Advanced apes take over the government of England in this political satire.
|Chapter I.||THE POLITICAL ASPECT AT THE CLOSE OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY -- ANOMALIES AND INCONVENIENCES OF SURVIVING MONARCHICAL USAGES -- THE INCIDENT OF THE MISSING CROWN -- ESTABLISHMENT OF A BRITISH COMMONWEALTH.|
|Chapter II.||EFFECTS OF THE REVOLUTION UPON THE PREMIER'S POSITION, AND UPON HIS POLICY -- A NEW REFORM BILL CARRIED.|
|Chapter III.||CONSEQUENCES OF THE NEW REFORM BILL -- AGITATION OF THE YOUTH AGAINST THE COMPULSORY EDUCATION ACT -- FINAL SUCCESS OF THE YOUTHS' LEAGUE.|
|Chapter IV.||DIFFICULTIES OF THE LIBERAL PARTY IN HAVING ACCOMPLISHED ALL THEIR NORMAL AIMS -- THE MINISTERS' VISIT TO THE HALL OF VARIETIES.|
|Chapter V.||THE SIMIAN DELEGATES DESCRIBED -- OBONG API, PONGA WOU, JOOKI, ORANI JOOKA, AND PICCANINA WOU -- AIMS OF THE BORNEAN MISSION, AND ATTITUDE OF THE BRITISH PUBLIC IN REGARD THERETO.|
|Chapter VI.||THE LIBERAL DILEMMA EXAMINED -- THE PREMIER'S VIEWS AND "LATENT POLICY" -- THE NEW GAME ACT -- ITS ENTHUSIASTIC RECEPTION -- ELATION OF THE PREMIER -- THE SOJOURNERS' ACT; AND ITS RECEPTION IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS.|
|Chapter VII.||HISTORY AND ANTECEDENTS OF THE TORIES.|
|Chapter VIII.||THE TORY LEADERSHIP OF BENJAMIN DISRAELI, EARL OF BEACONSFIELD -- HIS DEATH AND LEGACY -- THE MANTLE OF ELIJAH.|
|Chapter IX.||TORY OPPOSITION TO THE SOJOURNERS' ACT -- THE PREMIER RETIRES TO WINDSOR -- PONGAT WOU'S VISIT TO THE HOUSE OF COMMONS -- PUBLIC OPINION ON THE PASSING OF THE SOJOURNERS' ACT -- EXASPERATION OF THE TORY PARTY -- ASSASSINATION OF ORONG API.|
|Chapter X.||REFLECTIONS ON THE MURDER OF ORONO API -- PUBLIC OPINION ON THE SAME -- DEPUTATION TO THE PREMIER -- OUTRAGES COMMITTED ON PICCANINA WOU AND ORANI JOCKA -- PROFOUND INDIGNATION EXCITED -- BILL PASSED FOR THE SPECIAL PROTECTION OF THE ORAN OTANI DELEGATES.|
|Chapter XI.||ATTITUDE OF THE PREMIER -- HIS SOCIAL POLICY WITH REGARD TO THE SIMIAN MOVEMENT -- TORY TESTIMONY OF RESPECT FOR MADAME JOCKI -- PROGRESS OF SIMIOPHILE SENTIMENT IN ENGLISH SOCIETY.|
|Chapter XII.||THE SOJOURNERS' ACT IN OPERATION -- PONGAT WOU AT THE POLLINGBOOTH -- DEFEAT OF THE MINISTRY, AND REFLECTIONS THEREON -- TRUE IMPORT OF THE "DEFEAT" CONSIDERED -- ARRIVAL OF THE SIMIAN TRANSPORTS IN BRITISH WATERS.|
|Chapter XIII.||PUBLIC OPINION AS TO THE SIMIAN INCURSION -- SIMIAN OUTRAGES AT FIRST REPORTED -- EXEMPLARY CONDUCT OF THE ORAN OTANI FORCES AS A WHOLE -- THE HEADQUARTERS OF PONGAT WOU DESCRIBED.|
|Chapter XIV.||THE SECOND GREAT "FIRE OF LONDON" -- FATAL CONSEQUENCES.|
|Chapter XV.||JOCKI AND THE ORAN OTANI AT SOUTHAMPTON -- INDIFFERENT RECEPTION OF THE SIMIANS -- THEIR POPULARITY FAST INCREASING -- THE DISASTER AT THE MAYOR'S SECOND BALL.|
|Chapter XVI.||THE PREMIER AT BIRMINGHAM -- HIS LIFE OFTEN THREATENED -- TWO ATTEMPTS ON HIS LIFE DESCRIBED -- HIS UNPOPULARITY INCREASING, HIS FRIENDS BECOME ALARMED FOR HIS SAFETY -- AN ANGLO-SIMIAN CONFERENCE ARRANGED.|
|Chapter XVII.||THE ANGLO-SIMIAN CONGRESS AT OXFORD -- UNFORTUNATE DISSENSIONS -- INJUDICIOUS SPEECH BY THE BRITISH CONSUL-GENERAL FROM BRUNI -- HIS ASSASSINATION; AND THAT OF THE PREMIER -- ARRIVAL OF FURTHER REINFORCEMENTS AT HOLYHEAD -- DIFFERENCES OF OPINION BETWEEN PONGAT WOU AND MADAME JOCKI.|
|Chapter XVIII.||COMPLETE SUBJUGATION OF ENGLAND -- PANIC OF THE ISLANDERS -- THE PACIFIC POLICY OF PONGAT WOU -- HIS PROCLAMATION; WITH REFLECTIONS THEREUPON -- PEACE AND CONFIDENCE BEGIN TO BE RESTORED -- POSTSCRIPT ON THE DEATH OF MADAME JOCKI.|
The struggle which they did anticipate came in due course. Contrary to the general anticipation, it was brief and bloodless; but the victory of the revolutionary party was none the less decisive, and the defeat of the reactionary forces overwhelming, and in the end irremediable. The story, which still possesses a quaint sort of attraction, may be told in a few words.
Soon after the executive power had passed into the hands of what was known as the Birmingham faction, the Premier found it desirable to conciliate some of the more moderate members of the Liberal party, whose commercial fears he had in some degree alarmed by peremptorily insisting on the admission of two of his brothers to the Cabinet. With this object in view, he conferred the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster upon a distinguished statesman who had been his colleague for a short time in the preceding Ministry. This "nobleman" was in many respects excellently suited to adorn any public station. His administrative talents had been tried, and favourably recognised, in various fields of political enterprise; and the amiable versatility of his character had already extorted the wonder of more than one political party, while his modest and pacific views on the subject of foreign engagements made him an especially suitable successor to the late Chancellor of the Duchy, who had been a member of the Society of Friends.
What follows forms one of the most curious pages to be found in modern history. The ceremonious usage of the times required that one of the Cabinet Ministers should always be in residence at the Palace of the Sovereign; but since the accession of the Birmingham faction to power, the duty thus entailed had been usually delegated to subordinate officials, and this had occasioned much vigorous criticism from the Senate, and even -- so it was alleged -- some gentle remonstrance from the "illustrious personage" whom the matter chiefly concerned. The Premier now good-naturedly and wisely determined that the old practice should be revived in its full integrity -- so far, that is, as he and his colleagues could conveniently permit. The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs was at first requested to attend the Palace; but he was just then much occupied in building a new mansion in Chelsea, (1) and he bluntly refused. The newly appointed Chancellor of the Duchy was then asked to undertake the business, and he without hesitation consented. The new arrangement was for some time the cause of universal satisfaction. The Premier was highly pleased; for, by admitting one of the hereditary peers to the Cabinet, and at the same time keeping him out of its actual counsels, he had at once calmed the fears of his more moderate supporters, and satisfied the notions of Radical expediency which he and his more advanced associates entertained. The Tories, who still formed a considerable party outside the walls of Parliament, were elated at seeing the visible head of the State once more recognised by some person of greater importance than a Minister's private secretary. And it was soon made evident that inside the Palace the Premier's statesmanlike and courteous behaviour had been keenly appreciated. He was at once offered a peerage; and since the dignity no longer entailed an absence from the House of Commons, he readily accepted the time-honoured distinction. His brothers were at the same time invited to become baronets; but they pointed out, with some asperity, that they should be false to their principles if they for a moment recognised the right of an eldest son to be more highly exalted than the other members of his family. Despite, however, the rugged independence of these two sturdy democrats, there is little doubt that the new arrangement gave very general satisfaction. The Chancellor of the Duchy was directed to remain in residence at the Palace so long as he might think fit; and as he was much given to good living, it is probable that he might have prolonged his stay for an indefinite time, had not the aspect of affairs become suddenly completely changed.
