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futes himself, and no reliance can be then he was contradictory, senseless, placed upon his words!" We re- and unprincipled. Now that he has commend to these persons a little learned to be cautious, weighs his deeper study of character. Mr Dis- words, and anxiously tells his critics raeli is not exactly a fool, and the not to accuse him of saying what he political knavery with which his has not said, it is but another proof hostilecritics charge him is the knav. of insincerity, and it is wonderful ery of a simpleton.
that the Tory party can have faith in Let us add that the defect of speech a leader so slippery. It is not by to which we refer Mr Disraeli is such prejudiced judgments as these rapidly overcoming. It was never that we shall ever attain to a knowimportant enough to influence un- ledge of character. We might as prejudiced observers, who, in his well say at once that Mr Disraeli has sharp antitheses and brilliant epi- intimate relations with the Archgrams, found more than enough to fiend, and that his success in life is compensate for the absence of philo a continual miracle, which is only to sophical precision. But the Philis- be accounted for by the hypotines have come down upon him so thesis of a dreadful bargain concludoften for a word, that he has learned ed between him and the Tempter. to be cautions, and sometimes ex- This would be a far more simple and presses himself in the House of reasonable explanation of his posiCommons with painful hesitation. tion at the head of the great Tory We point now to a habit which he party than the stupid and malignant has latterly acquired of standing con. theory, that the party are so barren tinually on guard. When he is about of brains and so destitute of pride as to express an opinion, he is at great to be compelled in their desperation pains to call attention to the fact to submit to the dictation of a clever that he is not giving an opinion on but unprincipled jockey, who can some other question, that on this ride them to the winning-post-that other subject he reserves the state- is, into the pleasures of office--alment of his views, that on a third though he cannot teach them to be point he is not yet in a position to statesmen. Malignant theories are speak, and that on a fourth particular generally stupid, and blind hatred is he is equally unconfessed. So he goes as foolish as blind love, but not nearon sometimes through the whole ly so respectable. Instead of wildly speech, insisting in the most law- abusing Mr Disraeli, it would be well yer-like way on the fact that no one if his critics would first attempt to is to take him up for the expres- understand him. It is amusing to sion of an opinion on a collateral note how much he puzzles ordinary subject, with which, however im- observers, who, adopting his own portant it may be, he has for the phrase, learn to speak of him as the present nothing to do. Hostile critics
Asian Mystery.' Those who dislisten, and what do they say ? "Ah, like mysteries as not complimentary there you see the insincerity of thé to their pride of intellect, get rid of man! See how unwilling he is to this one in very summary fashion, commit himself to an opinion. He by at once pronouncing Mr Disraeli is playing a game. He is waiting to to be an impostor without the insee what his opponent will say, and cumbrance of principles. We admire then he will know what course to the superior wisdom of those philotake for himself-yes or no. A genu- sophers who quietly ignore the facts ine Englishman would be all frank- which they cannot explain, but we ness, and would blurtout his opinions, prefer to take a more vulgar view of ay or no, without regard to conse- Mr Disraeli's character. We do not quences. This man has no opinions expect to find the temper of a fanatic -no principles, and he won't admit in a man who has sifted questions anything that he is not compelled to with so much care as he has disadmit.” So they go on finding fault played, and who has seen cause to with whatever Mr Disraeli does. reject not a few of the opinions There was a time when he was too which, in the course of his prolonged communicative, spoke too freely, and researches, he had temporarily played
with, if not embraced. On a good moment Naples is threatened with number of questions we have no
dissolution, Venetia is waiting to be doubt that true wisdom and large released, Hungary is on the point of experience have taught him to cease rising, Austria lies prostrate, Russia from dogmatism ; but if we do not again discusses the Turkish quesexpect him to be a political fanatic, tion, Germany is disquieted, the anmost certainly, on the other hand, nexation of Belgium to France is he is not a political infidel. In these openly mooted; Spain has been tastdays of political scepticism and Lao- ing blood, and has patched up an dicean faith, the anxiety which he unsatisfactory peace; England prohas all through his life displayed to poses to spend in this year alone get at the truth of things—to escape £12,000,000 on land and sea forces, from shams and to seize realities-to and on fortifications; and France is penetrate through forms to the sub- building ships, forging cannon, and stance of events, and on every sub- organising troops, as if she were preject upon which he has to decide to paring for the whole world in arms. take the philosophical as well as the The gravity of the situation cannot practical view-is entirely to his be exaggerated, and we ask for credit, and places him in favourable leaders those who have faith in our contrast to not a few of our lead- institutions, and who represent the ing statesmen. If he has not been manly instincts of our country,-not uniformly successful in arriving those who would set class against at the right conclusion, the earnest- class, who would despoil the rich, ness of his endeavours ought to have who'would flatter the poor, who cry, saved him from the accusation of “Peace, peace, when there is no being indifferent to principles; and peace,” and not those who (albeit the peculiarity of that Orientalism their experience is great, and their which enters into his diction, giving individual tendencies are right) deit much of its charm, will mislead no pend for their support on the demacandid person, while it accounts for a gogues and dreamers that preach such good many apparent inconsistencies. folly. If Lord Palmerston's Govern
In the mean time, we may state that ment is to receive our support, it the great bulk of
the Tory party take must be as the exponent of Conservaa view of Mr Disraeli's character tive principles, and as the guardians somewhat different from that of his of the national honour. If submission too captious critics, that they are not to the views of Mr Bright, and to the unmindful of his services, and that fascination of Mr Gladstone's dreams, they are prepared to give him their be essential to the integrity of the cordial support. Now, indeed, if Cabinet, the sooner it is displaced the ever, the party ought to be united, better; and we conceive that there for all over Europe the clouds are would be not a few moderate Whigs gathering, and the storm seems ready willing to co-operate with the Tory to burst. It is impossible, in the tail party in supporting a Government of an article, to do more than glance strong in administrative ability, wise at the mighty issues which are at in its principles, and patriotic in its
, stake, when at one and the same aims.
