Page images
PDF
EPUB

Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces. But let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayer of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. Woe unto the world because of offences; for it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh !” If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of these offences which in the providence of God must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern there any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Foadly do we hope,

ferventły do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.

1 Yet if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn by the sword, then, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said, that “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

With malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow and his orphans, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and a lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.

22-(2170)

BENJAMIN DISRAELI It is well known that Disraeli's first speech in the House of Commons was a complete failure, and that he had to make his way against every sort of prejudice. His powers of wit and sarcasm always gave liveliness and point to his attacks. He studied the art of amusing the House until he became the most accomplished master of ironic satire within its walls. Perhaps no English statesman has so entirely succeeded in overcoming so formidable an array of hostile prepossessions. He regarded political subjects from a point of view peculiarly his own, and he was therefore able to discuss them with a mental detachment quite unlike the ordinary standard of Parliament. He infused into the topics of every day an agreeable flavour of cynicism and paradox which recommended his opinions to some who would not have been otherwise attracted by them. Many of his doctrines or conclusions were rather suggested than propounded. He had the faculty of bringing the subject round to his side by a devious path which conducted his hearers where he wished to take them without letting them see where they were being taken. In this way he often achieved his object by methods which could not have stood the test of strictly logical analysis. His own principles could hardly be expressed in terms of British politics. They had a different origin, and a different history, from those of his rivals and contemporaries. He had a profound belief in race, and not much belief in anything else. But he was able to put his case with such ingenuity and artifice that mere argument could not dispose of it. The eminent statesmen whom he confronted did not attempt to encounter him with his own weapons. They were in earnest. They allowed him to amuse himself and the House of Commons at their expense, forgetting that he was all the time building up a

came.

reputation with the public for mysterious sources of insight and knowledge which could be used when the opportunity

His style of speaking was peculiar to himself. He dexterously avoided commonplaces, and so arranged the distribution of his subject that each point introduced some fresh phrase or idea. No man revelled more in the unexpected. It was his policy to approach his position from an unusual quarter, and to argue his own conclusion from the premises of others.

Disraeli, as an orator, had the art of retaining the attention of his audience without ever fatiguing it. He contrived to have the air of one on his way to the disclosure of a secret, and he seldom wholly disappointed expectation. He would drop in an apparently careless way some epigram or paradox which set people thinking, and kept them on the watch for what he would say next. His artful simplicity, his apparently unconscious knack of coining memorable catchwords, made him a formidable antagonist in debate, because it found him always ready with a verbal retort which suggested more than it said. It was not mere skill in words that raised him to such a high. rhetorical level. It was a combination of verbal dexterity with a power of analysing and employing the mental characteristics to which he appealed. He began by compelling attention, and it was not until he had carefully prepared the ground that he applied the instrument of his calculated irony. It was in this way that he cut himself adrift from the mere tactics of party, and at the same time made himself indispensable as the supreme master of Parliamentary maneuvre. His speeches are a model of ingenuity rather than eloquence, of subtlety rather than power, of the persuasive rather than the didactic element, of the delicacy which never seems to obtrude a formula, and yet never fails to suggest an inference. There have been few such accomplished wielders of irony or sarcasm, and yet it would be difficult to find in all his speeches an instance of strictly logical demonstration.

Berlin Treaty

House of Lords, July 18th, 1878 My Lords, Lin laying on the table of your lordships' House, as I am about to do, the protocols of the Congress of Berlin I have thought I should only be doing my duty to your lordships' House, to Parliament generally, and to the country, if I made some remarks on the policy which was supported by the representatives of Her Majesty at the Congress, and which

is embodied in the

treaty of Berlin and in the convention which was placed on your lordships' table during my absence.

My lords, you are aware that the treaty of San Stefano was looked on with much distrust and alarm by her Majesty's Government-that they believed it was calculated to bring about a state of affairs dangerous to European independence and injurious to the interests of the British Empire. Our impeachment of that policy is before your lordships and the country, and is contained in the circular of my noble friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in April last. [Our present contention is, that we can show that, by the changes and modifications which have been made in the treaty of San

Stefano by the Congress of Berlin and the Convention of.. Russia Constantinople, the menace to European independence has

been removed, and the threatened injury to the British Empire has been averted. Your lordships will recollect that by the treaty of San Stefano about one half of Turkey in EuropeJwas formed into a State called Bulgaria—a State consisting of upwards of 50,000 geographical square miles, and containing a population of 4,000,000, with harbours on either sea-both on the shores of the Euxine and of the Archipelago. That disposition of territory severed Constantinople and the limited district which was still spared to the possessors of that citysevered it from the provinces of Macedonia and Thrace by Bulgaria descending to the very shores of Ægean ;land, altogether, a State was formed, which, both from its natural resources and its peculiarly favourable geographical position, must necessarily have exercised a predominant influence over the political and commercial interests of that part of the world. The remaining portion of Turkey in Europe was reduced also to a considerable degree by affording what was called compensation to previous rebellious tributary principalities, which have now

become independent States so that the general result of the treaty of San Stefano was, that while it spared the authority of the Sultan so far as his capital and its immediate vicinity, it reduced him to a state of subjection to the Great Power which Russia had defeated his armies, and which was present at the gates of his capital. Accordingly, though it might be said that he still seemed to be invested with one of the highest functions of public duty-the protection and custody of the Straits-it was apparent that his authority in that respect could be exercised by him in deference only to the superior Power which had vanquished him, and to whom the proposed arrangements would have kept him in subjection.

My lords, in these matters the Congress of Berlin have made great changes. They have restored to the Sultan two-thirds of the territory which was to have formed the great Bulgarian State. They have restored to him upwards of 30,000 geographical square miles, and 2,500,000 of population—that territory being the richest in the Balkans, where most of the land is rich, and the population one of the wealthiest, most ingenious, and most loyal of his subjects. The frontiers of his State have been pushed forward from the mere environs of Salonica and Adrianople to the lines of the Balkans and Trajan's pass; the new principality, which was to exercise such an influence, and produce a revolution in the disposition of the territory and policy of that part of the globe, is now merely a State in the valley of the Danube, and both in its extent and its population is reduced to one-third of what was contemplated by the treaty of San Stefano. My lords, it has been said that while the Con- What gress of Berlin decided upon a policy so bold as that of declaring the range of the Balkans as the frontier what may now be

of , a frontier which, instead of being impregnable, is in some parts undefended, and is altogether one of an inadequate character.

My lords, it is very difficult to decide, so far as nature is concerned, whether any combination of circumstances can ever be brought about which would furnish what is called an impregnable frontier. Whether it be river, desert, or mountainous range, it will be found, in the long run, that the impregnability of a frontier must be supplied by the vital spirit of man; and that it is by the courage, discipline, patriotism and devotion of a population that impregnable frontiers can alone

« PreviousContinue »