A Cabinet Council was being held, and the subject under immediate discussion was the proposal to devote a portion of the Scottish Church surplus to the Relief of the persecuted Russian Jews. The Premier was stating in a luminous manner his own views on this subject, when he was interrupted by the arrival of a messenger from Windsor. This individual was at first desired to wait; but with a curiously strained notion of his importance, he declared that his business would admit of no delay. He then stated plainly that the regal crown, which, since the conversion of the Tower into a Hall of Science, had been courteously entrusted to the Sovereign's care, had disappeared, and was nowhere to be found. This news at first seemed to excite nothing but merriment. The Vice-President of the Council offered to advertise the loss in his own journal, 'The National Reformer'; while another Minister wished to know who would offer a reward for the recovery of the missing property. The Lord Chancellor, however, promised to investigate the matter, as soon as he should be at leisure; and the messenger was at length dismissed with a verbal acknowledgment of the news which he had brought. All this time the Foreign Secretary had maintained an absolute silence. But now, as the discussion of the Scottish Church surplus question was about to be resumed, he rose, and observed in tones full of significance, that the apparently trivial loss of which they had just heard, might in fact prove to be an immense gain. For a moment, his colleagues seemed to listen with expressions of amused perplexity. The Foreign Secretary was known to all of them as a man of deep and strong sagacity; but they also knew that which had been for years a matter of public notoriety -- namely, that he suffered from occasional attacks of mental derangement, originally induced by over-application when studying for the youthful distinction of the Newcastle Scholarship. It soon became evident, however, that the modern Robespierre, as he loved to be called, was enjoying a lucid interval which boded no good to those who had incurred his resentment. He sternly repeated the ominous words which he had uttered on first rising; and he then proceeded to explain their precise import. "You will acknowledge, I believe," said he, "that the Sovereign is now no more than the symbol of supreme authority -- the authority which we ourselves really exercise. Upon what does the Sovereign's claim to this purely honorary distinction rest? On the possession, surely, of another symbol, the crown, If, then, the antiquated bauble which our grandfathers have taught us to call by that name has been lost or mislaid, it appears to me that the Sovereign has no longer any legal right to the enjoyment of any greater privileges than those of a private citizen! If it has been found convenient, in deference to the prejudices of an effete aristocracy, to continue for the last twenty years a set of forms and usages which, according to all logic and consistency, we should long ago have swept away, is it not evident that the present opportunity furnishes us with an irresistible justification for vindicating the true rights of the people upon that very basis to which we have so long deferred-the basis of prescriptive form and custom?" (2)
The Vice-President of the Council then rose, and supported the sense of the foregoing remarks with characteristic vehemence. "The time had come," he exclaimed, "to tear away the last rag from the banner of privilege and corruption. He himself had succeeded, after a long and weary struggle against prejudice and misrepresentation, in securing the triumph of materialism, in asserting and maintaining the now indefeasible doctrine that man was the sole author of his own existence, the sole controller of his own destiny and his own passions, the only arbiter of human events and human fortune. But if he could in his old age assist in the destruction of the last link which enchained his fellow-creatures in a slavery scarcely less degrading than that from which they had already escaped, he should die serenely happy in the conviction that he had not lived in vain."
When these two speeches had been delivered, it at once became evident that they had excited very strong sympathy in the breasts of those who sat listening. The Premier was the first to compliment the Foreign Secretary upon his having detected a perfectly legal and constitutional means by which to escape from a state of affairs which had certainly become ludicrous in the extreme. He then proposed that the whole matter should be referred to the Central Authority at Birmingham, with a request that that body would forthwith issue a mandate as to the course which the Government should follow. The Lord Chancellor moved, by way of amendment, that before asking for a mandate from the Caucus, steps should be taken to verify the report which had reached them. This proposition was, however, overruled; and there is now very little doubt that the loss of the crown, the arrival of the messenger, and the whole of the subsequent transactions, were all part of a cleverly preconcerted scheme, for which the Premier himself must be mainly held responsible. (3) It soon became evident that the English people were in earnest. (4) Petitions without number began to pour in, praying that the happy occasion now presented for the formal establishment of a Commonwealth might be forthwith seized. Deputations from Northampton, from Stoke, from London, from Carlisle, from Birmingham itself, waited upon the Premier, and earnestly implored him to justify his own reputation for consistency, by at once declaring in favour of the cause which it was well known he had always in his heart advocated. (5) For some weeks his attitude was watched with breathless impatience. It was presently rumoured that he had received the long-expected mandate, but hesitated to give it implicit obedience. We may conjecture, that whereas in his boyhood, and in the subsequent stages of municipal preferment through which he had passed, he had been an uncompromising opponent of the Monarchy, he had, since his elevation to the Ministry, become seduced by the attractions of the Court, which still enjoyed considerable influence in the social world, and perhaps to a certain qualified extent in the world of politics also. For some time he continued to maintain perfect silence as to his intentions. But a paragraph presently appeared in 'Truth,' hinting that the Premier felt embarrassed by the formal affirmation of allegiance, which, in compliance with some musty tradition, he had been prevailed upon to make; and this plausible but wholly unfounded statement promptly elicited an official rebuke in one of the Ministerial organs, which moreover stated that the Premier would never admit that his duty to the people was second to his duty to anyone individual: that, on the contrary, he had ever regarded the masses as the sovereign power, in theory as well as in fact; that his hesitation did not arise from any maudlin superstition whatever; but that, in fact, he had not yet received the mandate, and could not therefore make any present announcement as to the course which he might have to pursue in regard to it. (6) Every eye now became fixed upon Birmingham. But the natural course of events was unexpectedly precipitated by a complication which had long been foreseen, but never adequately provided for. It will be readily understood that the ancient order of things, founded upon religion and supposed expediency had not been swept away without occasioning considerable heart-burning, and even some appreciable hardships and suffering, to various vested interests -- in fact, to a very large number of persons. The Church, the Aristocracy, and the Army, were all in a state of sullen dissatisfaction; but the Army seems to have been, upon the whole, the most discontented, the most turbulent, and, so far as mere physical strength went, the most formidable. Now the armed forces of the country had been abolished in a perfectly regular and formal manner. An Act of Parliament, duly passed through the House of Commons and the Senate, had declared them to be unnecessary and highly dangerous; and no one dared to question the right of the people to spend their money in whatever manner they pleased. We must confess, however, that this salutary reform, while it had undoubtedly benefited the community at large, had created one distinct evil, in throwing out of employment large masses of ignorant and unfeeling men, whose bigoted feelings of resentment made them a standing menace to the peace of the country. The disbanded soldiers had already been guilty of acts of pillage and rapine; and the Premier had somewhat dubiously characterised these outrages as at once laudable and intolerable. Of late, however, the disaffected military had done little more than to congregate in the neighbourhood of Windsor, where they filled the taverns and drank the Sovereign's health, not, it was whispered, without the secret connivance and approval of many of the Court officials, and a few of the less respectable inhabitants of the town. To these soldiers, then, who were constantly casting about for some pretext for a general riot, the news of the disappearance of the crown, and the subsequent proceedings of the Ministry, was exceedingly welcome. They immediately assembled in numbers variously computed at 8000, 10,000, and 12,000; and having chosen a certain Colonel Cockle for their leader, marched in military array to the Palace, where they broached sundry casks of ale, burnt sundry effigies of the Ministers, and delivered sundry reactionary and foolish speeches. The burden of their cry was that the royal dignity was threatened, and the personal safety of the Sovereign endangered, by the recent proceedings of the Cabinet. They then clamoured for money, for arms, for leaders -- for everything, in short, of which they had been deprived; and they declared that unless their demands were entertained, they would speedily enforce them.
