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gument which presumes it impossible for anybody to have done otherwise. I, on the contrary, throw the onus of the argument not on presumable tendencies of nature, but on the known facts of that morning's execution, as recorded by multitudes. What else, I demand, than mere weight of metal, absolute nobility of deportment, broke the vast line of battle then arrayed against her? What else but her meek, saintly demeanour, won from the enemies, that till now had believed her a witch, tears of rapturous admiration? "Ten thousand men," says M. Michelet himself, " ten thousand men wept ;" and of these ten thousand the majority were political enemies knitted together by cords of superstition. What else was it but her constancy, united with her angelic gentleness, that drove the fanatic English soldier -who had sworn to throw a faggot on her scaffold, as his tribute of abhorrence, that did so, that fulfilled his vow-suddenly to turn away a penitent for life, saying everywhere that he had seen a dove rising upon wings to heaven from the ashes where she had stood? What else drove the executioner to kneel at every shrine for pardon to his share in the tragedy? And, if all this were insufficient, then I cite the closing act of her life as valid on her behalf, were all other testimonies against her. The executioner had been directed to apply his torch from below. He did so. The fiery smoke rose upwards in billowing volumes. A Dominican monk was then standing almost at her side. Wrapt up in his sublime office, he saw not the danger, but still persisted in his prayers. Even then, when the last enemy was racing up the fiery stairs to seize her, even at that moment did this noblest of girls think only for him, the one friend that would not forsake her, and not for herself; bidding him with her last breath to care for his own preservation, but to leave her to God. That girl, whose latest breath ascended in this sublime expression of self-oblivion, did not utter the word recant either with her lips or in her heart. No; she did not, though one should rise from the dead to swear it.
festival, which man had denied to her languishing heart-that resurrection of spring-time, which the darkness of dungeons had intercepted from her, hungering after the glorious liberty of forests -were by God given back into her hands, as jewels that had been stolen from her by robbers. With those, perhaps (for the minutes of dreams can stretch into ages), was given back to her by God the bliss of childhood. By special privilege, for her might be created, in this farewell dream, a second childhood, innocent as the first; but not, like that, sad with the gloom of a fearful mission in the rear. This mission had now been fulfilled. The storm was weathered, the skirts even of that mighty storm were drawing off. The blood, that she was to reckon for, had been exacted; the tears, that she was to shed in secret, had been paid to the last. The hatred to herself in all eyes had been faced steadily, had been suffered, had been survived. And in her last fight upon the scaffold, she had triumphed gloriously; victoriously she had tasted the stings of death. For all except this comfort from her farewell dream, she had died-died amidst the tears of ten thousand enemies-died amidst the drums and trumpets of armies-died amidst peals redoubling upon peals, volleys upon volleys, from the saluting clarions of martyrs.
Bishop of Beauvais! because the guilt-burthened man is in dreams haunted and waylaid by the most frightful of his crimes, and because upon that fluctuating mirror-rising (like the mocking mirrors of mirage in Arabian deserts) from the fens of death-most of all are reflected the sweet countenances which the man has laid in ruins; therefore I know, Bishop, that you also, entering your final dream, saw Domrémy. That fountain, of which the witnesses spoke so much, showed itself to your eyes in pure morning dews; but neither dews, nor the holy dawn, could cleanse away the bright spots of innocent blood upon its surface. By the fountain, Bishop, you saw a woman seated, that hid her face. But as you draw near, the woman raises her wasted features. Would Domrémy know them again for the features of her child? Ah, but you know them, Bishop, well! Oh, mercy! what a groan was that which the servants, waiting outside the Bishop's dream at his bedside, heard from his labouring heart, as at this moment he turned away from the fountain and the woman, seeking rest in the forests afar off. Yet not so to escape the woman, whom once again he must behold before he dies. In the forests, to which he prays for pity, will he find a respite? What a tumult, what a gathering of feet is there! In glades, where only wild deer should run, armies and nations are assembling towering in the fluctuating crowd are phantoms that belong to departed hours. There The shepherd girl that had delivered France-is the great English prince, regent of France. she, from her dungeon, she, from her baiting at the stake, she, from her duel with fire-as she entered her last dream, saw Domrémy, saw the fountain of Domrémy, saw the pomp of forests in which her childhood had wandered. That Easter
Bishop of Beauvais ! thy victim died in fire upon a scaffold, thou upon a down bed. But for the departing minutes of life, both are oftentimes alike. At the farewell crisis, when the gates of death are opening, and flesh is resting from its struggles, oftentimes the tortured and the torturer have the same truce from carnal torment; both sink together into sleep; together both, sometimes, kindle into dreams. When the mortal mists were gathering fast upon you two, Bishop and Shepherd-girl-when the pavilions of life were closing up their shadowy curtains about you, let us try, through the gigantic glooms, to decipher the flying features of your separate visions.
