Imágenes de páginas

Now, we say that it becomes more the head is sore, and the heart is apparent every day that the aboli- sick, it is in vain that we would imtion of promotion by purchase is part health through the extremities. hardly desirable, and would not ef- In proof of what we have advanced, fect the improvement once expected let any man, at the present time, from it. That scheme will probably observe the manner of doing things, fall to the ground. But expend the and the time it takes to do them. same amount in clearing the army of Routine, or, as the officials call it, its worn-out members, you will then the course of office, does by no means certainly have a force whose officers account for the quantity of twaddle shall not be too old for their respec- and the unconscionable delay. We tive ranks. The difficulty arising admit-nay, we insist, that communifrom the course of nature will be cations and documents affecting difmet in the only effective and liberal ferent departments of the Govern. manner; and, having disposed of ment must be made known to each this, it will be your own fault if and every department concerned ; you allow controllable evils to im- but at the most five or six days pair the efficiency of Her Majesty's should suffice for this. What are forces.

we to say when we find papers, and Let us now say a few words simple ones, two and three months on on Routine, as responsible for the their travels through as many offices? shortcomings of the Civil depart- What we said when speaking of miments of the State. Here, as in the litary renovation we repeat here : case of the military force, we are reform the heads, and leave them to persuaded that the system was less deal with the members. But in the in fault than the public servants case of the army, age was the diffiwho were at the head of those de- culty to be disposed of. In the civil partments. Faults of system there departments are encountered evils of undoubtedly were, and many obso- a far more formidable stamp-evils lete forms ; but we contend that the which money can never cure. Destate of war was not a condition of lay in transacting business may be the country well chosen for making regarded as a symptom only of a a revolution in the different offices

. corroding and alarming disease. The Slow as they were before, the sudden affairs of the nation increase every change tended to paralyse them still day in magnitude, and they are conmore. That an increased stagnation ducted by men of whom it is no did not result is attributable to the slander to say that they allot their alterations having been cotempora- time, energy, and devotion in the neous with a decided expression of following order :-1st, To the acquiimpatience on the part of the public. sition and abuse of patronage for Ministers found it expedient to arouse themselves and their relations ; 2d, themselves. They began to work; To extending their political connecthey exerted their authority and made tion; 3d, To the advancement of others work. But the same means their party; and 4th (if a few mowould have produced the same re- ments remain after caring for the sult without just then disturbing the foregoing), To the despatch of the old system. The improvement was business of the country. If there is only temporary. The waxing indig. in all Britain a dullard who yet renation of the country acted on the quires proof of what we have asgreat officials like brandy on a sink- serted, we cite the whole national ing patient. It wrought them to a press for the last three years as evimomentary effort ; but when the dence thereof. Let the Times, with stimulus was withdrawn, the bad its myriad correspondents, suspicious, spirit, backed by seven others, en- discontented, desperate, furious, lead tered in, and the last state is worse the way into court. Not a village than the first. We have nothing to exists from Land's End to John o' say against making alterations in the Groat's which has not furnished its public departments, now that the oc- quota of testimony. If a verdict casion is suitable. The reform is consented to by the whole nation well as far as it goes; but it is be- can establish the charges against ginning at the wrong end. When Ministers, then are they guilty. We verily believe that no Briton exists unhealthy symptoms in the conduct who is satisfied that the resources of affairs. Every transgressor is sure, and the arms of the country were from long experience, that he plays wielded to the best advantage, or a winning game. However vicious her wishes fairly contended for, in may be his acts, he knows that a the late war. Instead of giving her temporary unpopularity is the worst whole attention to the posture of that he has to dread. A few months the enemy, she compelled to tabooing is the utmost retribution watch jealously the proceedings of inflicted for even moral depravity; her own suspected servants. Defi- and degradation or severe punishcient, however, as they were in mat- ment for the offender is now never ters affecting the national honour thought of. But a year and a half and the public weal, none ever ac- have elapsed since Lord John Russell cused one of them of neglecting to was chased from office for conduct use his power for the benefit of a the most disingenuous, and for imrelative or a protegé.