These proceedings occasioned such serious alarm in the public mind that the executive would certainly have been justified in formally protesting against them -- or, in short, having recourse to the most stringent remedial measures. But the courage and foresight of the Birmingham officials were equal to the emergency. The mandate declaring the throne void, and ordering the establishment of a Commonwealth, had for some days been prepared, and was ready for issue on the very night which the military rioters chose for their demonstration. But in view of the peculiar delicacy of the situation a council was hastily summoned; the official proclamation of the mandate was ordered to be delayed for twenty-four hours; and secret instructions were sent to the Chancellor of the Duchy -- who, in spite of much unmerited obloquy, still remained at his post -- to arrange for the Sovereign's instant departure to Liverpool. These orders were immediately carried into effect. The last of the English monarchs arrived in due course at Liverpool, and there embarked, without molestation, or indeed public recognition of any kind, on the United States frigate "Alabama." The first of American sovereigns landed ten days afterwards in New York, amidst general acclamation. The effect of this grand stroke of policy surpassed even the sanguine hopes of those by whom it had been initiated. The Press was jubilant; the Court party, the military league, the peers and landjobbers, were completely demoralised; and the people preserved an attitude of grateful and. dignified calm; (7) and the ministers of the various denominations went in state to Westminster Abbey, and there returned thanks for the great victory which had been so miraculously yet peacefully gained.
Such is the brief but curious history of a revolution as complete as that of 1688, yet infinitely less bloody, and infinitely more complete and satisfactory in its results. We shall next pass on to a review of the events which immediately succeeded the overthrow of the English monarchy, and gradually paved the way, through democracy, to the eventual establishment of our present beneficent system of government.
It is impossible, however, to doubt that the Premier's new position was surrounded with difficulties of no ordinary magnitude; and, even supposing that the completeness of his success did not in some measure astound him and paralyse his habitual energy, it may still be well surmised that when at length called upon to put his long-cherished theories into immediate practice, he was considerably perplexed in mind. In his own words, he found that the dreams of a steady, pushing boy, and the practical policy of a responsible Minister, were very different matters. (8) The first important question with which he and his colleagues were called upon to deal, was the long-mooted extension of the franchise. Ever since the passing of the first Reform Bill, it had become more and more obvious that the eventual concession of the suffrage to every human being who could read and write must be a question of time rather than expediency. The various stages by which electoral privileges had been conceded to every free man and free woman in the land, had been safely passed with results which were in the main highly gratifying to the friends of Democratic Progress. Nevertheless the last Reform Bill had produced some consequences which were both unexpected and disappointing -- as, notably, the enfranchisement of the women, which had led to various most serious abuses, amongst which we need only cite the costly and cumbrous establishment of parochial boards of divorce; and hence it was generally felt that more drastic and comprehensive measures were still urgently needed. (9) The first step which public opinion and public expediency seemed to demand, was the extension of the franchise to the youth of Britain, who now formed, in point of intellectual attainments, by far the most respectable aggregate in the community.
The Ministers of the Commonwealth lost no time in formulating and announcing their scheme, which was one in perfect harmony with the enlightened spirit of the age, and with the prevalent sentiments of the people. (10) The measure was introduced in the House of Commons by the Vice-President of the Council, whose venerable but still stalwart form seemed to dilate with pride as he found himself for at least the second time the champion of a fresh advance in the beneficent paths of rational progress. Some who watched the scene when the Reform Bill was being introduced in the Commons have recorded how, as the Vice-President's sonorous tones filled the auditory, as his supple hands once or twice snatched at an orange with which he occasionally slaked his rhetorical thirst, he struck with awe not a few of the listeners, who dimly fancied they saw in him the visibly embodied presentiment of that master-race whose unsuspected day of triumph was silently but swiftly approaching. (11)
The speech with which he introduced the Government measure was in substance studiously moderate. He began by recapitulating the various stages of enfranchisement through which the nation had passed. He showed how each succeeding enlargement of the franchise had been but the natural sequence of one extension, the logical prelude to another. He referred to the old struggles between religious bigotry and universal toleration, and showed how the triumph of the latter had inevitably led to the subsequent victory of exclusive secularism. He dwelt with honest warmth upon the share which he had himself taken in these battles of bygone times; and he reminded the House, with bitterness, "that he had once been despised, scoffed at, and even subjected to the grossest personal indignity, solely because he, and he alone, had foreseen in those dark days that progress must succeed progress, as surely as one day must succeed another." He then passed on to the details of his proposals. He pointed out, with some pride, that the class which it was now proposed to enfranchise represented only a fraction of that number of persons whom the act would have affected some twenty years before; and he laid particular stress on the provision that in localities such as Rugby, Winchester, Harrow, and Eton, a "holiday schedule," as it was termed, would be enforced -- that, in other words, the youths who periodically congregated at these and similar seats of learning, would not be entitled to vote as inhabitants of the towns where their schools were situated, but only as inhabitants of the districts which were their homes or normal places of abode. The age of those who were to be given the suffrage was not at first fixed. But in the course of the debate the proposal to fix the age at fourteen was negatived; and in the end the age of fifteen was decided upon, though the Government carried an amendment by which any youth who, not having reached the qualifying age, had nevertheless been promoted into a standard where the average age was fifteen and a half, should be admitted to all the privileges which, but for such promotion, he would have forfeited
In contemplating at this distance of time the spirit of caution which thus narrowed the enjoyment of a public right to so limited a sphere, it is impossible not to perceive that the Government policy in the matter was dictated by motives of prudence rather than of justice. There is, indeed, very little doubt that the Premier would have cheerfully refrained from establishing any such invidious limitation as the Fifteen clause, had he not been afraid of unsettling the Public Mind. (12)
Besides the clause just referred to, others were inserted, by which intimidation was jealously and studiously guarded against; and a special enactment was introduced, prohibiting "any person or persons, society, club, association, or corporation" -- with the sole exception of the Birmingham Directorate -- "from coercing, bribing, threatening, or in any manner whatsoever persuading or enticing" the enfranchised youth, "under penalty of imprisonment for two years, with or without hard labour, but without the option of a fine.
It must be confessed that the Bill, of which we have thus given but a brief outline, was excessively moderate, and conceived in a spirit which undoubtedly reflected more honour on the prudence than on the enterprise of the framers of the measure. Such as it was, however, it was quickly carried. Urgency was voted; the clôture was applied pro formâ; the Senate duly registered its assent, and the mandate was at once issued. The measure had thus become the law of the land, and a dissolution ensued, with results which we shall describe and examine in another chapter.
Nowhere have these eternal truths been more forcibly and abundantly demonstrated than in Great Britain -- a nation which has loyally and unselfishly made her land the battle-field of the world in the perpetual contest between bigotry and enlightenment; and never has faith in the glorious principle of progress been more suddenly and forcibly stimulated than when England first gave political power to her youth!
The first effort of the new enfranchisement was curious, and to a certain degree unexpected. The youths of Britain constituted a class, and, like the members of any other class, had certain grievances and aspirations peculiar to themselves. The grievance upon which they seem now to have laid most stress was that of compulsory education; and their aspirations did not at first extend beyond the desire to obtain such a measure of power as should enable them to shake off the burden which mainly affected their social independence and happiness. The youths of both sexes soon formed a League, and established a central office in one of the suburbs of London. The subscriptions which speedily poured in, were at first in such small sums as to raise only a general smile; but soon afterwards, when the second balance-sheet of the association had been published, the public perceived that the organisers of the movement were being largely assisted by the purses of wealthy individuals whose direct interest in the objects of the League must have naturally ceased. It was whispered, indeed, that the bulk of the funds came from America, to which country most of the old "farmers" had repaired, in order to better those fortunes which the rigour and inclemency of the English climate had so extensively reduced. But no matter whence the members of the League derived their supplies, those supplies continued to flow in; and after the association had been established for just three years, its organisation was so complete, its ramifications were so extended, and the zeal and enterprise of its promoters so unremitting, that the Ministers of the Commonwealth were forced to acknowledge that, in conceding to the youth of England recognition as a class in the body politic, they had inevitably paved the way towards recognising also the justice of whatever demands for self-government the new class might make, so long always as those demands were accompanied by acts of sufficient importance to demonstrate the strength and intensity of the movement. (14)
The first public admission of this change of attitude on the part of the Minister was not made until some months after the Premier's sudden announcement of a general election. The course of this electoral campaign was distinguished by the commission of sundry acts of violence, perpetrated in almost every case by duly accredited members of the League. Now the victims of these outrages were nearly all of them schoolmasters, Government inspectors, and others whose avowed interest in the maintenance of law and order was at once seen to be purely selfish and personal, and whose professed attachment to the newly instituted form of Government was, moreover, open to very grave suspicion. (15) It was determined, and wisely and boldly determined, that they should be left to shift for themselves; that, in the old form of words which the Chancellor of the Duchy had many years before made famous, they must "stew in their own juice." (16)The Reformers were in the meantime appeased with certain portions of the salaries which had formerly been handed in bulk to their oppressors; and in order that the conciliatory intentions of the Government might be the more manifest, the task of reducing these salaries, and of administering the balance which thus accrued, was intrusted [sic] to some of the most prominent members of the League.
