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Upper House had been changed, owing to On the recall of Charles II. from exile, the elimination of the great majority of the the republican policy introduced by Cromecclesiastics and heads of religious houses well was swept away, and the old constituwho had possessed seats within its walls tion, which had given place to a democracy before the rupture with Rome. Such digni- controlled by a military despotism, was taries of the church as held their seats, and restored in its integrity. This restoration consented to take the oath of supremacy, led to the development of that select comwere for the most part servile instruments mittee of the privy council, which is called in the hands of the sovereign, who secured the Cabinet, as an executive power; to the their services and their ready acquiescence substitution of indirect for direct taxation; by means of lavish grants of church and to the final extinction of the feudal system; abbey lands. Men thus bribed were power and to the enrolment in the statute book of less to defend the constitution and the that great Act which, taken in connection liberties of the nation. After the accession with trial by jury, offers the most complete of the first Stuart to the English throne security that human laws can afford against a reaction, however, set in. The spirit of the arbitrary infliction of punishment by liberty grew with the increasing wealth and the sovereign — the Habeas Corpus Act. intelligence of the people, and then the Civil The darkest hour is the hour before dawn, War ensued. Until 1641 the conduct of the and the reign of James II. is only memorParliament must meet with the approval of able for the tyranny and bigoted rule he all those who are in favour of constitutional attempted to introduce, and which faded government; there can be little doubt that away like night before the morning at the Charles I., by his evasions of the law and accession of William of Orange. The famous his resolve to rule without parliamentary revolution of 1688 effected not so much a control, had entertained a fixed purpose of change as a restoration; it developed the destroying the constitution, and of establish- system of parliamentary government, until ing in its stead an absolute monarchy. Such it gradually transferred the centre and force an aim was most culpable, yet the demands of the state from the crown itself to the of the Houses after 1641 cannot be justified, legislative assembly, and especially to the and in the war which ensued the Parliament House of Commons; it substituted a miniswere clearly the aggressors. The result of try constructed on some basis of political that struggle is familiar to us all. Charles union, for ministers often at variance with Stuart was made the scapegoat, on whose each other and independent of parliahead were laid, and in whose person were mentary control; then, as parliamentary expiated, the sins of his predecessors for more government is essentially government by than a hundred years past. With respect party, the introduction of the advisers of to the faction which persecuted him even the crown into the legislative assembly unto death, but one opinion can now be gradually compelled the rival factions of formed. It was no friend to public liberty, Whig and Tory, and, in later times, of for never under the most arbitrary monarch Liberal and Conservative, to have recourse were the people of England subject to a to a recognized system of party tactics. inore rigid tyranny; nor did it ever com- Yet, great as has been the change which pose the majority of the nation. But it is these developments have effected, the reever so in revolutions. A few violent men volution of 1688 but restored the English take the lead, their noise and activity appear constitution to its first principles; it did to multiply their numbers, and then the not enlarge the liberty of the subject, but great body of the people, either indolent or simply gave it a better security; it neither pusillanimous, are bound in triumph to the widened nor contracted the foundation, but chariot wheels of a paltry faction.

