to the cause of progress and improvement were far more powerful and far more precious. He gave to it his thought, his time, his toil ; he gave to it his life. I see in this house many gentlemen-on both sides and in different parts of it—who occasionally entered with the Prince at those council boards, where they conferred and decided upon the great undertakings with which he was connected ; and I ask them, without the fear of a denial, whether he was not the leading spirit ; whether his was not the mind that foresaw the difficulty, and his the resources that supplied the remedy ; whether his was not the courage to overcome apparently insurmountable obstacles ; and whether everyone who worked with him did not feel that he was the originator of those great plans of improvement which they contributed to carry out ?

Sir, we have been asked to-night to condole with the Crown in this great calamity. That is no easy office. To condole in general is the office of those who, without the pale of sorrow, feel for the sorrowing ; but in this instance the country is as heart-stricken as its queen. Yet, in the mutual sensibilities of a sovereign and a people there is something ennobling—something that elevates the spirit beyond the ordinary claim of earthly sorrow. The counties, and cities, and corporations of the realm, and those illustrious institutions of learning, of science, of art, and of skill, of which he was the highest ornament and the inspiring spirit, have bowed before the throne in this great calamity. It does not become the Parliament of the country to be silent. The expression of our feelings may be late, but even in that lateness some propriety may be observed if to-night we sanction the expression of the public sorrow, and ratify, as it were, the record of a nation's

Speech of the Right Hon. B. Disraeli.



You that always are bestowing

Costly pains on life's repairing,
Are but always overthrowing

Nature's work by overcaring,

Nature meeting with her foe,
In a work she hath to do,

Takes delight to overthrow.
Nature knows her own perfection,

And her pride disdains a suitor,
Cannot stoop to Art's correction,
And she scorns a coadjutor.

Saucy Art should not appear,
Till she whisper in her ear ;

Hagar flees if Sarah bear.
Nature worketh for the better,

If not hindered that she cannot,
Art stands by as her abettor,
Ending nothing she began not ;

If distemper chance to seize
(Nature foiled with the disease),

Art may help her if she please.
But to make a trade of trying

Drugs and doses, always pruning,
Is to die for fear of dying;
He's untuned that's always tuning.

He that often loves to lack
Dear-bought drugs, hath found a knack

To foil the man and feed the quack.
O the sad, the frail condition

Of the pride of Nature's glory!
How infirm his composition,
And, at best, how transitory !

When this riot doth impair
Nature's weakness, then his care

Adds more ruin by repair.
Hold thy hand, health's dear maintainer,

Life, perchance, may burn the stronger;
Having substance to maintain her,
She, untouched, may last the longer.

When the artist goes about
To redress her flame, I doubt,
Oftentimes he snuffs it out.

Francis Quarles.


What we read with inclination makes a stronger impression. If we read without inclination half the mind is employed in fixing the attention, so there is but half to be employed on what we read. If a man begins to read in the middle of a book, and feels an inclination to go on, let him not quit it to go to the beginning. He may perhaps not feel again the inclination.

Dr. Johnson,


The Right Honourable Benjamin Disraeli was born in London in the year 1805. His father, Isaac Disraeli, was an eminent writer, being the author of “ The Curiosities of Literature," and other works. Mr. Disraeli was first designed for the profession of the law; but this being repugnant to his inclination, he left it for the more congenial pursuit of literature. At the age of twenty years he published a novel entitled “ Vivian Grey,” which treated in à daring and original manner great political and social questions, and created a marked sensation in the public mind. He has since written other works of this kind, his aim being not merely to amuse the reader but to instruct him on political and social subjects. Amongst these we may mention “Coningsby” and “Sybil” as the most eminent.