But this hollow comedy did not last for long; nor was it the intention of the Ministry that it should. The elections resulted in the return of a numerous and powerful body of youths, all pledged to the accomplishment of that one engrossing end which the League still kept steadfastly in view -- namely, the repeal of the Compulsory Education Act. Negotiations were now opened between the Ministers of the Commonwealth and the disaffected youth, but with very unsatisfactory results; and at length the members of the League took the decisive step of burning or wrecking, on the same night, upwards of fifteen hundred Board Schools in various towns and rural districts. This bold but salutary stroke, although it involved immense losses of private as well as public property, at once put an end to all narrow and spurious opposition, and enabled the Government to make a peaceful and timely concession to the cause of progress and universal emancipation. "Your patience and your courage," said the Premier in a public address which he delivered soon after the occurrence which we have just recorded, "should be examples not only to the youths who follow in your footsteps, and to the immediately future members of this Commonwealth, but also to that great race, whatever it may be, which has in its hands the ultimate control of the world's destinies in ages yet unborn." (17) The obnoxious Education Act was formally repealed, and the arbitrary and feudal calling of the pedagogue banished to the limbo of obsolete privileges.
The League bore the honours of this victory with remarkable and even astonishing moderation. Not only did the enfranchised youths abstain from all vain exultation, but they signalised the triumph of their cause by an act of unparalleled self-denial. Their representatives in Parliament resigned their seats in a body; and, followed by their supporters, withdrew from the commotions of public life, and retired to their homes, there to pass the residue of their young days in a dignified ease, which befitted their tastes and years far better than did the feverish bustles and contentions of a political career. This line of conduct was at once honourable to those by whom it was followed, and gratifying in the main to the friends of progress. Among the latter, however, were some who did not scruple to express their gratitude at having been saved from some vague danger, which they naively described as "the too logical result of the views they had grown accustomed to hold"; and a few professed Radicals even ventured to revive discussions on the exploded and retrograde doctrine of Finality, which course of conduct was eagerly applauded by the few remaining adherents of the old Tory party, who, as usual declared, with their customary pathetic fervour, that the Commonwealth was leading the people to Anarchy and Destruction.
But the great heart of the Liberal party was not to be terrified by the disaffection of a weak and inconsiderable minority within its ranks, nor deterred by the frantic menaces and ill-timed execrations of a discredited faction without, from the steady pursuit of those wise and beneficent aims to which consistency plainly pointed. (18) The reply of the popular leaders, when they were unsparingly taunted with not having any policy, was at once manly and ingenuous, and has not yet been forgotten. "Our policy," said they, "is Progress; and if we do seem to halt for a few moments in our course, be assured that it is only in order to take breath, so that we may presently proceed on our journey with increased vigour, and by leaps and bounds."
But it is necessary that we should describe a spectacle which was at this time attracting crowds of every age and every degree of culture. The old fondness which in England once prevailed for barbarous and brutal exhibitions, had for several years past given place to a taste for more refined displays, which should appeal to the intellect rather than to the passions; and this wholesome change in the popular sentiment had been of late greatly stimulated by the extraordinary merit of some of the entertainments with which the public of London had been provided. Of these, the foremost, both in excellence and favour, was the Westminster exhibition of a tribe of Oran Otani, as they were termed, who had been induced to leave their home in Borneo and visit this country, "not," it was alleged, "to gratify the morbid curiosity of idle sight-seers; still less with any hope of pecuniary gain to themselves or anyone else; but solely in order to enlighten the candid and liberal minds of those who seek after the truth, and to re-establish between two great races those intimate and cordial relations which bigotry and superstition have unfortunately, for some time past, interrupted." Now it would certainly appear, at first sight, that in claiming for these interesting, intelligent, yet presumably half-savage beings, a status entirely different to any that their numerous predecessors had ever in modern times been suffered to enjoy, the controllers of the enterprise had undertaken a bold and even desperate task. Upon further reflection, however, it will be readily granted that this attempt to overcome a prejudice, which was already, in truth, nearly exploded, was not only creditable to the good sense of its originators, but also in perfect harmony with the progressive spirit of the age. The people, moreover, had been gradually induced to perceive that the opinions so stoutly maintained by some of the most thoughtful men of the day as to the original connection between the human and the Simian races, were not to be disposed of by mere contradiction or intolerant ridicule. The people had not yet forgotten the teachings of Darwin; and they may have remembered that he was now resting, in peace and dignity, close to that building which was now the temporary home of those to whom he had first extended the hand of fellowship. They may have recollected also that he was followed to his grave, not only by philosophers who had derided his views, but by eminent divines from whom his famous theory had met with the most furious reprobation. Again, had not other alien races been once despised -- nay, even slaughtered? And now, were not some of the brightest ornaments of the English Bar these same abhorred "blackamoors"? And did not millions of English as well as Dutch men, women, and children bear allegiance to a dynasty of negroes whom we had once contemptuously handed over into slavery? The time had surely passed for permitting considerations of race, creed, or colour to act as artificial obstacles to any recognition which true merit might seek to claim!
Reflections such as these were doubtless prevalent in the public mind when the little band of Oran Otani first began to attract general attention. And, upon the whole, we feel justified in saying that the people of England were not only eager to give their visitors a cordial and respectful reception, but also perfectly willing to listen to the proposals which they brought with them, and to give to those proposals -- however novel they might be -- the largest and most generous consideration possible. (20) To this friendly attitude on the part of the British public, however, one important stipulation was, as it were, attached. The Bornean delegates would have to prove that they were in earnest. (21) If, after setting forth that their mission was purely disinterested and philanthropic, they should lay themselves open to the charge of having concealed other less worthy intentions, then it would behove the people of this country to stamp such conduct with the whole weight of the national censure. This feeling of reserve was perfectly intelligible. The English people could not forget how, only some fifty years before, they had been misled and confounded by certain representatives of the Irish race, who, under merely perfunctory pressure, had shrunk from persevering in their plans by those methods which they had been plainly promised would ultimately be allowed to succeed. Now the former "Home-Rulers" and the present Simian delegates had much in common. Both were warm-hearted, impulsive, and fond of contention, and both were labouring under somewhat similar disadvantages. But they differed in at least one essential particular. The Irish had asked to be released from every tie which bound them to the English nation; and the request was made in such a half-hearted manner as to evoke an opposition which it took several years to overcome. (22) The demand which the Simian delegates sought to enforce, however, was one which at once appealed to the English people's hearts. "They asked, to be permitted to fraternise with the whole human family, and especially with the English race; to enjoy with the English nation the advantages of civilisation; to share with the English people the blessings of freedom and equality; and to bear with them those trials and vicissitudes which they had hitherto been compelled to bear alone. (23) It was not likely that the people of a great and free Commonwealth would long resist such an appeal as this. But nevertheless, the populace for some time seemed slow to recognise the earnestness and good faith of the delegates; and although crowds flocked every day to their morning and evening receptions, those crowd appeared to be attracted far more by the pleasure they anticipated from the exhibition, than by the interest they felt in the movement of which the Oran Otani were the professed pioneers. This was still in a large measure the case, when the Premier, accompanied by the Vice-President of the Council, and the Attorney-General, in their search of relaxation visited the National Hall of Varieties; and the Ministers were surprised, and even shocked, to perceive that apathy with which the social and political aspects of the spectacle seemed to be regarded by the multitude of holiday sight-seers. But before proceeding any further, we shall endeavour to picture a reception at the Hall of Varieties, and to give some description of the personal appearance and characteristics of the Oran Otani.
The other male delegate was Pongat Won. He had only lately attained maturity, but was nevertheless precocious both in intellect and physical power. His demeanour was excessively gay and diverting; and, attired in a rich but very tasteful military undress, he seemed bent on winning the affection and goodwill of all with whom he came into contact.
