Page images

be blown to atoms he will, at least, be certain never again to light his pipe in such a foolish place."

A difficulty which some may urge against my plan with regard to all new societies, will be the definition of "actuarial certification." "Shall we be at the mercy," it will be said, "of any National schoolmaster or grocer's apprentice who can draw out a balance sheet for a skilled actuarial appreciation, not merely of our assets and expenditure, but of our expectations and probabilities? or must we all be compelled to submit our calculations, and in so doing our financial character, to the judgment of some irresponsible Government official ?" A year or two ago there would have been much force in the objections which such questions must suggest. There was no clear legal definition which answered the inquiry, "What is an actuary?" Happily, however, the prospect of the immediate granting of a Royal Charter to the Institute of Actuaries, and thus providing full nition for a body competent to fix the qualification and give the definition needed, will place us in a position, not only to state what an actuary is, but to be confident that work done by the qualified members of the Institute may be recognised as placing the fullest benefits of the highest actuarial science at the service of our working men, for certification of their societies, and security to their savings.



Lastly, let us see who are the men who will object to this proposed safeguarding of future societies only. Let us ask, what class of men is most directly interested in opposing any check being placed upon the plunderer of poor men's providence? The answer is perfectly obvious; it is the rogues who live by the plunder. Nothing is easier than for the officials of rotten and fraudulent societies to get up a nobly indignant cry of "Leave the working man alone to make his own provision," which, if men would only examine the position of those who first raise it, may be simply translated into common-sense English to signify, "Leave us alone to rob the working man!" These are the people who flatter and fool the simple-minded membership of all Friendly Societies (good ones, unfortunately, as well as bad ones), and lash their passions up into foolishly echoing this non-interference cry. More than this, these are the men also, unfortunately, whose opinions on these subjects are most sedulously sought by gentlemen who wish to pose cheaply as friends of the British working man, without taking the least earnest trouble to understand the questions, vital to his peace and independence, with which they so hastily intermeddle; these are the men who, for their own interest, rock the cradle of the working man's delusion by teaching him to believe his rotten society (whose affairs he himself is quite incapable of understanding) absolutely guaranteed and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

secured by the fact that a Government official registers their society, and that a squire, or a parson, or a parliament man sits down with the lodge at the annual dinner, pays his sovereign, is initiated as an "honorary member," and makes a flattering speech afterwards to his new "brethren" whom his easy, thoughtless patronage may be helping to destroy. I declare my solemn conviction that interested or ignorant managers of bad societies, so far from being constantly appealed to for skilled opinion on sick benefit topics, should never be heard at all until we invite the pickpockets to frame rules for the policeman, and ask their permission to draught our laws against larceny. For what can, for instance, be more unreasonable or absurd than to take the thief as a qualified representative of the honest citizen, and ask his counsel as to the best way of drawing fish into his net? Instead of our silly habit of accepting what any violent haranguer chooses to say, because he is the official of a Friendly Society, we should make that the very reason for suspecting and rejecting his evidence till he tells us the true financial position of the society he represents, and shows its Valuation Balance Sheet. The mere demand will, in most cases, effectually put him to silence.

With this short method of dealing with the rogues, and the courage to apply it, I hold that we shall soon eliminate from the discussion the clamour of these interested objectors. Are there any others? I grieve to say there are-worthy men, many of them, proud of their own organizations, but, by long custom trained, almost like parrots, to echo the cry which the interested officials are continually raising. But these mistaken men may be otherwise dealt with, for they are open to reason, and have a sense of justice. To such an one we may say, The law does not propose to touch your society at all; now will you give a careful answer to these few questions: 1. Do you think it right or wrong that poor men's providence for the future shall be protected from ignorant promoters? 2. If right, do you think they should also be protected from robbers? 3. Admitting this, what reason have you for opposing an enactment that will not injure you, and will give protection, not now available, to generations to come of thrifty, hard-working fellowmen? To these questions there can be but one class of answer. The honest managers of good Friendly Societies are doing their own organizations and their own class incalculable injury by unconsciously upholding the very points in the system that injure the independent-minded working man, and feed fat the villainy of his multitudinous plunderers. I trust they only need to be shown their error plainly to cast it away for ever, and rally to the side of simple truth, honesty, and fair dealing, to the infinite advantage of themselves, their fellows, and their Sick Benefit Societies.



As I have received several letters which throw a new light upon various aspects of Mr. Hayward's career and character-supplementing deficiencies or correcting misapprehensions in the article which appeared last month-it has occurred to me that it may be interesting to give certain extracts from the correspondence, the authors of which, though in each instance they speak with exceptional knowledge, have requested me not to publish their names.


1. With respect to Hayward's exposure of Disraeli's plagiarism from Thiers, let me say that, though Hayward himself keenly helped in the search, and was pitiless in forcing the world to know of the act committed by a man who then led the House of Commons, John Blackett-the gifted John Blackett, long since taken away from us, but then (he was Member for Newcastle) so radiant with life and with fire was the really successful detective.

2. You speak of Hayward's gaining ascendency by "frowns and reprimands," but I would rather say that he enforced his conclusions by angry, persistent argument, by appealing to proof, and in short-to speak plainly-by not letting people have peace, until at last they knocked under, and feebly said he was right.