simply repaired the fabric. Before 1688

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the theory of the English constitution was into Parliament has been the gradual
that the authority of the crown was limited, growth of the power and position of the
and that its power was controlled by Par- prime minister. Though the post is un-
liament. This theory, as we have seen, known to the law and the constitution—for
especially during the Tudor and Stuart legally no one privy councillor has, as such,
periods of our history, was not recognized any superiority over another—the prime
—if the sovereign was weak, he played into minister is at the present day the head of
the hands of his council; but if strong, the the government, the especial choice of his
council became the pliant instrument of sovereign, and the one official upon whose
his will. Parliament had little voice in the maintenance of power depends the exist-
matter, the people were calmly ignored, ence of the ministry. If he should vacate
ministers were dependent only on the exer- office, the cabinet is dissolved. It was not
cise of the prerogative, and thus the ques- always so. Before 1688 the prime minis-
tion of government often became limited ter was simply the favourite of the king,
to a struggle between the crown and the upon whose goodwill his rise and fall solely
advisers. The revolution of 1688 brought depended. Nor was it until the accession
the theory and practice into harmony, to power of Sir Robert Walpole that the
and since that date the crown has never office of prime minister first began to
attempted to govern without Parliament assume importance. It was Sir Robert
The consequence of this development has Walpole who was the first of English
resulted in the lowering of the prerogative statesmen who dominated over a cabinet
and the exaltation of the power and in- and was recognized as its leader. It was
fluence of Parliament ; and Parliament, Sir Robert Walpole who was the first to be
since the passing of the two Reform Bills, regarded as the one medium of communica-
signifies the House of Commons. Thus tion between the sovereign and his minis-
practically we are a self-governing country. ters. It was Sir Robert Walpole who was
The ministers to whom the executive func- the first political leader who maintained his
tions of the crown are intrusted must sit power by the manipulation of majorities in
in Parliament, and according to the con- the House of Commons. And the resig-
fidence that Parliament reposes in them, so nation of Sir Robert Walpole is the first
long will they be permitted to exercise instance in our political history of the
power; but since the redistribution of seats resignation of a prime minister in defer-
and the lowering of the franchise, conse- ence to an adverse vote of the House of
quent upon the Reform Bills of 1832 and Commons.
1867, the ultimate verdict upon every exer- With the career of Sir Robert Walpole
cise of political power must be sought for in begins the history of the faults and the
the judgment of the House of Commons, and advantages, the patriotism and the selfish-
the House of Commons signifies the people. ness, of government by Parliament. He

One of the most important results of the therefore fittingly takes his place as the introduction of the advisers of the crown | first of our Leaders of the Senate."

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Sir ROBERT WALPOLE came of a good old and subsoils, irrigation and top-dressing, stock, that could trace its pedigree in un- the manufacture of manure, and the breedbroken succession from the days of the ing of stock, became at last so agreeable Conquest. His ancestors took the name that, though he represented Castle Rising which he has made illustrious, from the till his death, he gradually merged the small town of Walpole, in Norfolk, where legislator into the gentleman-farmer.' His they at one time held a manor-house, which farm was the best managed in the county. was afterwards exchanged for the property London dealers came down to Norfolk and of Houghton, in the same county. For two offered high prices for his thoroughbred generations the Walpoles had been actively yearlings. Shrewd men from the north engaged in politics. Sir Edward, the grand competed for his well-conditioned stock. father of our future Leader of the Senate, The graziers around, though they knew the had been returned by the borough of Lynn squire was a little hard at a bargain, knew Regis to the Convention Parliament of also that he was true and just in all his 1660, which voted for the Restoration. A dealings, and that what he sold could man of brilliant talents, a keen debater, and always command its value. A jovial, a stanch adherent of the Stuarts, Sir Ed- rough, roystering, hard-drinking man was ward threw himself heart and soul into the this Robert Walpole, and as popular with royal cause, and received from the “Merry the farmers as he was with the neighbourMonarch," who seldom rewarded those who ing gentry. Like his father before him, he served him best, the decoration of the Bath. was hospitality itself, and Houghton was Disgusted with the conduct of James II. - seldom free from visitors. Open house was his tyranny, obstinacy, and short-sighted kept well-nigh throughout the year, and bigotry—Robert, the eldest son of Sir Ed- whether the guests were members of the ward Walpole, declined to walk in the foot | October Club or supporters of the Hanover, steps of his sire, but became a Whig of the leaders at Newmarket or pillars of the most vehement type, and was as active in church, peers or adventurers, all were welbringing about the Revolution as his father come and freely entertained. If not a fine before him had been in effecting the Re-old English gentleman, Robert Walpole was storation. On the accession of William certainly a generous and a kindly one. and Mary he sat in Parliament for Castle That farming should be not only a Rising, and took a prominent part in all pleasure but a profitable occupation was the legislative measures which immediately a matter of some moment to the opensucceeded the expulsion of the Stuarts. handed squire of Houghton. At an early

A keen man of business, a sharp land- age he had married one Mary, only daughlord, with a natural taste for country pur- ter of Sir Jeffrey Burwell of Rougham, in suits, and an Englishman's love for sport, Suffolk; and though the lady had not come Robert Walpole spent all the time that was to him dowerless, yet, as she made him in not devoted to his parliamentary duties in the course of years the father of nineteen improving Houghton. The change from children, there was need that the tenants debates on the Bill of Rights and Triennial should pay good rents and the kine comParliaments to the consideration of soils | mand high prices. Fortunately the property

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