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preservation of the peace of this country and of the world. There are two modes of contributing to the preservation of peace, both of which are essential to that object. The one is the mode in which you deal with the affairs and policy of foreign countries. The other is the amount of preparation to resist attack, from whatever quarter it may come. Now, with regard to the first question, my principle is this,—that it is the duty of the Government of this country, placed as it is geographically, to keep itself on terms of good-will with all surrounding nations, but not to entangle itself with any single or monopolising alliance with any one of them; not to interfere needlessly and vexatiously with the internal affairs of any foreign country; not to volunteer advice on their affairs taken from our own point of view, and not considering how different are the views and feelings of others, above all, it is the duty of the Government to abstain from menace if they do not intend to follow up that menace by action. I am told that we found fault with the noble earl opposite with regard to Denmark for not having taken a more active part in its favour. That was not the ground of our complaint. The ground of our complaint was that the noble earl held language which was not justified, except upon the supposition that he was going to act upon it; and when those with regard to whom he held that language relied upon his performance of the implied engagement, he felt himself compelled to withdraw from it. My lords, it would be the height of impertinence and impolicy if I were to attempt to say a single word upon the state of affairs on the continent of Europe. A bloody, short-I hope a short, but a bloody-war has prevailed for the last few weeks-a war in which the honour of this country is in no way involved, and in which the interests of this country are onlù remotely concerned ; and I consider it the duty of this country, whatever the sympathies of individuals with all or any of the powers may be, to maintain a strict and impartial neutrality between them. But when the slightest gleam of hope prevails that the neutral powers may be able to bring about a termination of the bloody struggle, then we ought to be prepared with our good offices and gladly co-operate with them, and use our influence for the purpose of staying the horrors of war; and I believe that our influence will not be the less effectual because it was not accompanied with menace, because it was not asked for, and because we sought no advantage for ourselves but the advantage of stopping the flow of blood and restoring the inestimable blessings of peace. Passing from Europe, I cannot but turn for a single instant the United States, to congratulate the world that the struggle which had for so many years desolated that country is over, and to express my earnest hope, whatever irritation our neutrality may have created there, that the restoration of peace, and the wise course which the President is taking for bringing back to the Union the vanquished members that had seceded from it, will have the effect of allaying any feelings of irritation which may have existed, and that nothing may occur to interrupt the maintenance of a friendly understanding between the two countries. It is also with no little gratification that I have observed the action of the Government of the United States with regard to the mischievous conspiracy called Fenianism. Although for a time considerable latitude of expression was allowed to that organization, yet no sooner was the law about to be violated than-I acknowledge it with the utmost gratitude-the most vigorous and decided measures were taken by the Government of the United States to preserve a friendly territory from being invaded by a band of marauders. In the Fenian organization there was a number of dupes held together by a few arrant impostors, who succeeded in drawing from them large sums of money for the furtherance of visionary schemes; and the movement was further supported by loose characters who had belonged to the United States army, ind who were ready to join any undertaking. I would not have mentioned them at all but for the purpose of do'n, jsilcelullie course taken by the United
States, and pointing out the gratification which we must all feel that an inroad upon Canadian territory has evoked one ananimous feeling of loyalty and enthusiasm throughout the whole of the provinces of North America towards the country with which they are allied, and one unwavering expression of allegiance to the Crown, and this too on the part of all the races that inhabit those provinces, and of all the peoples, of all shades of politics and religion. I think it is gratifying to find that an organization, however contemptible, has produced so unanimous a feeling, and I cannot but hope that it may have an important bearing upon the scheme which is calculated to promote the prosperity and well-being of Canada-I mean the confederation of the several provinces under a local government, and maintaining unbroken allegiance with the Crown; and I cannot but think that the raid which has been attempted may have the effect of giving an impetus to the scheme of confederation, and of leading it to a successful issue. Passing for a moment to the policy which the Government intend to pursue with regard to domestic affairs, I may say that I hold myself and colleagues unpledged upon Parliamentary Reform. Although not a stranger to danger, still I think I may be excused if I show an unwillingness to court it, and the more so if I consider the wise advice laid down by the noble earl opposite, who said that no Governinent was justified in bringing forward a Reform Bill without a fair prospect of carrying it; and the opinion expressed by the noble earl on the cross bench, that a Reform Bill could not be carried and the Constitution amended without a mutual understanding between the two great parties in the country. I have never been adverse to the principle of Parliamentary Reform. I joined, thirty-four years ago, the noble earl in carrying the first Reform Bill; and although, in 1858, I did not think it was a pressing question, yet I did not suppose there were not anomalies iu our Constitution, and that there were not persons who had a fair claim on the score of fitness to