Printed by William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh.
ACCORDING to the practice of Con- missioners' attention to certain localitinental nations, the Report of the ties, instead of calling on them for
“ Commissioners appointed to consider a general scheme to resist invasion. the Defences of the United King- But we may guess with tolerable dom" should be carefully locked up certainty that Government considered in the office of our Minister for War; it better to put forward this Report and the works they recommend, both (which is so far very useful) as a while in progress and when complet- feeler, and accustom the public to ed, should be jealously guarded from the subject. In no other way can we the inspection of strangers. Our account for their taking such care Government has acted wisely in put- of the pence, and letting the pound ting aside such prejudices, and boldly take care of itself. Government declaring what is considered neces- knew very well that, once they had sary to render our dockyards secure. directed serious attention to the subAn attempt at secresy would have ject, no other result could follow the been a mere pretence, while any publication of this Report than a foreigner can hire a boat at Ports- general outcry for a comprehensive mouth and cruise about Spithead scheme. There have been half-aroadstead, counting the tiers of guns dozen pamphlets on the defence of till sea-sickness compelled him to put our shores and metropolis, bearing, back. The subject can now be well or which might have borne, wellventilated by the daily and periodical known names. At least as many press, both at home and abroad, and others must have been drawn up oftiwe may get a few useful hints from cially, for the private information of the other side of the Channel-Fas the Inspector-General of Fortificaest ab hoste docere. We hope our allies tions, and military authorities. Let will pardon the expression. But it all of these be now put into the hands is a perfect misnomer to call this of a commission, who will make such a “ Report on the Defences of the further examination of individuals United Kingdom ;" it is a report and localities as they consider neceson the defences of the dockyards sary, and tell us plainly what we alone. “The defence of London,” say ought to do, and what we shall have the Commissioners, “has not been to pay. In such a delicate matter brought under our consideration." we see no objection to Ministers givWe are not told why Mr Sidney Her- ing us the reports by two instalments, bert's instructions confined the Com- provided they do not procrastinate
VOL LXXXVIII.-NO. DXXXVIII.
too long ; only we must decline to only as regards its capabilities for reciprocate—our instalments shall be building, repairing, and refitting, paid when we know what Mr Man- ships of war, and the vast amount of talini terms the “ demd total.” stores of every denomination collected
Although the Commissioners have there for the service of the fleet, but offered no suggestions for the defence also from its central position on the of London, they kindly inform us of south coast of England." Plymouth the dreadful calamities which its cap- is “the second great naval arsenal ture would involve. Lord Overstone and port for men-of-war in the Unitwas asked his opinion on the matter, ed Kingdom.” Pembroke is not a and a reply is published, in which he fitting-out yard, but its capabilities does not endeavour to soothe our ap- as a building-yard are greater than prehensions. If a timid capitalist or those of any other of our great nashipowner, therefore, dips into the val establishments." Chatham and pages of this Report, to see how the Sheerness are on the Medway, the Commissioners propose protecting his former a building-yard, the latter safe-room in Lombard Street, or mer- “ inferior in importance to the other chantmen at Blackwall, he will meet naval dockyards." Woolwich is imwith disappointment. Instead of an portant as "a building and steam antidote, he will only learn the viru- yard,” besides its enormous arsenal, lence of the poison.