In 1831 and 1834, Mr. Disraeli made attempts to enter Parliament, but was each time defeated. In 1835 he made yet another attempt at Taunton, and this time also the victory lay with his opponent. It is well to notice these things, because some people think that the lives of men of genius (as they are called) consist of one unbroken list of successes. However, at the general election which followed the Queen's accession, Mr. Disraeli was returned for the borough of Maidstone, in Kent. His first speech in Parliament was a failure, arising, not so much from his deficiency as a speaker, as from the mistaken ideas the majority of the House of Commons had formed concerning his character. He ended this first


speech by declaring : "I am not at all surprised at the reception I have experienced. I have begun many times several things, and have often succeeded at last. I will sit down now, but the time will come when you will hear

A declaration like this showed that the speaker had confidence in his powers, and that he was not inclined to submit to any adverse decision after a single reverse.

In the parliamentary sessions of the earlier years of the Queen's reign, Mr. Disraeli made many thoughtful speeches on the Corn Laws, Education, and Chartism, and was rapidly rising in the esteem of the House of Commons. •When Sir Robert Peel introduced his measure to abolish the Corn Laws, he was attacked by Mr. Disraeli in a manner so trenchant and powerful as is rarely heard within the walls of Parliament. There was reason for the use of severe language, inasmuch as the minister deserted the party which brought him into power, and passed a measure directly in the interest of his parliamentary opponents. It is but just, howev to state that this measure has proved an inestimable blessing to the people of England.

After this measure had passed the House of Commons Mr. Disraeli was regarded as one of the chief members. In the year 1849 he was recognised as leader of the Parliamentary Opposition. In 1852, the government of Lord John Russell was defeated, and the Queen summoned Lord Derby to form a new government. In this administration (as it is called) Mr. Disraeli held the post of Chancellor of the Exchequer, that is, he had the care of the national money. His first tenure of office, however, only lasted ten months. During the troublous times of the Crimean war he was constantly in opposition, exerting an influence over the national policy, however, only secondary to that of the First Minister himself.

In the year 1858, Lord Palmerston introduced into the House of Commons a bill to make it punishable by English law to conspire to murder a foreign prince. Shortly before this bill was introduced a man named Orsini had attempted to murder the Emperor Napoleon, and it was stated that the plot was prepared in this country. The French press thereupon indulged in abusive and threatening language against England, and the fact of Lord Palmerston introducing this bill at this particular period seemed as if he were bending to the threats of a foreign potentate. The Ministers were defeated in the House of Commons, and the Queen summoned Lord Derby the second time to form an administration. During his second tenure of office Mr. Disraeli, by the general moderation and wisdom of his policy, considerably advanced in the esteem of the House of Commons and the country. According to promise he introduced a Reform Bill, which was rejected by the House because in it no provision was made to reduce the borough franchise. Lord Palmerston therefore returned to power, and remained Prime Minister of this country till his death in 1865. Lord Russell then became Premier, Mr. Gladstone continuing the office he held under Lord Palmerston of Chancellor of the Exchequer. In the year 1866 Mr. Gladstone introduced into the House of Commons a bill for reforming the representation of the country in Parliament. Mr. Disraeli and his party opposed this measure, and it was finally withdrawn by the Ministers on a vote of the House of Commons in favour of a borough franchise founded on the payment of rates. Earl Russell and his cabinet then resigned their places, and Lord Derby for the third time became First Minister of the Queen.

In the spring of 1867, Mr. Disraeli, who in this cabinet occupied his usual position of Chancellor of the Exchequer, introduced a Reform Bill, which finally, after undergoing extensive modifications, became law. The great feature of this new Reform Bill is that the borough franchise is based upon household suffrage. Under this act also several of the large towns return three members instead of two, which was not the case previously, and a general redistribution of seats took place. In 1868, the Earl of Derby, owing to his infirm health, resigned his office as Prime Minister, and the Queen summoned Mr. Disraeli to occupy his place. He was defeated, however, on the Irish Church question, and, in a general election, a large majority was found on the side of his opponent, Mr. Gladstone, 1870, Mr. Disraeli made great efforts to prevent the war


In the year

« 上一页继续 »