« ПретходнаНастави »
former Governors-General—as cowardly and cruel in its nature, and as an assertion merely of the power of the strongest. Never, perhaps, was a debate conducted with greater spirit, or the antagonistic ideas and principles which underlie all such discussions more fully and decidedly brought out. Mr. Whitbread's amendment on the report on the Address in reply to Her Majesty's Speech was, of course, a vole of censure on the Government. Although not originating with the leaders of the Opposition, it was supported by the Marquis of Hartington and the almost unbroken strength of the Liberal party, including also one or two Conservatives. It was, therefore, a fair trial of strength between the two great parties in the Commons' House, as was also, in relation to the Upper Chamber, the debate and division in the Lords, where Earl Granville joined issue with the Cabinet upon a question substantially the same. The majority in the Upper House of 165, and in the Lower of 101, is decisive of the agreement of the Legislature with the Executive Government, and endorses, for the time, the entire scope and objects in relation to the Eastern policy of Her Majesty's advisers. There were, however, two great debates; and as the first turned upon the right or wrong of the policy of Lord Beaconsfield—the justice or injustice of the war-so the second hinged upon a question scarcely less important, upon which country, England or India, should the expenses of the war be charged. The Ministry contended that, notwithstanding the generally depressed state of Indian finance, there was a surplus, for the present year, in the cash balances of the Indian exchequer, and that upon this the expenses of the Afghan expedition might, for convenience' sake, be temporarily charged ; leaving it to the future to determine (when the cost and results of the war should be definitely known) what proportion of the total cost should be defrayed from Indian, and what from English finances. Mr. Fawcett's amendment, on the contrary, urged, in effect, that as the war was undertaken by the Imperial Government, and in pursuance of an “ Imperial” policy, its cost should be borne by the British people, who had placed the present Ministry in power—more especially as the Indian people were already heavily taxed; the Indian surplus was but temporary, and that surplus had already been, by anticipation, set apart to constitute a Famine Prevention Fund. On this point the majority for the Government was 110, being nine more than the majority on the question of the war itself. The question is thus for the present disposed of; and when Parliament meets in February, other topics will probably take precedence and come for decision to the front. Of the two debates, the first was doubtless the most noteworthy—the most conspicuous for force and fire. It would doubtless have been more satisfactory to the peace-loving portion of the nation to those who believe that wars of aggression are altogether unjustifiable, and that the sword of Great Britain should never be unsheathed save in a case of paramount necessity, or in a cause which is manifestly one of righteousness and truth—had the Government been able, on this point, to make out a clearer and a stronger case. They cannot but regret that Parliament was not earlier consulted on the matter; for although it is doubtless true that the Crown has the power, by the Constitution, to declare peace and levy war without first taking counsel with the people's representatives, it is also true that when this prerogative is pushed to its extreme limit, the control of the latter over the public expenditure becomes little more than nominal. Though Parliament should even condemn a war in toto, it is difficult, if not impossible, for it to refuse supplies, when once that war has been begun.
There has been much controversy of late on two points—both of indubitable importance-the one, the probability or otherwise of an early dissolution; the other, the question whether the administration of Lord Beaconsfield has impaired the
The News of the Churches.
A MONTHLY RECORD OF THE TRANSACTIONS OF THE
WHERETO WE HAVE ALREADY ATTAINED, LET US WALK BYTHE SAME RULE, LET US WIND THE SAME TIXO."-PBIL. III. 16.
"UBI AGNOVIMUS CHRISTUM, IBI AONOVIMUS ET ECCLESIAN."-ACOUSTIXE.
VOL. XXXIII.-NEW SERIES: VOLUME XX.
EDINBURGH : JOHN MENZIES.