exercise the duty of electors, and certainly nothing could give greater security and strength than the admission of such persons. But, on the other hand, I am afraid that that portion of the community which was most clamorous for the passing of a Reform Bill would not be satisfied with any measure that could be concurred in by the two leading parties in the country; and I fear that any measure of a moderate character would not stop agitation, but be made the stepping-stone for further demands. I guard myself against any sapposition whether the present Government will or will not in a future session bring forward a Reform Bill. But I must be permitted to say that, unless there is a fair prospect of passing a Reform Bill, it is the greatest disadvantage that session after session should be wasted by constant contests over a Reform Bill, which only lead to the same barren results. There are various measures which have received consideration in the present session-measures not of a brilliant or imposing character, but still measures on which the welfare and prosperity of the country mainly depend. Nothing can be more important to the entire community than a good Bankruptcy Bill. The bill introduced by the noble and learned lord opposite—whom I am glad to see in his place—has not been received with entire satisfaction. That question shall receive the early and impartial consideration of the House. I cannot say that I entertain the hope that we shall be able to pass a bill during the present session, but it is one of those questions to which the attention of the new Government shall be early and earnestly given. There is another question affecting a large and helpless portion of the community. I mean the administration of the law relating to the poor, especially to the treatment of the poor in workhouses. The stories we hear through reports in the public newspapers are so revolting and so disgusting—they show so much misery and hardship devolving upon those who have no power to help themselves, that a Government would be blamable indeed that did not try to put an end to scenes so unutterably revolting. I venture to say that in dealing with the task of improving the law, or, what is more important, the administration of the law, I do not believe any man could be better qualified than the gentleman who has done me the favour of accepting the office of President of the Poor Law Board. A few words more with regard to the condition of Ireland. In England it will be my desire, in the course of policy pursued by her Majesty's Government, to enlist the sympathy and obtain the support of those members of the Liberal party who entertain views not very different from our own, and who, I hope, will not be deterred by previous party considerations from giving us independent support. In Ireland, unfortunately, the difficulties are greater than in England. There political animosity runs higher than in this country, divisions of party are more strongly marked, and, what is more important, religious differences blend with political differences, and tend to embitter the strife. Yet, my lords, I believe that a Government in Ireland determined to do its duty may hope to receive the support of a great portion of the Irish people, than whom there are none in the world more in favour of impartial justice. We desire to obtain the co-operation of those who wish to keep the peace of the country, to maintain property, and to put down illegal associations. Thus we desire to obtain the support of those too much neglected of late, namely, the different holders of property in Ireland : for, without saying too much, I might say that the Government of late years have trusted too much to information derived from the police, and have not made use of the local information and local support they might have received from proprietors in Ireland. With regard to that lamentable, and I am afraid wide-spread conspiracy called Fenianism, I am afraid that although the late Lord Lieutenant made most meritorious exertions, and succeeded in giving a considerable check to that conspiracy, yet I would I could believe that the snake was killed, and not only scotched. Nothing would give me greater satisfaction, disapproving as I do of exceptional legislation for Ireland, than to put an end to the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. But if in our consciences we do not believe that for the protection of well-disposed and honest men it is necessary to continue that exceptional legislation, I confidently trust that you will give us fair and generous support as readily as we gave it to you when you asked it. Apart from that exceptional legislation, I apprehend our duty to be, with firm hand, to put down all violation of the law ; the disturbances of party ; religious animosity ; to give impartial justice to all, without discrimination as to creed ; and to call to our councils all who will co-operate with us for the government of the country, and for the preservation of the public peace. I have ventured now to lay before you a summary view of the course the Government will endeavour to follow. By that course we hope to conciliate additional supporters ; and I do hope that the time may not be far distant when there may be such a new arrangement of parties as to place on the one side of those who are in favour of innovations and violations of the Constitution ; and on the other, all those who, while they will not resist legislative progress, are determined to adhere to those institutions under which that Constitution has flourished. In the attempt to conduct a Government I may succeed, and in that I shall gain the highest object of my ambition. I may fail ; and if I fail, I shall fail with the consciousness of having attempted to discharge my duty. And with earnest prayer, with the blessing of heaven, whatever combinations may be formed, my course shall be such as shall be consistent with steady progress, the strengthening of the institutions of the country, and the maintaining of that balance of the forces of monarchy, aristocracy, and a House of Commons not altogether democratic, who for many centuries have constituted our Legislature, and which has gradually led forward this country to a condition reflecting the greatest glory on the Ministry, and conferring the greatest amount of happiness and prosperity on the country.