posture attempted on the Parliament Let us try to picture our old Cri- and the country. While we write, mean commander on a day of last the public journals are calmly disyear. Every hour teems with events cussing his return to office, and eleof warfare, and the wondrous wire, vation to the peerage. We nowhere like the prophet of old, reveals in the meet with such a remark as “ that city that which befalls in the far dis- the mental obliquity of this statesman tant camp. Our chief is zealous if disqualifies him for being intrusted not able; and his anxieties are in- with the direction of affairs." Exversely proportioned to his ability. posed as he has been, he is nevertheMessage after message speeds along less to be readmitted to office, the the momentous cord, carrying home nation recklessly taking the risk of ward tales of daring and glory, fail- his future misdeeds. We have ure and death-while back

return the found this plan signally fail with awful dicta which prescribe action offenders against the common law; or delay, and involve the fate of men and the admission of the ticket-ofand nations. A flush rises to the leave system (as a fair friend of ours commander's furrowed cheek as it is aptly termed it) into political life, announced to him that the brazen will, it may be safely predicted, prove head is about to speak, for he ex- a most unfortunate innovation. With pects a communication on which may good men it is always expedient to hang the fame and lives of himself keep alive a belief in the certainty of and the host. Quicker and quicker punishment for offences; but when beats his heart as the index, letter work is done with tools such as it is by letter, delivers up its charge. the pleasure of this country to emAt length the words are spelled, the ploy, the withdrawal of this belief is sentence is complete, and in the an invitation to betray us. The only trembling hand of the old man is restraining power over them is the placed the spirit-stirring legend, dread of chastisement. The ticket-ofREMEMBER DOWB."

leave routine we would therefore deIt might have been expected that nounce in the loudest terms. though there were no patriotism in It is thought a clever stratagem to the soul from which the miserable combine men of tarnished reputation command proceeded, there might at or suspected morality in Boards or such a time have flickered some tem- Committees where they may check porary enthusiasm, Alas, no ! such each other, and cannot commit a great spirits know but one desire. Or shame crime without consent of the whole might have forbid the exposure. He body. This method does, without has no shame. Or fear might have doubt, produce the favourable effects withheld the expression of the wish! ascribed to it. There is safety in a The wretched official was under no multitude of counsellors, and, if safety apprehension, and was justified in be the main consideration, if we his confidence. The British nation would hide our talent in a napkin frowned, shrugged, and FORGAVE. and bury it in the earth, then com

The certainty of impunity for great mittees are to be preferred. But political offences is one of the most England, we hope, expects, and has a right to expect, something more than mended to him by unimpeachable mere caution. The average opinion, testimonials. He insists on not only which is the best that can be expect the highest qualification in respect of ed from a committee, dilutes or ex- ability, but at the same time the cludes the perspicacity, the decision, strictest integrity, and an irreproachthe daring of genius. Therefore, á able moral character. He knows country that desires to be served in better than to commit his capital or the best manner must not only em- his professional reputation to persons ploy able men, but must leave those on whose uprightness he cannot enable men to a considerable degree tirely rely. The public, on the conunshackled. For a department to trary, proclaims that it is indifferent work well, its head must be largely about private character—and pays trusted. The public must observe the penalty of its indifference. him, but not vexatiously interfere Of the fallacies which mislead this with him ; and he must direct his our age, none is more deplorable than subordinates. But we have said that the doctrine that a man may possess in the present day Ministers do not two characters--one public, the other possess, and ought not to possess, the private. In the latter, he may be a confidence of the country. How then voluptuary, a scoffer, a deceiver, can they be intrusted with more dis- grasping, selfish, disloyal ; while in cretionary power!! The answer is, the former he is great, patriotic, and choose Ministers worthy to be trust- honest. He may be unfaithful in ed, and then delegate the powers. that which is little, yet scrupulously