There is my lord of Winchester, the princely cardinal, that died and made no sign. There is the Bishop of Beauvais, clinging to the shelter of thickets. What building is that which hands so rapid are raising? Is it a martyr's scaffold?
Will they burn the child o Domrémy a second | from me: all are silent." Is it, indeed, comẹ
time? No it is a tribunal that rises to the clouds; and two nations stand around it, waiting for a trial. Shall my lord of Beauvais sit again upon the judgment-seat, and again number the hours for the innocent? Ah! no he is the prisoner at the bar. Already all is waiting: the mighty audience is gathered, the Court is hurrying to their seats, the witnesses are arrayed, the trumpets are sounding, the judge is going to take his place. Oh! but this is sudden. My lord, have you no counsel? "Counsel I have none in heaven above, or on earth beneath, counsellor there is none now that would take a brief
to this? Alas! the time is short, the tumult is wondrous, the crowd stretches away into infinity, but yet I will search in it for somebody to take your brief: I know of somebody that will be your counsel. Who is this that cometh from Domrémy? Who is she that cometh in bloody coronation robes from Rheims? Who is she that cometh with blackened flesh from walking the furnaces of Rouen ? This is she, the shepherd girl, counsellor that had none for herself, whom I choose, Bishop, for yours. She it is, I engage, that shall take my lord's brief. She it is, Bishop, that would plead for you: yes Bishop, SHE-when Heaven and Earth are silent.
THE IMPERIAL PARLIAMENT AND IRELAND.
THE Session of Parliament, which has just closed, will, in the eyes of the future historian of Parliamentary progress in this country, stand out as one of the most remarkable in some of those features that chiefly distinguish the actings of a legislative body, which the prior half of the present century contains. Summoned to great deeds by the occurrence of a mighty and deplorable emergency; power entrusted to it which Parliaments seldom enjoy, by the effect of that calamity in stunning men, and therefore removing, for the moment, all the jealousies of party; professions abundant, and rhetoric to overflow, concerning the necessity that Ireland be re-organised; the aid at the commencement, of Ireland's huge popular Tribune, and the absence of all thought of any real obstruction from faction :-the termination is, nevertheless, only a heaping of nothing upon nothing; the avowed absence of an idea as to how the country connected with us can be relieved from its misery; the dispersion of eight millions of English money in feeding the Irish as paupers; and legislative provision that as soon as possible all the surplus revenue of that ill-fated country go down the same hopeless road.
It is not strange that this world contains disasters: it is rather strange how it survives at all. We should be offended if any rash man—any malicious Frenchman, for instance-proposed to doubt our high, and extensive, and exemplary civilisation; yet thus stands the fact to open our eyes to the truth that our course with Ireland has not been satisfactory, we needed the occurrence of a plague sweeping off nearly a fifth of the population; and after it did occur, we have used it simply to confiscate the disposable wealth of the country-that alone on which rests the practicability of sustaining institutions required to aid in the production and advancement of a better order of things. In resolving to treat the Irish peasantry as paupers, our social philosophy has exhausted itself; and very likely, in a few years, we shall turn round and abuse our too willing disciples for yielding to the seductions proposed to them as our only remedy for their ills.