“Golden volumes ! richest treasures !
Objects of delicious pleasures !
The literature of our country will always be one of the most interesting subjects which can engage our attention; and if we only think of what it really is, we shall at once understand and acknowledge its importance. In its widest acceptation it is everything that embodies thought, no matter how small in amount or deficient in quality it may be. Every scrap of written or printed matter, monumental inscriptions, old letters, and even old accountbooks and ledgers, are all parts of a country's literature as much as its books and newspapers ; and, indeed, everything that preserves anything that is to be remembered, that records anything that ever happened, or that can contain anything that ever emanated from the mind of man, are to be considered as forming a part of literature. But this definition is far too general, and embraces far too much. We must confine its meaning to books, including magazines, newspapers, and similar publications in that term. Even this, however, gives a wider area than what suggests itself to our minds when we speak of literature; and if we confine ourselves to English literature we must exclude a very large part of the publications of the present day, and embrace only the standard authors of the past. And what a wide and splendid field is yet included within these limits! We have the very cream of our literature; the thoughts of the mightiest and most powerful intellects in the world ; the writings of those intellectual giants who have appeared but once or twice in an age; the works of those men who have moulded the thoughts of the world, and indelibly stamped their names upon its history. We have poets who have sung of the most glorious themes the human mind can contemplate ; we have orators who have swayed the minds of vast multitudes, carrying their reasons and feelings captive, and moulding them as they wished; we have philosophers who have encompassed the widest possible range of thought, and handed down to us philosophies which have stood the test of ages, and can hardly be surpassed.
In one of his reflective poems Wordsworth beautifully expresses the affection with which we regard our books :
" Books, wo know,
Our pastime and our happiness will grow.” They are a great deal more to us than merely sheets of printed paper enclosed in covers of cloth or leather. They are our friends and most intimate acquaintances. We acquire an affection for them which no lapse of time can erase, and which is proof against the cares and annoyances of every-day life. They are our best and truest friends ; for they give us judicious advice in our perplexities, solace us in our troubles, furnish us with matter for thought in our graver moods, and minister to our amusement in our lighter ones. They never change with the seasons, or as the years pass by; they always tell us the same truths, are always ready at our call, and are as useful on the one day as the other. History tells us of the great events that have occurred in the world before we entered into it; of the circumstances that have built up some nations, and demolished others; of the influences that have moulded the characters of the people of different countries; and furnishes us with those facts and data upon which to ground our calculations, and establish the theory which guides our future movements. Biography reveals to us the inner life of men of which we would otherwise know nothing; places before us their thoughts and feelings; shows us how they attained to eminence; how they succeeded in their undertakings, and how we may,
go and do likewise.” Science tells us of the many wonders which her researches have brought to light; explains the workings of the material world around us ; chronicles the national progress in arts and manufactures; and contributes alike to our wealth and happiness, our comfort and recreation. Religion tells us all we can know about God, how we can honour and serve Him, and the only way in which we can secure the salvation of our immortal souls. Poetry, essays, novels, and the lighter departments of literature please and gratify us; refresh our minds when exhausted with severer studies ; and supply us with descriptions of the manners and customs, follies and amusements, of the people of bygone ages, which we cannot get from the histories of the period. What wonder, then, that we feel, and can truly say, —
That place that does
Converse with the old sages and philosophers ” ?