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prosperity and social progress. With the exception of the small island of Labuan she owns not a foot of territory in any portion of the archipelago, but her influence is as great as if her guns commanded every native capital and her cruisers were seen in every sea.
The future importance of Borneo can scarcely be exaggerated. One of its states now presents an example of a well-governed and progressive community. The Rajah of Sarawak has achieved one of the greatest of triumphs. He has constituted out of the most unpromising elements a native state which exhibits a model of the policy to be adopted for gradually reclaiming a people from barbarism, and giving them the blessings of order and law. He has caused them to work out their own improvement under guidance of a superintending intelligence. The enterprise was as full of genius as of humanity. The influence of Sarawak upon the future civilisation of Borneo may be important. Borneo Proper is still steeped in utter barbarism, and no healthy progress can be reasonably expected in those portions of the country which are subject to the dominion of the Dutch. The impulse which will convert this vast island into an orderly and progressive country may be communicated from Sarawak; and its future importance may even bear some proportion to its enormous dimensions. But the permanent independence of Sarawak is, we fear, not so fully assured as the friends of
progress in the archipelago could desire. It is exposed to two dangers which loom not indistinctly in the distance. It may be the object of some violent outbreak of neighbouring Mahomedan fanaticism exasperated at the spectacle of a Christian Rajah governing a native state; or it may be endangered by the intrigues of a European power which has always regarded it with jealousy and makes no secret of desiring and looking forward to its subversion. Public opinion in England has been strongly expressed on the achievement of Sir James Brooke. He has publicly received the thanks of the commercial world, and one of the most esteemed honours that his Sovereign could bestow. It is impossible for England not to regard with favour and watch with interest so remarkable an application of her own principles of government in a territory which, a few years ago, was the seat of savage lawlessness and crime.* Public indignation would assuredly be strongly manifested if by any act of treachery or violence the integrity and independence of a country which had excited so strong and general an interest should be overthrown. Some interference could probably be demanded by opinion.
* The former practice of head-hunting has been completely abandoned.
The flag of Sarawak has, we believe, been recognised by Great Britain. We are far from thinking that as a rule protectorates are desirable arrangements or conducive to the true interests of a small community ; but in such a case as Sarawak, it might be plausibly contended that a protectorate could not entail any inconvenient obligations; and that it would constitute an effectual security against hostile designs, if any such exist, and put an end to all Mahomedan conspiracies and European machinations. It might also produce a salutary influence upon independent Borneo, and prepare the way for an extension of British influence in that direction, should the course of events ever justify or require it.
This great region may be hereafter one of the most important that is occupied by the dispersed and diversified human family, and no long period may elapse before islands upon which Providence has showered some of its choicest blessings will exhibit a far higher social and political development than they at present seem to promise ; Europe and America may hereafter even find rivals in countries which now occupy scarcely a moment of their thoughts; bays shaded by groves of palms may display forests of masts; and marbles hidden in the recesses of virgin woods and unexplored mountains may be wrought for the erection and adornment of temples and cities surpassing as much in their splendour any that have hitherto been erected in the archipelago as they will excel them in the religion to which they may be dedicated, and in the civilisation which they will represent.
ART. VII. - The Life of the Right Hon. William Pitt. By Earl
Stanhope. Vols. III. and IV. London, 1862.
volumes of this biography, and to commend their merits to our readers' notice. The two new volumes will not be found to fall behind their predecessors either in charm of style or in sterling value. Indeed their interest is greater, in that they have the advantage of dealing with a much more attractive period, and of dealing with it for the first time—since even the feeble and flickering light of Bishop Tomline's biography has not been thrown over the history of Pitt's later years. There is nothing, it is true, in our parliamentary history that can equal in interest the strange vicissitudes of the stormy contest in the midst of which Pitt rose to power. But after this opening, the first half
of his career is monotonous and tame. It required no small literary art to throw any charm over the tedious prosperity of the years that intervened between the American and the Revolutionary wars. But the period with which the volumes before us deal offers no such difficulty. The biographer is embarrassed with the press of interesting matter, and is obliged rather to guard himself from allowing the eventful history of the time to oust his hero from the prominence which belongs to him. And we should assign to these two volumes the superiority in value as well as in interest. It appears that Lord Stanhope owes to the kindness of Mr. William Dacres Adams, Pitt's private Secretary, who still survives, the communication of many interesting particulars and important manuscripts. The documents, therefore, which he prints for the first time are numerous and valuable ; perhaps more so, on the whole, than those which were contained in the two first volumes. The domestic element in the series of letters is naturally weaker. The Minister's life becomes more wholly identified with the history of his time, and his friends become more purely political. The correspondence with his mother almost entirely disappears. But, on the other hand, the Melville papers, and the correspondence with the King, yield documents of great historical value. The only episode—if we except the tragical death-scene—that is not of a public character, is the brief history of his short-lived, soon conquered attachment to Eleanor Eden, in 1796. The ground upon which he suppressed his avowed affection seems a strange one in a Prime Minister, who was also the possessor of the then lucrative sinecure of the Wardenship of the Cinque Ports. In a letter to her father, he apologises for the necessity of discontinuing his visits by expressing his regret that his circumstances do not permit him to presume to make her an offer of marriage. Lord Auckland would seem not to have been able to remove the obstacles to their union. So notorious were his embarrassments, and so overwhelming had they already become!