At the beginning of the session, our legislators found Ireland wholly disorganised and almost in extremis. Something was immediately accomplished-they gave her food: in the work of benevolence England is ever true
to herself. But it was necessary to look beyond this instant pressure-to launch the country anew and cheer her as she leapt towards her new course. The air is scarcely still yet, that was set in motion by Lord John Russell's most brave words, and the shouts that hailed them. We were to have waste lands possessed and colonised; we were to have encumbered estates disencumbered and shifted from possession of the needy and ignorant into the hands of mighty capitalists, we were to have a peasantry no longer pressed by narrowness of room, and landlords freed from the distress of light purses; as a back ground only-a wall to save the destitute tumbling off into outer space-we were to have the POOR LAW. We have indeed got the poor law, but nothing else!
The matter, however, is too serious for treatment, only remotely bordering on levity; nay, in presence of the difficulties now before us, even the question of praise or blame shrinks into comparative insignificance; we are summoned too urgently to look to our common safety to have either leisure or disposition for indulging in profitless crimination. The state of affairs then seems simply as follows:-In respect of its social condition, Ireland is precisely as it was; not a step or even an approximation to one, has been taken for the removal of the causes of its misery and disorganisation: its society hangs as loosely as before, or rather it still consists of two parties so dependant on each other, that each is needed to work out the other's welfare, but which are yet towards each other as if in a state of civil war; we leave it in that as we found it, without one hope or ray of brightness in the sky of its future; and in this condition we have imposed on it a poor law. How often must our countrymen be warned on this subject, that they are trying a perfectly new and most perilous experiment. How often must that delusion be dispelled which considers the enactment of an Irish poor law merely the repetition or extension of a policy that has wrought beneficially for the society of Great Britain? Surely it is impossible for any practical end, to compare a law whose function it has been simply to care for and sustain those unfortunates, who, through a variety of causes, will ever and anon fall off from an organisation, even so perfect, compact, and comprehensive as that of England, and the previously unheard of attempt to organise a country of paupers, by legalising their right to appropriate the only, and by far too small, surplus wealth
in possession of Ireland! Know we not the difficulty of safely working that law even here-where there is no hostile combination, or aught to contend with, except the natural inclination of a recognised pauperism to extend itself? Across the channel, on the other hand, the claim for relief from the common fund will inevitably become a national demand; it will enter, henceforth, among the rights of the Celt, to be vindicated against the Saxon; and, judging from bygone experience, it seems one of the most certain events of the future, that the powerful and gigantic conspiracy will prevail.
fitnesses, and in virtue of those powers which are possessed by every community upon the earth. We require here no emigration-no interference with man as the organising element of that region, but simply the alteration of our social arrangements, so that each man shall have RIGHTS correlative with his DUTIES. In a former paper, the writer of this brief notice indicated when this fundamental principle of all order and progress was destroyed in Ireland, and how, by an unconscious tyranny, England had, up to these present times, hindered its being replaced. Like all other national or social catastrophes, the dark calamity which has latterly overtaken the Irish people would, if left to itself, have unquestionably worked out the reparation of the commonwealth. Let us shudder only, while we dread that unconscious tyranny may again be the result of English interference
that, while it benignly forbids confusion, it may forbid, likewise, through inveterate blindness, the removal of that by which the calamity was evolved! We are aware through how dense a mist even fair and impartial minds in this country are constrained, by their position, to reject any proposal touching apparently on landlord right, and having for its end the constitution of an independent peasant proprietary. The point in economic progress at which we have arrived is, in fact, through its very advancement, the bane of our dealings with Ireland. Having risen entirely above the remembrance even of a condition so imperfect, we regard the notion of legalising it in the light of a proposal to return to barbarism; but, nevertheless, that very condition, under its various modifications, is the existing economic state of all countries on the face of the earth, England excepted. It is we who really are in the abnormal or exceptional condition; and it is the heavy misfortune of Ireland that we insist upon comparing her with ourselves, of judging and governing her by our ideas, instead of seeking advice and example from the arrangement and mode of progress in societies of a corresponding age, and in similar phases of their development. It is a strong expression, but, we firmly believe, a true one, that the proposal of emigration as a cure of evils like those of Ireland, would, in any other country in the civilised world, be re
