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their view that it constitutes a violation of the Treaty of Berlin, unsanctioned by the Signatory Powers, that it tends to make future conventions of the kind difficult, if not impossible; and to cast doubt at least on those already concluded.'

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That was, no doubt, a verbal victory for Lord Rosebery, but since the Russians had their way was it worth while to achieve it? He had his joke, but they had his estate,' said Dryden of Rochester, and when one diplomatist scores the epigram and the other the political object in question the result is apt to remind one of the satirist's bon mot. Would it not have been better to have resisted the temptation to be cutting, and to have simply noted the violation of the treaty, pointing out at the same time clearly and firmly that in future protests against the infraction of treaties made by Russia would be regarded as of little or no value? That is, however, a difficult question. The fact remains that the Batoum despatch is cleverly written, and that Lord Rosebery had the good sense not to bluster or talk of warlike considerations. In regard to Egypt, it is the custom to praise Lord Rosebery's firmness, and we have no desire to dissent from this eulogium-at any rate when qualified by the consideration that, short of evacuation, there was no other policy possible for a man with a grain of common sense. The Cabinet were not prepared to evacuate Egypt, and therefore they were obliged to be firm. After Lord Rosebery's prompt telegrams and Lord Cromer's calmness and steadiness had suppressed the Khedive's fumbling attempt at a sort of half-hearted coup d'état, Lord Rosebery wrote a despatch, in which he put on record the principles on which we hold Egypt. This may fairly be claimed to be a statesmanlike document, and deserves more notice than it has received. It may almost be called a great State-paper. The following passage is well worthy of consideration, and puts the situation in Egypt clearly and well. After declaring that it would not be prudent to assume too positively that all prospect of future trouble is at an end, Lord Rosebery proceeds:

Should further difficulties arise it might be urged that the conditions of the British occupation will have changed, and it may be asked whether altered circumstances do not require a corresponding modification of policy, whether the occupation should be maintained in opposition, as it might seem, to the sentiment of important sections of the inhabitants, and whether it would not be better that it should cease. . .

'All these considerations point to the conclusion that for the present there is but one course to pursue that we must maintain the fabric of administration which has been constructed under our guidance, and

must continue the process of construction, without impatience, but without interruption, of an administrative and judicial system, which shall afford a reliable guarantee for the future welfare of Egypt.'

We have said enough to indicate our opinion of Lord Rosebery. It is evident that he is a man of rapid and versatile ability, that he is gifted with no ordinary powers of expression, and that he has mastered the tortuous arts of managing men and of making himself appear the universal solvent of party difficulties. But that is not enough to ensure him success as a great political leader. Has he the art of governing a Parliament and an Empire? an art infinitely more important than that in which we admit he has shown himself a master.

We have spoken of the new Chief of the Home Rule party. What is to be said of the new Ministry-what of its policy and its prospects? The first thing that must strike even the most casual observer of the situation is that the new Ministry is a patched Ministry. Mr. Gladstone's Administration may have been in many ways imperfect and inefficient, but at any rate it was a very ingenious piece of political mechanism. The pieces of the puzzle were skilfully and appropriately arranged, and were kept in place by the commanding personality of the Prime Minister. It was a Cabinet in which, if there was not mutual confidence, there was, at least, discipline. Each member knew that if he were to try conclusions with his Chief the matter could but end one way. A resignation would have been regarded as treason to Mr. Gladstone, and treason to Mr. Gladstone was treason to the party, so close was its identification with its leader. For all purposes of internal policy Ministers were Mr. Gladstone's Under-Secretaries. The present situation is very different. The wedge that held the Administration together has been withdrawn, and the Cabinet is little better than a fortuitous concourse of Ministerial atoms. Were Lord Rosebery a member of the House of Commons it is possible that his dexterity, his power of managing men, and his genial opportunism might in the end obtain for him a Parliamentary ascendency of the kind which is essential to a Prime Minister in times of stress and difficulty. 'know the nature of that Assembly,' said Lord Bolingbroke to Sir William Wyndham : 'how, like hounds, they grow fond of the hand that shows them prey.' Had Lord Rosebery been able to show the prey to his followers in the Commons and to cheer them on in the hunt his prospects would have been far less doubtful. As it is, he has to rely


upon the services of a lieutenant who, it is no secret, is not too friendly to the captain who has prevented him inscribing his name on what is, after all, the most glorious roll in recorded history-the roll of the Prime Ministers of England. We do not, of course, wish to attribute anything approaching treachery to Sir William Harcourt, but he would be more than human if he did not feel himself humiliated and aggrieved at being supplanted by a politician so much his junior in years and in official experience of affairs. When Lord Rosebery was a lad at Oxford Sir William Harcourt had already joined Mr. Gladstone's first Administration. Considering all the circumstances, who can pretend that there exists between Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt that mutual confidence and solidarity of feeling which it is one of the first maxims of our State-craft should exist between the Leader of the House of Commons and a Prime Minister in the Lords? Curiously enough no one has laid down the absolute necessity for this agreement more strongly than Lord Rosebery himself. In a passage in his Life of Pitt' it is thus that he deals with the question:

'It would be too much to maintain that all the members of a Cabinet should feel an implicit confidence in each other; humanity—least of all political humanity-could not stand so severe a test. But between a Prime Minister in the House of Lords and the Leader of the House of Commons such a confidence is indispensable. Responsibility rests so largely with the one, and articulation so greatly with the other, that unity of sentiment is the one necessary link that makes a relation, in any case difficult, in any way possible. The voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau may effect a successful imposture, but can hardly constitute a durable Administration.'