But it is very seldom that, even for so brief an interval as this, Pitt's biographer can travel out of the beaten political track. His life and his public career are almost coincident. The Parliamentary portion of his public life, which occupied almost the whole narrative in the two previous volumes, falls naturally into the background in these, especially at first. From the moment of the junction between the Government and the old Whigs to the year 1801, the course of Parliament was unvaried and uneventful. The ascendancy of the Minister was undisputed; the Opposition was entirely powerless and almost silenced; and Parliament met for little else than to register the Minister's decrees. It is not till the Catholic Question arises to disturb the even tenor
of his domination, that Parliamentary history acquires its usual interest, and the animation of party government is restored. So far as regards the latter half of Pitt's career, the interest of home politics centres almost exclusively upon the net-work of difficulties which arose out of the political necessity of Catholic Relief and the King's conscientious aversion to it.
Lord Stanhope has devoted a great deal of research to the strange complication of political manœuvres which caused the interregnum of_Addington, and so seriously hampered Pitt's closing days. The changes which in that brief time passed over the political scene are very curious. In the beginning of 1801 Lord Grenville was Pitt's attached colleague ; Mr. Addington was Speaker, by his nomination ; Mr. Fox was in bitter opposition both to Lord Grenville and Mr. Pitt. In the spring of 1804, Pitt, Fox, and Grenville were fighting side by side for the purpose of displacing Addington. In the autumn of 1806, Grenville, Fox, and Addington were fighting side by side against Pitt. And yet all this time there was no definite question of domestic, and scarcely of foreign, policy at issue ; and Fox, the only man among the four who can be fairly charged with want of principle, was the only man among the four whose course, for this interval at least, was thoroughly consistent.
Lord Stanhope certainly succeeds in removing from Pitt much of the blame that has been cast upon him. The difficulty under which Pitt laboured both in 1801 and 1804 was a difficulty which must be of perpetual occurrence in every constitutional State—the difficulty of marking the exact point at which the responsibility of the Sovereign ceases, and the responsibility of the Minister begins. In governments where the theory of responsibility has been worked out with greater care, and the attributes of each particular officer are more sharply defined, this difficulty never can arise. Mr. Seward carries out President Lincoln's views, and is not held to have disgraced himself if those views differ from his own. M. Walewski and M. de Persigny must have been made a score of times the instruments of a policy in which they could not coincide; but no one thinks the worse of them on that account. It is a well-understood fact that the Emperor in the one case, and the President in the other, bear the sole responsibility of the acts which are done in their name. But in England the case is very different. We have eased the descent from a monarchy that once was absolute to the indefinable balance of power under which we at present live, by the convenient help of constitutional fictions. Our theory, as it stands, is that the Sovereign exerts all the power of the executive, while his Minister bears all the responsibility. Of course in its literal sense this never has been true, and 'never can be. No
honourable man, scarcely any sane man, would accept the responsibility of all that another might think fit, without consulting him, to do. Ministers have always insisted, as a condition of their retaining office, that in the main the policy of the Sovereign shall be guided by their advice. But no Minister has ever yet succeeded in pushing this claim so far as to reduce the Sovereign to a mere cypher. Notorious cases have more than once arisenand doubtless there have been many more which have never come to light-in which the Sovereign has, as it were, turned to bay, and has adhered to his refusal to adopt some distasteful course in spite of the Minister's threats of resignation. I had rather go back to Germany,' was the common form in which Sovereigns of the House of Hanover were wont to announce to their Ministers that the limits of pliability had been reached. It is difficult, when matters have come to this
what a constitutional Minister ought to do. On the one hand, it seems hard to say that he is to remain in office, to bear the responsibility of a policy that is not his own, and to endure the reproaches of his enemies, perhaps of his former friends, for sacrificing his principles and his pledges to the fascinations of place and power. On the other hand, his resignation may involve the most serious dangers. The condition of the House of Commons, or of the Sovereign, or the state of affairs at home or abroad, may be such, that his continuance in office is the only mode of averting evils which may threaten the deepest interests, perhaps the very existence of the realm. Either alternative seems equally intolerable. Every Minister will decide the question more in accordance with his own feelings than in deference to any fixed rule of action. But the insoluble difficulties of the problem ought to be a bar to the condemnation of bystanders or historians. One Minister
may elect to be true to his pledges : another may elect to break them for his country's sake. But it is impossible to say with justice that one is more culpable than the other.
It is obvious that such difficulties must arise. Keen constitutionalists seem to have assumed that in all cases the King, somehow or other, must be made to give way. But Sovereigns are men, and have scruples and strong convictions like other men. For the sake of the public weal they renounce the freedom of speech and action which the meanest of their subjects enjoy. They bow their necks silently to a yoke which must often be galling to men of warm feelings and active minds. It is happy for England that, since the Revolution, her Sovereigns have been almost uniformly willing to offer what must frequently have been felt as a humiliating submission to views and wishes the most repugnant to their own. It would have scarcely been possible, considering the gravity of the subject-matters that have