3. You have rightly said that at one time Hayward's means were very slender; but, although never making him rich, the accession of the Halberton Court Estate wrought a very great change for the better; and thenceforth apparently he never had to deny himself or to deny his beloved sister any comforts or amusements for which he or she really cared.

4. You say that Hayward "took silk," as though indicating the customary elevation of a successful lawyer; but the actual truth is that by venturing to make him Queen's Counsel on the ground of his high qualifications and great abilities, Lord Lyndhurst brought down on his friend that series of storms that kept him for many a year in an angrily fighting state. The custom had been to assume that the amount of professional "practice" already attained by a barrister was the test of his ripeness for the dignity of Queen's Counsel; and (except in favour of those who had become members of Parliament) the rule, if so one may call it, had not of late years been relaxed. Now, Hayward having neither much practice, nor a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

seat in Parliament, the step that Lord Lyndhurst took was an innovation-an innovation which many will say was right and wholesome enough, but still it was one that disturbed the whole ant-hill of lawyers; and, if you had looked with a microscope, you would have seen that each little entity was in a bustle of wrath against Hayward. His fight with the "benchers" (he had to explain in society, and say, “who the devil they were") is quite rightly described in your article, but this was only the first of the endless conflicts and troubles which Hayward brought down on himself by what you smoothly call "taking silk."

5. With respect to Lord Aberdeen's offer of permanent office to Hayward, the circumstances were these: The coalition government having always looked upon Hayward as one of the ablest and most indefatigable of those who had helped to bring them into power were naturally and rightly anxious to give him office; and, as he was not in Parliament, to engage him in the "permanent" service of the Crown. So, when Lord Devon's announced change of office created or seemed to create what men call a "move" in the permanent staff of the Poor Law Board, Lord Aberdeen, the Prime Minister, wrote to Hayward offering him one of the offices which thus appeared to be vacated. Hayward having accepted the offer, his appointment seemed complete, and thereupon the press raged against him, raging also against the Government for having appointed him. At the end of many days, Lord Devon seeing reason to dislike the change he had contemplated, withdrew his resignation; and, no vacancies therefore occurring, the appointment fell to the ground. Of course the Government meant to provide for Hayward another berth, and of course as men of honour and spirit they were prepared to do this, if necessary, at the cost of having to face another storm of invective; but Hayward generously released them from this obligation, determining with just pride and self-respect that he would not expose them to the endurance of obloquy on his account, and would not therefore take office. There are still living members of Lord Aberdeen's Government, and there is not, I feel sure, any one of them who would do otherwise than gladly declare that Hayward's conduct under this trying ordeal was truly noble and loyal.

6. Hayward used to pronounce that the most delightful talkers in Europe were the third Lord Lansdowne, the late Lord Clarendon, and the Duc d'Aumale; but still he never seemed to dispute that for conversation at once intellectual and delightful, maintained en petit comité, Henry Bulwer (Lord Dalling) was foremost. He agreed with what you say of Drummond Wolff's power as a "Raconteur" in both English and French; and used to quote a high French authority who declared that for telling a good story in French, France had not the equal of Wolff. He maintained that for powers

[ocr errors]

of dominating, all-conquering fascination General Radowitz (once Minister of Foreign Affairs at Berlin) was altogether supreme.

With respect to literary excellence, his bias was certainly strong in favour of old and established reputations; but I can testify that, although hard to move, he was not immovable. Carried fairly away from his moorings by the passion, the power, the beauty of Denzil Place, he with emphasis delivered a judgment which perhaps may be quoted in times when this century (all dead and gone) will at last come under review. He declared our great Laureate outshone by the genius of Violet Fane.

7. You justly speak of the readiness with which Hayward would make the amende. He used to do this in so touching a way that no one with any heart could help being content, or even help being moved by the fervour of the appeal. These indeed were the very occasions which-better than any others-disclosed the gentle side of his nature. He used to speak with strong emotion-used to own in a word or two his uncontrollable vehemence, and always insist with great warmth on the feelings with which he regarded the acquaintance or friend thus addressed. You have most justly said that he was not a man to use blandishments, but always on these occasions he was undisguisedly softened by feeling, and used to speak with much warmer expressions of regard and perhaps admiration than he ever would deign to vouchsafe at any other times.

8. Hayward's wish to do kindnesses to those whom he liked must have often been brought into conflict with his love of what he deemed true, and of what he believed to be just. A bright, clever, highborn lady long since torn by death from that London world which so loved her, was going to say something in print; and, when she asked Hayward to review her approaching publication, he said that he would. Afterwards having heard possibly something about his fixed love of truth and justice, she wrote him the prettiest note which was substantially to this effect, and exactly so, unless I mistake, in its last six words :

"I know people say that it is best for a friendly critic to be judicious and discriminating and to speak of the author's faults; but please don't be like that. It would be horrid. Please let it be all praise."

9. You speak of the historic dinner in Hayward's Temple chambers which ripened the idea of a coalition, and heralded the fall of the then existing Government; but long before that year (1852), Hayward's dinners of eight at the Temple had attained a great vogue. They used to include perhaps three, sometimes perhaps only two, of the loveliest and most gifted women that London society boasted; and of men perhaps about five. You might meet Lockhart (always, less scornful than his beautiful features proclaimed him), or Macaulay,

« PreviousContinue »