But he may
whence all our artillery equipments comfort himself with Lord_Over- for land and sea service are supplied. stone's assurance, that if the French Deptford on the Thames, above Wooltake London, the Londoners will not wich, is a small building-yard, but fall alone. Provincial competitors large victualling establishment. Lastand correspondents must share their ly, Haulbowline, in Cork harbour, fate; and ruin, disaster, and national affords means of “refitting, coaling, degradation be the common lot of and provisioning the fleet.” The ComEnglishmen.
missioners observe that, “ without We shall first examine the Com- under-estimating the resources of the missioners' Report, and then offer Thames, the Mersey, the Clyde, and some further remarks on invasion other great centres of the commercial generally, especially as connected marine, we believe that the specialiwith the duties of volunteers. ties of the royal navy are such as to
We shall assume throughout that render it impossible for any or all of an invader of England must be a them to make up for the loss of any Frenchman. This should excite no of our dockyards." angry feelings ; it is paying them a The Commissioners direct their handsome compliment, and does not attention, in examining and reporting involve the converse that a French on each of the dockyards, to the seaman must be an invader of England. ward defences which are required France would be extremely angry if against a purely naval force ; and to we supposed any other nation dared the landward defences, which would plunge into an abyss on whose brink only be necessary in case of actual the great Napoleon paused. No one invasion. Between the two there is expects to see Don Cossacks prowling a vast difference. For an invasion about the banks of the Thames, or by land immense preparations must the Great Eastern bringing over Ge- be made. Infantry, cavalry, and arneral Harney with an American di- tillery must be embarked in France, vision on her return trip. French and disembarked in England-operaauthors write with such agreeable tions requiring the greatest nicety, candour of fighting a bataille heureuse liable to be thwarted by the weather in Surrey, and making a hop-skip- in spite of all the appliances of steam, and-jump to London afterwards, that and utterly impracticable if a supeit is only fair to say what welcome rior naval force was anywhere withthey shall receive.
in summons. But however great our The dockyards of the United King- naval superiority, our ships cannot dom, Pembroke excepted, are south at all times prevent an enemy from of the Thames and Bristol Channel. shelling our dockyards, if the dockThe principal is Portsmouth, "not yards look to the ships alone for
protection. If our Channel fleet was greater draught of water. They at Cork, or even at Plymouth, the should be divested of all qualities French admiral might get up steam that are not necessary for this kind in Cherbourg at midnight, and be of service, in order to reduce the exabreast of Portsmouth by daybreak. pense of building, and to prevent them It would be intolerable to allow him from being detached on other duties." four or five hours to shell the dock- Most of our readers would not yard before our fleet came up. The thank us for entering into the deCommissioners justly remark that tails of the Commissioners' proposals "to station permanently at each of regarding the landward defences. our dockyards and arsenals a naval Those who desire to study the subforce sufficient for its defence, and ject closely will find means of doing having no other object, would be in- so in the pages and maps of the Blueconsistent with the duties of a fleet, book. In support of our proposition, and would, in fact, be using the navy that the question of landward deto maintain the dockyards, instead fences requires a wider investigation, of the dockyards to maintain the which should fully embrace the infleet.” They recommend extensive quiry of how many troops the nation additions to the seaward defences of can furnish, we shall give some of our dockyards, for “in their pre- the answers made by Sir John Bursent state an enemy might, in the goyne, one of the very first soldiers temporary absence of our fleet, or in in Europe. the event of any contingency giving To render Portsmouth secure him command of the Channel, de- against a distant bombardment, stroy any of these establishments certain heights, called Portsdown without the necessity of landing upon Heights, must be occupied ; but the
; our shores.” The forts which it is position is very extensive--not less proposed to erect for the purpose of than seven miles. Sir J. Burgoyne guarding the entrances to our dock- objects to fortifying them, because yards, would be somewhat similar to be does not believe the requisite those which kept our fleet at bay garrison of 20,000 men would be before Cronstadt and Sebastopol, forthcoming :
“My objection to modified to suit the localities. The Portsdown is the vast extent of the Thames and Medway would both be place. I cannot see what chance further closed by a floating boom or you would have of ever finding a barrier moored across the river in garrison which would be equal to time of war. The Commissioners, covering such an extent of defences." for sundry good reasons, do not recommend the adoption of stationary
'Q. Do you not think that we might
always reckon upon having, in militia floating batteries under any circum
levies, dock brigades, and volunteers, a stances, but they describe a mov
force of 20,000 men in Portsmouth ? able floating battery, or steam-ship,
“ A. If you can do that, then my objec“ which they conceive would be
tion as to Portsdown Hill is removed ; highly efficient for defensive pur- but my fear would be of establishing poses. It may be described as a
works permanently, at a very considerpowerful iron - sided steam - vessel, able expense, and afterwards perhaps capable alike of maintaining a fixed being forced to abandon them from want position, or mancuvring in a general
of troops. I do not expect that you
would get a force of 20,000 men for engagement, mounting from twelve to twenty guns, having a speed of Portsmouth, because Portsmouth would
not be attacked unless a great invasion from eight to ten knots, and of as
took place. You would have the militia light a draught of water as is con
probably with your field army, as they sistent with other good qualities."
would be a very valuable force.” These vessels, intended exclusively for coasting purposes, would be "en- At Plymouth the proposed lines abled to avoid an attack of a su- are four miles long. Sir J. Burgoyne perior force by retreating into shoal says the position would be more adwater, to which the sea-going vessels vantageous (than Portsdown), owing of the enemy would be prevented to its smaller extent; "but there is from following them, owing to their another circumstance affecting PlyVOL LXXXVIII.-NO. DXXXVIII.