Lord Aberdeen. 1784-1860.
" It may be," said Peel, " that I shall leave a name sometimes remembered with expressions of goodwill in those places which are the abode of men whose lot it is to labour and to earn their daily bread by the sweat of their brow - a name remembered with expressions of goodwill, when they shall recreate their exhausted strength with abundant and untaxed food, the sweeter because it is no longer leavened with a sense of injustice." These closing lines became Peel's best epitaph; his official career was over. He took part in one or two great debates afterwards, especially in that which was known as the Don Pacifico question. That debate took place in the later days of June, 1850. On the 29th of June, when riding near Buckingham Palace in London he was thrown from his horse, and received such injuries that his death followed on the 2nd of July. He was not so far advanced in age at the time of the accident that he might not still have expected some years of an honourable and successful career, but for the sudden and fatal chance which laid him low. His name will always be remembered with honour in the history of England. His country, during his career of statesmanship, was never tried by any crisis so great as that which has taxed the genius and resources of other English Ministers; and the world cannot tell whether, if he had been so tried, he might not have developed the very highest genius of statesmanship. What we do know is that to every difficulty which faced him in his reforming career he proved himself superior, and we know, too, that every official act of his was inspired and guided by conscience as well as by intellect. In a century which produced many great Englishmen, Robert Peel was one of the greatest.
Cardinal Newman. 1801-189O.
May 1, 1851, was in a certain sense an epoch-making day. It saw the opening of the Crystal Palace erected in Hyde Park by Sir Joseph Paxton - the first of a series of International Exhibitions which have since been established at different times in all the great capitals of the world. Vast hopes were entertained as to the future which the principle of the International Exhibition was to inaugurate for all the nations of the earth. Enthusiastic poets and orators and preachers persuaded themselves, and tried to persuade their hearers, that a new law of international peace and universal brotherhood was to be set up for the blessing of mankind. The International Exhibition did much practical good, although it certainly did not open an era of international peace and universal brotherhood. The Crystal Palace Exhibition, and the many other exhibitions of the same kind which followed it, accomplished much in the promotion of industrial science and art, and in fostering a generous rivalry among all civilised nations in the production of the works that belong to peace. On the whole it is not too much to say that the world was in many ways the better for the experiments introduced by the exhibition in the Crystal Palace, but the spirit of war breathed upon the nations just the same as before, and the beneficent results of the great industrial enterprise proved themselves to belong only to the world of wholesome prose, and not to that of exalted poetry.
A few lines ought to be given to the fierce dispute which raged in Parliament and outside it, over the Ecclesiastical Titles Bill. The Bill was introduced by Lord John Russell in the year 1851 to prevent Roman Catholic prelates in England from accepting titles bearing the names of the districts in which their spiritual ministrations took place. Up to that time the English Catholic archbishops and bishops had taken titles derived from foreign places. For instance Cardinal Wiseman had been appointed by the Pope in 1840 one of the Vicars-Apostolic in England, and held his position here as Bishop of Melipotamus, "In Partibus Infidelium"; now by a new decree of the Pope he became Cardinal Wiseman, Archbishop of Westminster. The reader has in that fact the whole point of the controversy. Lord John Russell's Bill proposed to inflict a penalty on the assumption of such titles by the Roman Catholic prelates in England, and to make null and void any bequests made in virtue of those titles. It was found to be impossible to apply such legislation to Ireland, where the Roman Catholic prelates had always been called by local titles - by any title, in fact, which their Church thought fit to give them. More than one Ministerial crisis took place. The measure was strongly opposed by such men as Sir James Graham, Gladstone, Cobden, and Bright, and treated by them as a mere question of religious toleration. Disraeli did not oppose the introduction of the Bill, but he spoke of it in tones of reprobation and contempt as strong as any that Mr. Gladstone or Mr. Bright had used. The Bill passed the House of Commons, after an impassioned protest from Mr.
Cardinal Manning. 1808-1892.
Gladstone in the name of religious liberty. It was carried through the House of Lords, and received the Royal assent; it became formally the law of the land, and that was an end of it. No attempt was ever made to put it into force, and the Roman Catholic prelates went on using their local titles without opposition or objection. In truth the whole controversy came out of a sort of misunderstanding which might have been avoided with a little better management on both sides. The English people fancied that a deliberate act of aggression was made against them by the Pope, and the authorities at Rome believed that a mere spirit of religious bigotry animated Lord John Russell's legislation. The Act was quietly repealed twenty years after, when most persons had forgotten its very existence.
On September 14, 1852, the great Duke of Wellington died. Since Marlborough's time no soldier had fought so well the great battles of England. We have described his character and his career already in these pages, and his epitaph is written in the history of Europe.