The three female delegates were Jocki, Orani Jocka, and Piccanina Wou. Of these, the one whose name we have placed first was by far the most remarkable, both for personal charms and intellectual accomplishment. Jocki was then in her thirteenth year; and not only was it certain that she had been skilfully educated according to a standard hitherto supposed to be out of the reach of the Simian race, but a Bornean legend declared that she had in her infancy been abducted from a French traveller of the name of Michéle [sic], and was consequently entitled to be classed among the human species. Against the truth of this view, however, several important arguments were adduced, and notably two -- viz., that Jocki did not possess the gift of articulate speech, and that the formation of the thumbs and digits of her feet plainly proclaimed her Simian extraction. These representations seem to have been accepted as incontrovertible; but it would appear that the British people were at first ready to set aside the two questions of the original and the future connection between the two great races, and were only eager to show their admiration for a fascinating and talented being, as she was, no matter what she had been, or what she might eventually become.(26)
There can be very little doubt that Jocki was by no means displeased to find herself the object of general homage and flattery amongst the strangers whose goodwill she had from the first designed to conciliate; but undoubtedly the gratification which she so naturally experienced arose from the prospect thus opened to her of succeeding in a great mission, and never, as some base voices had ungenerously alleged, from any unworthy sense of female triumph. In truth, she regarded the success of the exhibition of which she formed a most important unit, as only the means to a pure and lofty end -- the social emancipation of the whole Simian race.
We shall shortly have to say more as to this gifted and fascinating being, and the extraordinary influence which she exercised upon the public mind, then slowly awaking from the stupor of whole generations of sleep. For the present, two other members of the mission remain to be briefly described. Orani Jocka was Orong's favourite wife. Her age at the time with which we are dealing has not been positively ascertained, but it is supposed that she was the oldest of all the delegates, and her age probably exceeded that of Orong by about six years. Her figure was infirm and decrepit; her hair almost entirely grey and the only clothing which she affected was a single coarse blanket, which contrasted very forcibly with the gay and elaborate attire of Jocki. But the deep lines in Orani Jooka's face denoted much experience, much anxious thought, and many cares and reflections; and we can well understand, that although in bodily frame she had pleased the Simian climacteric, her mental powers were still at their zenith, and more than sufficiently vigorous to enable her to discharge the combined duties of a priestess and a physician. She seemed to be averse to much intercourse, and exceedingly sensitive to the cold. She generally sat at a little distance behind her husband's chair, and was assiduously attended by Piccanina Wou -- the sister of Pongat -- a pretty little creature, then only in her infancy.
From the description which we have thus given, and by our manner of giving it, it will at once be seen that the people of this country were face to face with a phenomenon for which previous history furnished no precise parallel. (27) The age which had delighted in "Chinese giants" and "Polish dwarfs," in "fat ladies" and "midgets," in "twoheaded nightingales" and "Siamese twins," had now given place to a generation which sought for recreative nutriment of a more sterling kind. This demand, like all similar demands, had evoked a corresponding supply, and it became necessary for the enlightened English people to show the sincerity of their conversion by stamping the product of their enlightenment with approval. It behoved them, in other words, to accept the full consequences of that change of attitude which they had gradually, deliberately, and wisely assumed, They had asked for novelty, novelty had been granted them, and they must be prepared to accept novel changes, even if those changes affected their social system and their national polity, in an unexpected manner.
Such were the reflections of every thinking Englishman who considered in its proper light the true significance of the Oran Otani incident. (28) It might mean little, and it might mean much. Events might prove that the Simian mission was nothing more than a gigantic species of advertisement, a mere consequence of the changed conditions of commercial enterprise; and, on the other hand, it might well be that England was on the verge of a new departure which would bear fruit in nothing less than the complete homogeneity of two mighty races. In either case, it was the duty of every intelligent lover of Progress to assume a posture of benevolent vigilance, of wary openness to conviction, so that when the time came for pronouncing a final opinion, it should not be in the power of malice itself to say that a great nation had been hurried by circumstances into taking a course opposed either to prudence or to consistency.
All this was just and reasonable; and it soon became apparent that the new Bill would encounter very little serious opposition. The Premier, however, perceived that its success would gain from public opinion but an infinitesimal instalment of those larger concessions for which he was really seeking; and indeed he seems to have felt uncertain whether the principle he sought to establish in his Game Act was sufficiently important to be counted as a link in the chain which he was forging. But he resolved to persevere; and he solaced himself with the reflection that one of the greatest of Liberal statesmen -- the grandest of the grand old school -- had often found his account in feigning anxiety over measures which possessed no actual consequence, except that they served to pass away the time and distract public attention.
We cannot refrain from expressing our deep admiration for the Premier's conduct at this period. He had to contend not only with the ordinary obstacles of ignorance and prejudice, which he was accustomed to surmount, but also with an entirely new phase of bigotry -- a fierce spirit of political satiety, which led men to say that they would offer an uncompromising resistance to nearly any proposals which he might initiate, merely because it seemed, forsooth, that the truly eternal principle of Progress had come into collision with the exploded doctrine of Finality! Well might the Premier exclaim, in a moment of passionate despondency, "I have no hope for my fellow-countrymen. None, unless my colleagues and I can educate them to a due sense of their responsibilities at this crisis." (32)
Fortunate was it for this country, fortunate was it for the world at large, that, at such a supreme juncture, the practical control of affairs was in the hands of one man who was not to be diverted from his master-purpose even by dangers the greatness of which he himself perceived! And happy was he to have in his counsels loyal and devoted men who were prepared to follow him wherever it might be his wise pleasure to go, all "without fear or favour, or any hope of reward." (33)
Now the motives which actuated the Premier's colleagues at this time have been variously explained; but we are content to assign to them one, and one only. They may have been chagrined by the prospect of having to retire into private life with their most cherished hopes thwarted, their fondest wishes for the good of their fellow creatures withered in decay; they may have preferred to dream of a new and great future which should permanently secure them the enjoyment of wealth and affluence. But their chief, and indeed their sole reason for clinging to their leader at this momentous crisis in the history of their country, was that in him they saw the visible embodiment of Expediency, which was the grand motive-power of the party to which they were proud to belong, of the nation which gloried in hailing them as her sons.
The attitude which the Premier now observed towards his followers was that of a dignified, an almost paternal, reserve. "For the people at large," he once told some of his more intimate supporters, "our policy is still Progress, pure and simple. For you I have a latent policy, which I shall unfold at the proper time. Let us then, for the present, concentrate our energies upon two or three simple questions of social and domestic reform, by which the public mind may be prepared for those subsequent changes which I myself clearly foresee are inevitable." (34) No further confidence than this was required to ensure a ready and enthusiastic response from the Premier's colleagues; and, so far as we can determine by direct information, no further confidence was granted. We may, however, very reasonably conjecture that the Premier had already imparted a hint as to his secret plans to the Vice-President of the Council, by whom his "latent policy" would have been no doubt highly commended, and warmly yet discreetly supported. (35)
The new Bill which dealt with the game laws, speedily evoked some very hearty and genuine expressions of approval from the constituencies. (36) No less than 40,000 petitions were presented in its favour; and the moral encouragement thus afforded to the Ministers enabled them to make the measure law in a space of time which would have excited the envy and amazement of former parliamentary generations. England now saw, with pleased astonishment, the assertion of a new and important principle, by which some of the most interesting and industrious creatures in the universe were in future to be recognised no longer as senseless and helpless subjects for persecution at the hands of brutal and thoughtless men, but as beings inwardly gifted with degrees of intelligence and power as diversified as the beautiful furs and plumage by which they were externally adorned.
The Premier was so elated with the success which had thus attended the first move towards the accomplishment of his latent policy, that he proceeded at once, and without hesitation, to take a second step, of graver importance and of more immediate consequence than the first. By the Sojourners' Act, which he now presented to Parliament, it was shortly and simply proposed to extend the franchise "to all Travellers and Sojourners who might be in Great Britain at the time of a general election." The Premier introduced the measure in a speech which was chiefly remarkable for a studied moderation, coupled with an almost careless brevity; but it was soon evident that the House considered itself taken by surprise, and entitled to discuss the Bill in a more ample fashion than that which the great democrat seemed, by his tactics, disposed to favour. Much speculation was rife in the lobbies as to the reasons which had led to the sudden introduction of an apparently important measure of electoral reform, which had not been even distantly foreshadowed in the Caucasian speech, and had not, so far as anyone could recall, been ever previously contemplated by the Birmingham authorities, the County Boards, the Land Commissioners, or, in fact, by any of the purely Liberal bodies which existed in different parts of the country. But soon a rumour was circulated to the effect that the Ministers had been compelled to formulate the Sojourners' Act by the increasing embarrassment of their position with regard to Liverpool. This constituency, with a stupid perversity which excited universal irritation and contempt, had now, for an uninterrupted period of twenty-two years, returned three Tory members to the House of Commons, where the total number of Tories was at this time only sixteen! It was suggested that the enfranchisement of a very large number of aliens might be expected to remedy this state of affairs. For although most of the foreign visitors at Liverpool came from America, a country which had of late years embraced monarchical institutions, it was thought that the very fact of their having deserted their native land argued that they were dissatisfied with the recent development of their home policy; and moreover, it was well known that the Americans, as a people, had always advocated for Great Britain that cause, whatever it might be, which most favoured the free importation of wheat, beef, machinery, and other Transatlantic commodities, to her shores.
