Excerpt from The Nation, Vol. 14: A Weekly Journal Devoted to Politics, Literature, Science, and Art; From January 1 to June 30, 1872
The Nation. [number340 lisbaa, and it is the general opinion that the letter of the chief-justice is ab. Solutely conclusive. Indeed, none of the papers which generally defend the Government have said a word in its defence, with the exception, of course, of Mr. Gladstone's faithful jackal, the Daily Telegraph. It would probably say that he had done quite right if he made himself emperor by a coup d'etat tomorrow. The position is one of great difficulty; for it seems almost cer tain that a vote of censure will be passed in the House of Lords, and it will be extremely dificult, even with the help of the strongest party discipline, to obtain the approval of the House of Commons. I speak, of course, with out having heard what may possibly be said by Mr. Gladstone and his rea sonable supporters. But at present the case looks as bad as it well can; Government seems to have cut 011' all possibility of retreat; and the Chief J ustiee assures us, with every appearance of accuracy, that not a single lawyer could be found to defend the course adopted. Poor Mr. Gladstone had difficulties enough on his hands, what with the dissenters showing symp toms of mutiny, and the Catholic bishops bullying him to make concessions in Ireland, and prohibitionists and public-house keepers threatening him from different sides, and a general demand arising for careful legislation, with a body of legislators daily growing more disorganized and quarrelsome; and it seems to have been by a singular infelicity that he should have wantonly stirred up this hornets' nest of lawyers. Indeed, the question, though it sounds rather technical in its nature, is one of great importance; for the im putation made is that Government have disregarded that honorable observ aueo of the spirit as well as the letter of an agreement which is essential to the satisfactory working of our constitution. Nobody, indeed, would accuse Mr. Gladstone of intentionally dishonorable conduct, but he is apt to be at once impulsive and dictatorial; and, having entirely overlooked considera tions which ought to have occurred to any wary politician, he is forced to maintain an indefensible position. Opposition, of course, will make a vigor ous assault upon his weak place at an early period, and, as it seems at present, with very good chances of sum.
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