It is, indeed, a most fortunate change which has passed over the public opinion of England, in respect of her treatment of our sister Ireland—the growth, viz., of the conviction, that all previous Irish policy must be abandoned, as wholly useless; but, if success is now to attend us, we must reach also the further truth, that there is no good policy save one, viz., THE AROUSING OF THE INDEPENDENT ENERGIES OF THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND. It is already an anomaly-a spectacle to all the world, that a country so rich, and with inhabitants so apt in apprehension, and ready in action, does not sustain itself, or rather is, at this late age, ever hovering over the gulf of pauperism; but it were still a more astonishing event to find England announcing that for this state of things she can find no cure, that, although herself in the van of civilisation, she knows so little of the principles that regulate the progress and greatness of nations, that she cannot grope her way in dealing with a problem which, we venture to say, appears easy to all the world except herself. That there is no natural complexity in the caselooking at it in the abstract-might long ago have been pressed upon us by the little disguised wonder of foreign statesmen, that we cannot discern the truth. A very slight consideration, in fact, will show, that there are only two procedures open to us :-either we must alter the existing society in Ireland, so as to fit it for some known higher economic condition; or we must inquire what economic condition will permit the organisation and advancement of that society as it is? Now, the former plan demands extensive aid from emigration. The economic condition we naturally would desire for Ireland, is some similitude of our English one; and this is impossi-garded as indicative of fatuity. ble so long as the relative numbers of the different classes in Ireland remain as they are. A wholesale deportation of peasantry, until their numbers be reduced to what is needful as labourers for working the capital at present sunk, or which may be soon sunk, in Irish industry, is clearly the first step towards the realising of such a policy, so that we are at once met by the practical difficulties of an almost compulsory emigration, and the paramount necessity of organising the peasants in the colony to which they were sent even leaving out of sight that the plan is essentially a very humiliating admission of our ignorance how to use so much strength and capacity in evoking those benefits which the presence of man, in any region of our globe, ought to insure. If then we turn our eyes from this scheme to the only alternative, we recognise, at the outset, that we touch on a more natural plan; for no diffi-gressing and completed ruin of as fair an island as exists culty here menaces us, excepting the difficulty of adjust ing our laws and the general action of the state, that the community before us may unfold itself according to its
We have reached now the following position of affairs. The term CONFISCATION must no longer be flung in the face of a wild measure of reform, or used as a bugbear: it has become a REALITY; it is irresistibly proceeding. Landlords have, therefore, to choose-will they permit fixity of tenure-will they grant the peasantry a home, a real, and not a nominal footing in Ireland-or will they continue the poor law? In the former case there would be hope-in the latter there is none! In the course of the next few years the world will have to witness the reorganisation of a country through the operation of that vigorous Conservatism which arises from the feeling by a peasantry that their heritage is free, and their accumulations safe for their children-a Conservatism that as yet has never failed-or that direct alternative, the pro
in Europe, because its children had neither the virtue to trust nor the kindness to aid each other.
SIR ROBERT PEEL ON FREEDOM OF DISCRETION, &c.
THE ex-Premier has addressed to his constituency of Tamworth an explanatory pamphlet in reference to his conduct during this Parliament, from 1841 to 1847. The address has the appearance of being dictated by Polk rather than by Peel. It is long, and so much interlarded with figures, that the good voters of Tamworth will never read, and many of them, if they did read, would not comprehend the reasonings and statements, the facts and the figures, of their neighbour, friend, and most obedient servant. This recapitulation of things done is, however, addressed really to Great Britain and Ireland, nominally to Tamworth. It contains many points worthy of observation, and none more so than the demand which Peel makes on the confidence of his constituency when he asks "freedom of discretion." This is a new term in politics to designate an old practice. We admit it to be an honest term. It fairly describes the privilege requisite for slippery statesmen. It is a pledge. Sir Robert Peel pledges himself to "freedom of discretion." It is the very pledge, signed, and sealed, and sworn to by the unjust judge, spoken of in Scripture, who, because he neither feared God nor regarded man, enjoyed, to an eminent degree, "the freedom of discretion." This unjust judge was not, indeed, the inventor of the principle. That Egyptian Pharoah, who could no more be bound with promises than Sampson with withes, and who was only subdued by the plague of death, practised "freedom of discretion" with great zeal and satisfaction. Some readers have considered the phrase to be of the same significance with the Duke of Newcastle's claim "to do what he liked with his own." There is that difference in the two expressions which exists between "a man's own" and "a man's neighbour's own." "Freedom of discretion," used in an address from a candidate to a constituency, implies leave to do what the candidate pleases with the political influence, property, and liberties, of the electors upon whom his designs are entertained.