Now, whether the true explanation of the Ministerial policy with regard to the Sojourners' Act lay in the position the Ministerial party occupied with regard to Liverpool, or whether the real reason was a different one which was still locked in the Premier's breast, suffice it to say, that the former solution was the one which the Ministers themselves -- though only by oblique hints, and certain indications of the head (37) -- chose to encourage, with the result that it was soon very generally accepted by the House and the people at large. It then became evident that the only serious opposition the new measure was likely to meet with would be at the hands of the Tories, of whom we shall now proceed to give some brief account, in order that the tactics which they observed with relation to the Sojourners' Act may be more clearly comprehended and more justly censured.
If we pause for a moment to realise the plain and indisputable fact that Continuity is one of Nature's own laws, we must perforce come to the conclusion, that a number of persons banded together for the sole purpose of constantly resisting all progress whatsoever, must be regarded not only as destitute of all the nobler human passions, but as devoid even of that primitive kind of intelligence to which we give the name of Natural Instinct. But the history of the world has repeatedly demonstrated the dangerous futility of confounding the moral worth of any hostile force with its physical capacity for doing mischief. We may leave the moral worth of the Tories to be judged, by simply recalling the fact that "Passive Obedience," and "Divine Right," "Protection," "Empire," "Property," and "Religion," had been their most cherished doctrines, until they were completely conquered upon each of those questions, nearly in the order in which we have given them. But if we examine the physical capacity of the Tories for doing mischief, we find that the world's progress -- and notably the progress of England -- was from time to time most grievously impeded by the vigour with which these enemies of the human race rallied to their unhallowed standards, in their desperate and illogical efforts to avert the inevitable. The passionate ardour with which they contended for "Passive Obedience" and the "Divine Right of kings," not only undid all the work which Cromwell had accomplished in the seventeenth century, but threw England back into the arms of monarchical slavery for a period of nearly two and a half centuries. The zeal with which the Tories fought for "Protection," though it providentially caused an irreparable division in their own forces, enabled them to maintain Great Britain, for several years, in a position of most invidious prosperity; to retard the much-needed extinction of the farmers for a period of fifty years; and to delay the beneficent advance of the Commercial Democracy for a length of time which greatly impeded the rapid acquisition of those colossal fortunes which laid the foundation of the American throne. The clamour which the Tories raised for "Empire" not only prevented the French from moulding the nations of continental Europe into one homogeneous whole, but caused a considerable delay in the due amalgamation of Turkey and India with the mighty land of the Muscovites. We may well despise the passion for "Empire" which distinguished the Tory party for at least a century; but the results of that fatal ardour we cannot affect to disregard, when we remember that the wars to which they directly led, immersed this country in a debt of over £1,400,000,000, and caused thousands of delicately nurtured Scottish ladies and gentlemen to shelter themselves from the rigour of the northern climate in wretched hovels containing little more accommodation than that which was afforded by a single room! The cry of the Tories for "Property" was the main cause of all those troubles into which the innocent Irish people were ruthlessly driven; and there can be little doubt that if the Party of Progress had not been for several years coerced and intimidated into a course of slavish concession to the demands of a race of coroneted ghouls, who neither toiled nor span, the State of Erin would never have sought, and would never have been granted, the shelter of an alien flag. As for "Religion," who can question the lamentable truth, that the hold which that illiberal system still retained on the minds of many intelligent creatures, would have been long ago relaxed, but for the exertions of these faithful Tories, who, with an audacious enthusiasm worthy of a better cause, entangled even their political foes in the proselyting [sic] meshes of their net? True it was, and is, that "Religion" and "Passive Obedience," to a certain extent mean the same thing. Now the Tories have always contended that the "Divine Right" of their kings, is the proper symbol of the supreme right of the King of all kings; and in so doing they have placed their opponents in the dilemma of being plainly inconsistent. Neither the Puritans of the seventeenth century, nor the Whigs and Liberals of the eighteenth and nin[e]teenth centuries, nor even the Simiocrats of the present day, have ever been induced unanimously to perceive and admit that the deliberate recognition of a spiritual monarchy is wholly incompatible with the ultimate repudiation of all notions of earthly monarchy. When the Tory appealed to his New Testament for the sanction contained in the words, "Fear God, and honour the king," the distressed Puritan would reply with a quotation from the Old Testament, and by it seek to prove that to desire a king at all was a crime in the eight of Heaven. When the Tory cited the passage which enjoins the "giving unto Cæsar the things which are Cæsar's," the puzzled Whig would shake his empty skull, and answer that the meaning of the words should not be accepted too literally. And in the present day, when the occasional fanatic is brought face to face with the mighty opposition of science, he does not hesitate to advance his two favourite arguments of the "first cause" and the "small still voice" within him.
Surely, then, we must admit that the capacity of the Tories for doing mischief -- the effects of which, in at least one important respect, we have felt down to the present time -- has always been wholly out of proportion to that moral worth which we have not stooped to discuss. Seeing, however, that the policy of the Tories has nearly always been one of resistance rather than aggression -- and that there has always been in the world a great scarcity of leaders duly gifted with that quality of patient vigilance which is so highly essential to the success of a defensive policy, -- it has very happily followed that the Tories have often been compelled to remain for long periods in a state of sullen and sluggish inactivity, until the arrival of some duly qualified leader upon the scene has recalled them to a mischievous alertness, in much the same manner that hunger compels the sloth to quit his hold upon the bough that has fed him, and seek by laborious climbing, a fresh station, where he may once more batten in peace. Sometimes the advent of the Tory general has been so long delayed, that the garrisons which he has been destined to relieve have been reduced to the very verge of capitulation and extinction. But alas! his coming, though it has often been retarded, has never yet been looked for absolutely in vain; and the existence of this fearful and mysterious law has been illustrated in quite recent times. The Tories had not long bemoaned the death of William Pitt -- a spendthrift prodigal whose name our grandfathers could never mention without a shudder, -- when the hopes of the party, became enthusiastically fixed upon Sir Robert Peel. This Minister was the first conspicuous Tory who perceived that an apparent adherence to the policy of Progress and Reform might be made to contribute to the ultimate success of social retrogression, and the consolidation of every sort of political abuse. Earnestly believing that the surest way of eventually abolishing the Habeas Corpus Act, and the right of trial by jury, was to enact laws which should make the existence of those privileges appear ludicrous, and, moreover, dangerous to the public safety, he commenced, in 1827, the task of systematically relaxing the stringency of the criminal code. The first effect of this crafty piece of policy did not justify the expectations of the English Machiavelli. Executions became less frequent, but the number of crimes did not substantially increase. Peel, nevertheless, did not scruple to feign the extremity of alarm on behalf of the community for whose safety, as Secretary of State for the Home Department, he considered himself responsible. Then, without a blow, and almost without a murmur, the metropolis of Great Britain was suddenly filled with a disciplined army of spies, who perfectly understood that their surest road to promotion and emolument lay in a slavish obedience to the behests of the imperious Tory. Peel was assisted in the accomplishment of his tortuous policy by the Duke of Wellington, at that time Premier; a gloomy and ambitious soldier who had become dangerously elated by his victories over the French in Spain and Belgium, and the applause which those successes had obtained for him at home. (39) It is most probable, however, that the actual designs of Sir Robert Peel, his colleague and afterwards his chief, were never made known to Wellington, whose warlike instincts rendered him incapable of conducting any of the more delicate operations of political and diplomatic intrigue; and as Peel did not choose to confide his real intentions to anyone, he was forced to carry out his scheme of doing good that evil might result, without any really cordial help from any one, and with no other force than that of his own powerful and original will, which was sufficiently strong to extort a mechanical obedience from his followers for several years, until in 1846, when, having vainly demanded a full exposition of his policy, they deserted him. Peel himself died a few years later. The designs which he had harboured for the destruction of English liberty, and the substitution of arbitrary power in its place, were buried with him; and it is only just to admit that he left behind him the memory of a great, a highly gifted, and most enlightened statesman, anxious to preserve the old landmarks of the Constitution, yet zealous for the public good, and eager himself to direct the accomplishment of those reforms which he knew to be inevitable, yet dreaded to see carried out under the auspices of his opponents, whom he regarded as enemies to the national cause.