We will for a moment refer to one of trusty in that which is great. Conthe favourite comparisons of writers sequently a bad reputation in private in the newspapers during the distress life is no bar to public advancement. of the nation, at the shameful mis- Complain that a statesman's moral use of its resources in 1854 and 1855. standard is low, or his life disreputIt was complained constantly, that able, and you will be laughed at for private speculators or companies can your objection. Yet, when the coralways obtain servants to carry out rupt tree brings forth corrupt fruit, their designs with skill and credit, the public thinks itself at liberty to while the public, with all appliances complain of its ill-fortune. Is the and means to boot a well-filled complaint just, О reader ? Would treasury, a crowd of competitors for you, in your small principality, set employment, and minor assistants over your larder or your wine cellar ad libitum-has continual reason to one of whose sobriety and honesty lament over the mismanagement of you are not well assured? Would its affairs. The merchant and the your grocer, think you, leave the key large contractor were cited perpetu- of the till with his idle apprentice ? ally as affording examples of the faci- A first-rate charioteer who drinks, lity with which great undertakings an incomparable valet who robbed can systematically and smoothly be his last employer, what chance have carried onward to successful results, they of getting places ? The truth so unlike the frequent abortions of is but too clear-we are fatally inGovernment enterprise. We would different to our greatest public inhere venture to hint that the analogy terests. While the consequences of between the public and the specula- our indifference are apparent, while tor is incomplete. Certes, duties we are actually suffering loss or dismight be performed for the nation grace, or smarting under failure, we with the same ability, integrity, and call heaven and earth to witness the success as for the merchant. But roguery and incapacity of our serdoes the public take the same pre- vants; but the grievance once past, cautions as he ? Observe his first we relapse into our torpor, till roused step in arranging his establishment. by a succeeding calamity. Now, as He selects with the utmost caution we before hinted, it is not while there those who are to be his clerks or his is urgent call for action in a departforemen. He promotes to those ment that it ought to be reformed. places none but such as have been The intervals of repose are the proproved under his own observation in per occasions for calmly and patiently minor offices—or as have come recom- searching defects, and applying remedies. For placing our depart- country has never insisted on having ments on a proper footing, now, and them. Far from resisting the will of not the heat of the war, is the right the nation, when expressed in that time.

unmistakable tone which shows it Let it not be said, as opposed to to be in earnest, our statesmen have these suggestions, that statesman- shown themselves, to a faulty extent, ship, like every other craft, requires supple and Protean. They mould a training, and that the departments themselves and their opinions to any of the State must be headed by men forms which the popular fancy for who have learned the arts of govern- the moment prescribes

. Let there be ment and diplomacy. We admit that a determined call for upright men, it should be so; but we will not in- and not only will the really virtuous sult our countrymen by conceding come to the front, but those will that the admission involves the con- assume virtues who have them not. tradiction of our design. We only Palmerston will bid for the favours stipulate that, in addition to, and of Britannia as Tribulation Spintext, before, other qualifications, irre- and Lord John, heedless of lithotomy proachable moral character shall be and naval tactics, will appear as a insisted on in our rulers. And miniature Saul, breathing out threatheaven forbid that it be true, that a enings, and denouncing the unredozen men of unimpeachable honesty, generate through his nose. Thought, and, at the same time, equal to the discussion, and combination, on the profoundest requirements of state- part of the nation are, we feel percraft, cannot be discovered among our suaded, all that are needed to effect immense population. The most re- this great object. The nation ascent invention—the Electric Tele- suredly has the power if it has but graph for instance, is no sooner dis- the will. That its decree is irresiscovered, than men are found suffi- tible, was made apparent when the ciently skilled and trustworthy to aforesaid Lord John made himself work it for the benefit of others. And obnoxious in the spring of 1855. why should government present a His colleagues, guilty as himself, had difficulty which is found in no other not the manliness to fall with him, science? Ior our own part, we or the power to rescue him ; his own would rather trust a conscientious particular supporters forsook him ; man, somewhat unpractised in his there was no appeal from the nacraft, than the cleverest knave that tional verdict, and over the side he ever handled red tape. But it is un- went, a Jonah for a sprat. Would necessary to consider the alternatives. that, instead of playing fast and loose Let the country but give the proper with him, the country had inflicted encouragement, and the proper call, condign punishment to avenge the and the men will be forthcoming. outrage attempted on its common