This freedom of discretion is the most serviceable condition on which a candidate can take his seat in Parliament. It is the widest possible commission. It leaves him open to act as he may deem most advisable, in whatever circumstances may arise. Sir Robert Peel has been styled the Minister of expediency, and the title is not misapplied. He was not the Minister of party-and he could not have been styled the Minister of principle. His own language furnishes, probably, the best definition of his position. He is the politician of discretion. In the management of his Staffordshire estate-in conducting his transactions in bonds or investments—in the purchase and distribution of paintings and sculpture-in everything that relates to his houses and home, to his accounts and accumulations, to his shares and his bank book, to his broker and his Mr. Lloyd Jones-Sir Robert Peel is entitled to perfect free
dom of discretion; but in the name and on account of his constituency of Tamworth, and especially in that of the still larger constituency of Great Britain and Ireland, whom he also seeks to represent, and in whom we confess to a deeper interest than in the electors of his borough, we protest against the claim of perfect liberty made by this discreet gentleman.
The opinion is yearly becoming more fashionable amongst our Parliamentary representatives, from the head to the extremities of parties, that they are to be regarded as independent gentlemen, who are to act and vote as they deem right and fitting. The great majority of their number protest against pledges, and talk of the dignity of their position, assuming a consequence that is quite unnecessary and untenable on their part. The ex-Premier has embodied the claim in a new maxim. He has reduced the rounded sentences of more diffuse and less skilful orators to an essence, and expressed it in a convenient form. He has done for various dark and unintelligible phrases and paragraphs what certain dealers in pickles and preserves profess to do for one pound of rump steak-he has compressed them into the bulk and weight of a single lozenge, capable of preserving life. One worthy tradesman, some years ago, advertised assiduously Sir Robert Peel's sauce; another in a gentler line of business offered to sell, if we remember rightly, Sir Robert Peel's syrup, which was said to be a perfect blessing to those mothers who nursed their own babies. The sauce, which was principally useful to sportsmen, fell out of repute in late years, and has not been much advertised, and we fear that the syrup was found not to answer its purposes; but here is a lozenge that will be taken warmly by gentlemen who combine, in one person, the somewhat adverse characters of legislator and sportsman, and who finding it inconvenient to prepare at once both for the moors and the hustings, can instruct their agents to purchase for them such and such a borough or constituency, with a supply of Peel's "freedom of discretion," and save the annoyances of speeches, and canvassing, and pledging.
There is, however, a serious constitutional question involved in this demand. A gentleman invested with freedom of discretion ceases to be & representative. Our idea of representation is, when one man expresses the convictions and feelings of another man, or of many men. The representative of a commercial house is generally understood to be in the confidence of his superiors; but he does not exercise "freedom of discretion" unless on emergencies that may arise without being foreseen, and on which he must act without the opportunity of consulting those whom he represents. Commercial houses have, indeed, another and probably a very common class of representatives in their partners; but they do not exercise freedom of discretion. They act for
themselves and for others.