That is a view of the present situation more severe than we ourselves should have cared to express, but since the words are Lord Rosebery's we adopt them. No one can have the hardihood to declare that implicit confidence' exists between Lord Rosebery and Sir William Harcourt. But that being so, the Prime Minister can have no cause to complain if the best that can be said of the new Ministry is that it may effect a successful imposture,' but that more than that the voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau will be unable to accomplish.

How difficult is the process of keeping a Ministry of 'successful imposture' on its feet was proved in the very first week of the new Administration. In the Debate on the Address Mr. Labouchere contrived to put the Ministry in a

minority. No doubt the defeat was largely due to a surprise division, but it can hardly be pretended that the lack of 'implicit confidence' between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the House of Commons did not to some extent contribute to the adverse vote. Had Sir William Harcourt been possessed of that zeal and vigilance which only a complete understanding between a chief and his lieutenant inspire, it may be safely assumed that by some means or other the rebuff would have been avoided.

The chief problems which the Ministry will have to face in the near future are those connected with Ireland, with Disestablishment in Wales and Scotland, with the proposals for Parliamentary reform alluded to in the Queen's Speech, and with the agitation against the House of Lords, which is the damnosa hereditas left to the present Premier by his predecessor. In regard to Ireland, it was at first believed that Lord Rosebery was going to attempt to settle the Irish question on a national and non-party basis. Last year he told the House of Lords that it could only be settled by a general agreement between all parties in the State, and it was assumed that the new Premier would try to put his words into action. The Liberal Unionists, it was whispered, were to be attracted to Lord Rosebery by this prospect, and under his banner the Liberal party was to be once more united. Those, however, who argued thus forgot that the Irish Members number some eighty-one votes, and the Liberal Unionists only forty-nine, and that the gain of one set of votes must mean the loss of the other. No Minister ever gives up eighty-one votes to obtain forty-nine, and hence the notion of Lord Rosebery dropping Home Rule in order to get back the Liberal Unionists was a patent absurdity. But, though Lord Rosebery had no serious thoughts of dropping Home Rule, it is by no means unlikely that he was inclined, as far as possible, to favour the notion that, if the Liberal Unionists did not press him too hard, but displayed a more or less benevolent neutrality, he would not allow the Irish to dictate his policy, and might in the end succeed in pushing Home Rule out of the region of practical politics. Lord Rosebery, in fact, would have liked to execute what the Americans describe as a straddle' between Home Rule and the Union, just as in the London County Council, as we have noted above, he contrived to neutralize a great deal of the opposition from the Moderates by giving them the impression that he was really on their side. Fortunately, the leaders of the Unionist section of the Liberal party were

not to be deceived or amused by such tactics as these. They rejected the notion that a Government dependent on Nationalist votes could in reality be working to prevent the disintegration of the Empire; and Mr. Chamberlain, in his speech on the Address, refused to give any sort of countenance to the notion that a little encouragement from the Liberal Unionists might work wonders in the way of weaning the Gladstonian party from the extremer forms of the policy of Home Rule. How absolute is, in fact, the dependence of the new Administration on the support of the Anti-Parnellite and Parnellite factions was soon proved by the incidents connected with Lord Rosebery's first speech as Prime Minister in the House of Lords. In that speech he gave clear and unmistakable utterance to the sound and reasonable doctrine that the Act of Union declared the constitution of a partnership between the two islands, and that this partnership can only be dissolved by the assent of both parties to the original agreement-there must be, that is, an English majority in favour of Home Rule, not merely a bare majority in the United Kingdom. Lord Rosebery's actual words are worth putting on record. He stated that Lord Salisbury had 'made one remark on the subject of Irish Home Rule with 'which I confess myself in entire accord. He said that 'before Irish Home Rule is conceded by the Imperial Parliament, England, as the predominant member of the part'nership of the three kingdoms, will have to be convinced of its justice.' This may seem,' he continued, 'to be a con'siderable admission.' Most assuredly it was. Lord Rosebery had, however, gone a little too far in this attempt to damp the Unionists' powder by half conceding their case. The Irish rose in revolt and demanded the withdrawal of the odious principle which, when expressed by Unionists, had always been declared obnoxious and impertinent. Rosebery had to yield to the crack of the taskmaster's whip. The very next night Mr. Morley, on his chief's behalf, showed, or rather attempted to show, that no admission to the Unionist demand had been made, and a few days later Lord Rosebery himself explained away his own words, though hardly with the finished art of his immediate predecessor in office :


'What I said was that if we wanted to carry Home Rule we must carry conviction to the heart of England, and by those words I stand. They are a truism, they are a platitude in the sense in which I uttered them; but in the sense in which they have been interpreted they bear a meaning which I, as a Scotchman, should be the first to repudiate. Are we really to believe that in all the great measures

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