With the death of Peel, the Tories were reduced to their old periodical strait of being without a leader; and they had the additional mortification of seeing a man whom nature seemed to have marked with all the evil badges by which they were wont to recognise their destined commander, co-operating with the enemy's forces. (40) They were compelled then to place themselves under the nominal guidance of a statesman of only the second rank, and to continue in that situation, until, by that never-failing law to which we have already adverted, their torpid energies and fainting hearts were again restored by the appearance of a brilliant and capable adviser, who was in many respects exactly suited to cope with the difficulties of the hour.
We must digress a little further in order to describe this weird and unique figure in political history. We shall then be able to show more clearly, and more fully, the position which the parliamentary Tories occupied when they made their last obstinate stand to resist the passing of that great measure which was to prove the inception of Simiocracy.
It was the favourite boast of Disraeli that he had "educated his party"; and on the whole we believe that he was justified in making that boast. We question, however, whether, during the period of instruction, he was not simultaneously engaged in teaching himself; and whether -- in the case to which his boast bore special reference -- he did not make his party the corpus vile of a highly dangerous experiment, the success of which considerably surpassed any expectations which he may have previously formed. To return to the ordinary language of fact, the chief lesson which the Tories learnt from their new leader was this -- that an active policy had become vitally necessary, and that the old plan of simply resisting, protesting, and then yielding, could no longer succeed. The Tory party had hitherto existed for the main purpose of preserving the privileges of the Sovereign, the Church, and the Aristocracy. But these privileges had meanwhile been extended to a very large body of the people; Disraeli insisted that this circumstance must be no longer ignored; and we cannot doubt that, but for his counsel, the virtual extinction of the Tories would have been accomplished more than half a century ago. But it is not our intention to go back into matters of history any further than is necessary for our immediate purpose. In many emergencies, upon several questions, and in an infinite number of ways, the brilliant Tory leader proved the value of his views as to Tory policy; and during his lifetime he led his followers to victories of which, in previous times, under other generalship, they would have scarcely dared to dream.
At his death he bequeathed to them little more than his memory and his example. The professional maxims of government, which he had successfully inculcated, were now public property; but the secret rules which had guided him in the application of those maxims to the ever-changing conditions of political warfare, were not transferable, and had perished with him. For some time the country heard wails and lamentations in the Tory camp; and particular attention was attracted by the cries which proceeded from a certain quarter where the "mantle of Elijah" was alleged to have fallen. That mantle had indeed descended upon more than one pair of strong shoulders, and had moreover enveloped in its ample folds the entire figure of a young and talented statesman, who was at this time struggling to gain the sole and undisputed possession of the coveted garment. To him success did at last come; or rather he at length succeeded in emerging from his entanglement, clad in a serviceable cape which he had fashioned out of the materials of his former leader's shroud. He was greatly favoured by circumstances. For the wholesome legislation which deprived him of a pocket constituency, at the same time drove his most potent rival to America to seek a fortune, and so left him to face but one competitor, whose health had become so undermined by the constant strain of a position which he had never heartily liked, that he was glad to withdraw from the bustle of public life, and to leave Elisha, as the younger statesman was now called, to the thankless, difficult, and almost hopeless task of inspiriting the shattered battalions of the Tories for the renewal of their Quixotic strife.
From the leadership of Benjamin Disraeli, Earl of Beaconsfield, (41) to that of Elisha, the leap seemed at first sight prodigious; and that troublesome class of men which devotes all its collective intelligence to the institution of comparisons between the ways of the present and of the past, found congenial and abundant occupation in pointing out the swift and terrible decadence which had befallen, not only the Tory party, but our whole parliamentary system. It is now, however, very generally admitted, that if the Tories had not been so slow in giving their allegiance to the only man who was capable of leading them, they might have postponed, for a considerable time, some of that legislation which was most distasteful to their sentiments. But the interregnum which ensued upon the collapse of the Tory duumvirate, extended over a period which was marked by at least two events disastrous to the Conservative cause; and the establishment of a Commonwealth, the enfranchisement of the Youth, and several other measures of democratic legislation, were carried by the Party of Progress in the face of only the faintest opposition from the ordinary source. The Tories were terribly weak in numbers, and nothing could counterbalance that disparity except some bold and original line of conduct, initiated, fostered, and controlled by one man, who could rely upon implicit obedience from his followers. At length, as we have shown, such a man arose; and the first battle for which Elisha marshalled his scanty forces was that which arose upon the famous Sojourners' Act -- a measure, quietly and even secretly conceived, and introduced without the smallest unnecessary ostentation, (42) yet destined to be one of the most important which had ever been enrolled on the Statute-book of the British Parliament.
When the debate on the second reading had fairly commenced, it became abundantly evident that the House had no intention of seriously considering the grand argument to which the unfortunate Tories clung with the tenacity of despair. "Their apprehensions," the Attorney-General remarked, "were so fantastic, so wholly, manifestly, and incontrovertibly absurd and chimerical, that he would not insult the intelligence of the House and of the country by stooping to give them more than a moment's examination. He would, however, say this much, -- that even supposing those apprehensions to be logically well founded -- even assuming that the responsible Ministers of the Commonwealth did contemplate the extension of certain human privileges and human rights to the Simian delegates who were at present the guests of the English nation -- he did not envy the condition of mind which could see in such a circumstance any just pretence for obstructing the business of the House, and seeking to cast discredit upon an Administration which had been launched into power by the almost unanimous will of the people." (45) As he uttered these words, the attention of the House began to be distracted by an event then taking place in one of the galleries overhead; and the cheers which greeted the concluding phrase of his speech, were almost drowned in the laughter occasioned by the arrival of Pongat Wou in the Strangers' Gallery. It was afterwards ascertained, almost beyond dispute, that his introduction to the House at this particular moment, was a tactical stroke, connived at, if not positively contrived, by no less a person than the Tory leader, who fancied by this means to advance a visible and irrefutable argument in favour of the views which he professed to hold. But if this was the case, the result of the manúuvre did not at all justify his expectations. The humour of the situation was irresistible; the House was just in the mood for a joke; and when one of the Tories directed the Speaker's attention to the presence of "a strange beast in one of the galleries," he was curtly informed that the expression he had used was unparliamentary. Nevertheless, it was clearly evident that to prolong the debate any further was undesirable, and indeed impossible; and in accordance with the general sense of the House, the question was forthwith put and carried. And thus was the measure safely piloted through one of the most laughable, and at the same time most memorable, second readings, ever recorded in the annals of Parliament.
We must now turn to the consideration of the effect which these proceedings had upon the public mind. In the first place, the Sojourners' Bill, pure and simple, was generally regarded by the nation as a plain measure of justice designed for the benefit of a large and highly deserving class which had hitherto suffered, with a rare patience and uncomplaining fortitude, from a grievance which must in truth have been wellnigh intolerable. (46) The general public cared little as to the Ministerial exigencies which might or might not have led to the introduction of the measure; it cared still less for the effect which the measure might have on such a retrograde constituency as that of Liverpool. What public opinion and the public sense of justice required was, that honest and peaceable foreign travellers should no longer be deprived of those rights which were obviously designed for the enjoyment of every rational being who trod the British soil. With regard to the allegation that an "outrage on humanity" was designed, it was enough for the people that that allegation came from the Tories; and quite apart from this, the strong sense of humour which distinguished the operative sections of the community was rather tickled at the notion of Orong Api, Pongat Wou, and Madame Jocki being objects of terror to the enemies of progress; and although it would be an exaggeration to say that the Simian delegates had, as yet, many active sympathisers in this country, it is nevertheless certain that the general feeling entertained for them throughout England -- and especially London -- was one of careless benevolence, which might at any time be converted into a warmer and more valuable sentiment.