Let us not be told that our idea is sense and its morality! utopian; and that the attempt to We would fain have you mark, supersede practised rulers by sages kind reader, that when, in writing and saints, has ever demonstrated the foregoing, we have frequently the impotency, in practical life of used the terms “people," " nation," wisdom and piety. "We fully admit and “country," we are far from inthat your statesman should be a tending that blatant and unrighteous practical man, and man of the world. section of our countrymen which Of all classes of the community, we generally arrogates to itself those should expect that the higher and titles. Our remarks touch a subject wealthier is, for obvious reasons, the in which our whole population, from most likely to furnish the right inen. the illustrious lady on the throne to We maintain that we have required him that pasteth broadsides against nothing which is not analogous to a wall, are, and must be, interested. the requirement of all private under- We appeal to no class, no estate, no takings, and that the dispensing with profession. We perceive, as we think these qualities, not the insisting on and

hope, a dawn of unity and cothem, forms the anomaly. We have operation in the parts of our great not now the right men, because the body politic. Demagogues and im

postors have passed into that limbo lish tongue shall endure, every reader where

of it will acknowledge a debt to him. "-all who in vain things Every citizen may do something Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting (though, in many cases, but little) fame,"

for the age, and for posterity. They find their inevitable goal. The mighty who devote time and thought in any disenchanter WAR has torn the veil degree to public affairs, may profitfrom our eyes. He was a stern leech, ably consider whether or

not they but he has left us sane if debilitated, are working to any great end. The conscious if palpitating. God grant consciousness of want of weight is that from the nettle danger we may not a sufficient excuse for an indihave plucked the flower safety!

vidual's carelessness. Professor FaraSo far have we considered Řoutine day, in expounding the supposed mysas ordained by ourselves ; but, in tery of table-turning, asserted thăt, order to regard profitably this or any where many minds willed in concert, other of our established methods, it a muscular force, capable of generatis well to reflect on another Routine, ing and maintaining rotation, was not of our appointment, yet to which exerted, not only unknown tó, but we are inevitably subject. In the in spite of the experimenters. Who scene which Mirza beheld when


can doubt that this is true in moing on the valley of Bagdat, we are all, rals, and that the mere direction perforce, actors; to ourselves is left of honest opinion proceeding from only the choice, whether we will act many, though each be of small estiheedlessly, or with a purpose. The mation, may have an effect apparently Chinese sage described our passage magical ? To nations not less than in a few words,-" They were born, to individuals attaches the obligathey were miserable, they died.” tion to work for the present and sucAnd even our English translator of ceeding generations — to leave the nature hath writ

country to posterity better than they

found it. We must do Britons the “ To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-mo- justice to say that they have for a Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

century past manifested a disposition To the last syllable of recorded time,

to mend the age. But their zeal has And all our yesterdays have lighted fools not been according to knowledge. The way to dusty death.”

Having no just and well ascertained

aim themselves, they pinned their We know little of Tartar tempera- faith and gave their powers to ments; but of the immortal William schemers who had the assurance, the we are sure that, when he wrote as want of scruple, and the forensic above, he had on the previous even- ability to assume a leadership and ing forgotten his relation to all time, to promise inordinately; One after and abandoned himself to the allure- another the attempts have failed. ments of the hour, supping hearti- The leaders obtained notoriety, paly on over-fresh venison, and flush- tronage, riches; but, for the people, ing his inspired gullet with plentiful on whose shoulders the leaders were canaries. The sentiments quoted elevated, they had each time to enwere, we imagine, penned at early dure disappointment, and betake morn, under the influence of most themselves to another quack. The depressing megrim. An hour later, extent of the nation's patience was after a dip in the Avon, and a cup astonishing. Instead of becomirg of that excellent sherris, to which more wary, she became more reckhe has ascribed such invigorating pro- less after every failure. At length a perties, he expressed himself, without moral blindness seemed to smite her, doubt, in a more wholesome strain. and her last pitiable exhibition was None knew better than the said Wil- like Titania's—infatuated by an ass's liam that each man has something head on the trunk of a weaver ! appointed for him to do beyond strut- Absurdity could stretch no farther; ting and fretting his hour upon the things appeared to have reached their stage. He executed his own task in worst, and they mended. Hearty such sort, that, as long as our Eng- shame for that last indiscretion, not



« AnteriorContinuar »