A man, acting for himself alone, may enjoy this freedom; but whenever he begins to act for another, or conjoins the interests of another in his actings, then his "perfect liberty" is abridged. There is no doubt that the representatives of the people are largely interested in the prosperity of the country. They may hold many shares in the concern; but it does not, in any way, follow that they are to be invested with freedom of discretion. We concede freely that circumstances arise on which they must depend on their own sagacity and information. Therefore a constituency may act properly in not always selecting a candidate who fully agrees with the views of the majority, but who may be deficient in that practical wisdom and information which is eminently desirable. Still a body of electors must not divest themselves of their privilege to weigh and consider measures for themselves; and to select men to express their views on all cognate questions, who coincide with, and are prepared to enforce, the opinions of their constituencies. We regard the House of Commons as the assemblage of the people through their representatives; but the people cannot be regarded as in any way assembled there if these gentlemen are to be invested with freedom of discretion. The Commons, we believe, to be merely a convenient scheme for bringing together those who are physically prevented from meeting in their own persons. Therefore we hold the very essence and spirit of that House to be strangled in the demand which Sir Robert Peel puts boldly for himself and for others, and which others put more cautiously and timidly for themselves.
delegates, who have only to vote, without reasoning. This objection is, however, inconsistent with the real state of the case. Our theory agrees mostremarkably with facts. The House of Commons is not merely a ministerial, but also a deliberative body. We understand that the genius and experience of the nation-the flower of genius-and the ripeness of experience, should be gathered together there, to act in accordance with the previous decisions of the people, and to guide them in their future deliberations. It is not our fault, nor should it be charged on our theory, that the richest genius and the ripest experience are often excluded to make place for wealthy dotage, for aristocratic juvenility, or even for unmarked and well-intending mediocrity. That circumstance rises from the indisposition of the electors to guard their own interests; and we are only desirous to save them from pursuing further a wrong course.
The debates of the Legislature are principally useful in laying before the nation the arguments in reference to different questions-in preparing some minds for changes, and reconciling others to their advent. There is one section of the Legislature whose members enjoy perfect freedom of discretion, but it is not the House of Commons. Sir Robert Peel's claim can be admitted when her Majesty is pleased to consign him to the tomb of ambition. Whenever he is elevated to the Peerage, he will have full freedom of discretion; but until that time, he should be content with that more limited freedom which constitutionally belongs to the members of the more influential body.
The request, to which we have referred, is the most important thing in Sir Robert Peel's pamphlet. Like many other second thoughts, it comes too late to save his credit with his old party. It was just the thing for 1841; and if it had been standing alone then, unflanked by modifications, and considerations, and understandings, there would have been no chance for Mr.D'Israeli now in Buckinghamshire. Mr. D'Israeli is a great man now, because the member for Tamworth omitted to put freedom of discretion in a right position in his address of 1841. We consider the recent reputation of the Arab politician to be founded in ruins. He is the phoenix of Conservatism-— springing out from his predecessor's ashes. But, in 1847, the caution is not wanted. It is the hasp and padlock on the stable-door when the steed is stolen. It resembles the worn-out patience of a man, who, wearied and worried with perpetual depredations, nails to his orchard wall a board with the announcement, terrible to all urchins, "traps and spring-guns set in these grounds-trespassers will be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law," when his jargonelles have all unaccountably disappeared, and there remains not a single "non-such," or "heart'sdelight," when only half a dozen cherries, so high that the wasps or the sparrows alone could safely steal them, are left to look down upon those "memories of the past"-the withered and the
The objections taken to this view of representation are not, in our opinion, of great moment. The public business of the House of Commons is generally the subject of long and earnest discussion before it is settled there. The health of towns had been the subject of reports and pamphlets and sanatory schemes before Viscount Morpeth or his predecessors introduced their bills to be abandoned. The corn laws had been discussed interminably in every parish, hamlet, and city of the Empire, before the ex-Premier's conversion. Speeches in the Houses of Legislature are not, though addressed to the Speaker, intended so much to sway the company as to affect the country. They are spoken in-of-doors with a view to out-of-door consequences. The orators always have an eye to the reporters, and an intention upon the daily press. Invariably we find questions are ripened for legislation in the workshops, on the exchanges, and in the press of the provinces. They are then introduced into the metropolitan circles, are talked of in the clubs, are discussed in the coffee-houses, and kept before the world by the daily press; until, after several defeats in Parliament, they finally are successful. We have a firm conviction that the majority of exceptions to this rule are miserable jobs. It may be said, of course, that this theory destroys the dignity of the Legislature as a deliberative As-withering leaves. sembly, and reduces it to the status of a meeting of Sir Robert Peel does not require to tell his former