided itself into two distinct parts. The last part was of a kind

with which all readers of history are familiar, in which the word "capitulation" frequently occurred, and from which the phrase "unknown and rash experiments" was not absent; exactly the type of speech, in fact, which has been made against every great reform of the century-Catholic Emancipation, the first Reform Bill, and the Repeal of the Corn Laws. The first part of the speech was of a more detailed character. I do not propose, and indeed I should not be competent, to follow the noble and learned Earl in that critical and legal examination of the Bill to which he subjected it with the arts of a great lawyer, the arts of a great Chancellor; but I hope he will not think me disrespectful if I say that that argument, elaborate and interesting as it was, only added to the unreality of the debate in which we have been taking part. He supplied in one of his closing sentences the reason why it is unnecessary to discuss the criticisms which he has submitted to your Lordships, because, he said, "you are not legislating for to-day or for to-morrow." He was right. We are legislating for this day six months. This is not a dissecting-room; it is the chamber of death itself. Somewhere in the passage, in that short lobby that leads from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, this Bill caught its death of some passing chill, and it is, if I may say so

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