The people, therefore, saw with considerable satisfaction the new Bill passed through a second reading; and the popular voice heartily endorsed the course which the Ministry subsequently pursued when they voted urgency for the measure, and having carried it through every stage of rapid progress, sent it on to the Senate attached to a Money Bill which was extemporised for the purpose. Meantime the Tories were frantic in their denunciations. They insisted, according to their usual practice, that the Constitution had been violated. They declared that they were gifted with a sort of second-sight which enabled them to predict the speedy fall of the Commonwealth, and the eventual subjugation of the whole human race. The Premier wrote from his sick-bed at Windsor to remonstrate with them. They treated his courteous chiding with insolence and ribald vituperation. When the solemn vote of the House of Commons declared the measure to be urgent, they left the House in a body, and repaired to one of their clubs, vowing vengeance, and declaring that the time for words had gone by. The Premier, notwithstanding the treatment he had received from them, began now to make earnest overtures for a reconciliation. His chief motive for so doing may have been public expediency -- the desire to save the public peace from disturbance at the hands of desperate and unscrupulous men; but we may also fairly assume that he felt some pity, and perhaps some prickings of conscience, when he saw and unwillingly recognised in his exasperated opponents, evidence of an intelligence and foresight considerably more advanced than those of his own supporters. However this may have been, the Tories would not listen to him. They had said that "the time for words had gone by." Words were accordingly no longer wasted; and to the eternal disgrace of the Tory party -- to the lasting infamy, especially, of the Tory leader -- a deed of most heinous guilt was forthwith decided upon, and soon afterwards accomplished. A thrill of generous horror tingles our frames even to this day, when we celebrate the mournful anniversary of Orong Api's base and cowardly murder. We will not sully our pen by recording the revolting details; but rather hasten to the more congenial task of describing the stupendous retribution which befell the assassins, and through them, the whole of that "humanity" which they had disgraced.
The Ministry could not affect to ignore the importance of the agitation, and we are persuaded that the Premier himself regarded it with unmixed complacency. Before quitting the retirement of his sick-chamber at Windsor, he received a large and influential deputation of gentlemen interested in the Simian cause. He seems to have treated their representations with very marked attention and courtesy; and when he returned to his post in Parliament, he lost no time in announcing his readiness to bow to the popular voice, to the utmost extent which his sense of duty would warrant. At first he proposed something in the nature of a bargain. A statute was to be passed by which the social status of the Simian race in regard to the penal code was to be distinctly defined; but in the meantime the perpetrators of the late outrage were to be left to the probable punishment which the faulty state of the existing law secured for them -- viz., the payment of heavy damages on the completion of a civil action to be forthwith instituted against them, and the pain of imprisonment at the suit of a society which had already undertaken to prosecute them for cruelty. But public opinion was not in the mood to listen to any talk of a compromise. Stern and unrelenting justice was vehemently demanded, and in no qualified language. The Ministry wavered. It was supposed that the Premier inclined to the course recommended by the Ministerial press and the supporters of the policy of Progress out of doors; and we are fully convinced that supposition was correct. On the other hand, it was believed that the Chancellor, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the President of the Board of Trade, were in favour of less sweeping action. Be that as it may, the irresolution of the Cabinet was speedily ended by two events which proved beyond dispute the futility of attempting to decide the question at issue by any half measures. The sister of Pongat Wou, little Piccanina, was one night waylaid on her journey from the Hall of Varieties to the house where she and the other delegates lodged, and, in spite of the exertions of an escort of two detectives, was mercilessly beaten with cutting whips, and left nearly dead with pain and terror by her cowardly and unmanly assailants, who immediately escaped in a private carriage. On the same day, Orani Jocka, whose old age and physical infirmities might have excited some pity in the most callous breast, narrowly escaped being poisoned. She was in the habit of receiving fruit, of which she was extremely fond, from several of the persons who attended the receptions of the delegates; and an apple which had been handed to her in such a manner as to arouse the suspicions of the interpreter, having been seized and subjected to analysis, was found to contain a large quantity of prussic acid.
These two attempts, each of them providentially unsuccessful, were announced at one and the same time, and we can well imagine the storm of anger which was excited. Indignation meetings were held in every part of the country. The Tory members, who were already suspected of being concerned in all the three outrages which had taken place, were attacked by a mob, pelted, and subjected to much rough usage. No member who was thought to be opposed to a completely Simiophile policy escaped without some sort of molestation; and even the Cabinet Ministers themselves, as they hastened to Council, were threatened with violence. Salutary measures were now taken to allay the general excitement, and to reassure the public mind.
A Bill was introduced, and in six hours passed, by which it was declared "that the same legal privileges and legal protection which had hitherto been enjoyed only by men, women, and children living or sojourning in Great Britain, or in any part of the British possessions, should thenceforth be extended to certain Simian delegates named in the schedule; and to such other parties whose names might from time to time be annexed to, or included in, the said schedule, by direction of the Secretary of State." This enactment was at once so simple and so comprehensive that criticism was disarmed and stultified. (49) The charge which a few irreconcilable opponents of the measure persisted in advancing, "that the Bill had been dictated by panic, the offspring of incompetence," was manifestly absurd. (50) It was surely impossible to sustain the allegation that a great and thoughtful people had been intimidated by the attitude of four humble and almost defenceless beings who could neither read, write, nor speak! Moreover, the only words in the Act which could possibly be interpreted as implying a general concession to the Simian race, were those contained in the permissive clause, which bore reference to a future state of affairs, for which none but a future Ministry could justly be held responsible.
The only question yet remaining to be seriously discussed, was whether or no[t] the new Bill should be made retrospective in its operation; whether, in short, the new law should be so framed as to secure the criminal conviction of Orong Api's assassins, men already branded as heinous sinners. Now the preliminary difficulty of securing these offenders was already on the highroad to solution. The Home Secretary had offered reward of one thousand pounds for the discovery of Orong Api's murderers, and had furthermore promised sums of seven hundred and fifty, and five hundred pounds, in connection with the two other less serious outrages. It was pretty generally known that these liberal proposals had elicited manly and patriotic overtures of response from more than one reliable quarter; and, it was even whispered that a valet recently discharged by one of the Parliamentary Tories, or "Tishbites," was ready to turn informer, providing that his own personal safety and the salvation of the Commonwealth could thereby be assured at one and the same time. But an almost morbid fondness for moderation had of late characterised the policy of the dominant faction, and the disease seems to have infected the Premier in a most remarkable manner. (51) On more than one occasion, and in more than one place, he asserted that he could be no party to any course which savoured of the spirit of revenge; and, in the end he plainly said that the Ministry would take its stand on the platform of a wise and consistent clemency. In this decision he was presently fortified by a Caucusian [sic] mandate, which exhaustively declared the reasons which necessitated the conclusion of an amnesty with the Tory party in regard to all past offences. After a slight show of resistance on some minor details, the people accepted the views which had been thus authoritatively set before them; and thus did the world at large once more witness in England -- the home of moderation -- the accomplishment of an almost bloodless revolution, which at once gave a wholesome and drastic stimulus to the beneficent cause of Progress.
Now we have at our disposal a whole mass of evidence to prove that the social world was ready to bear a part in loyally accepting that condition of things which had now become inevitable. And the presumption that such was, generally speaking, the case, is, we think, sufficiently established by the particular instance which we have cited. When even Tories felt ashamed of the narrow and invidious sentiments with which they had heretofore regarded the delegates, we cannot doubt that the Liberals of society were boiling over with zeal to see accorded to their once persecuted, but now emancipated guests, the largest, the most comprehensive, the most generous social recognition. (57) But the society at large was soon busied in an event of far greater importance than the receptions of a wealthy and popular Minister; and the two delegates, whose faces had grown so familiar to the frequenters of the London salons, were now called upon to discharge their duty as citizens.
We may readily conjecture that with such an enormous infusion of new, and hence incalculable, power into the political system of the nation, the elections were now watched with intense eagerness and curiosity. In some quarters a vague feeling of reactionary alarm appears to have prevailed; but, upon the whole, the people seem to have awaited the course of events with that sturdy and robust confidence which in times of supreme moment has always distinguished the national character. (59) It was doubtless true, as the Tories and Opportunists urged, that if all the newly enfranchised elements chose to combine for the purpose of voting in support of any particular men or measures, the result might be injurious and even fatal to the best interests of the Commonwealth; but this was merely argument based upon assumption; and the actual state of affairs offered the plainest, the most undeniable proof, that a foreign combination hostile to the Ministry which had just dissolved Parliament, was one of the last dangers which this country had any reason to dread. Direct evidence of this fact was soon forthcoming in the action of the Russian Ambassador, who repaired in semi-state to one of the polling-booths, and there recorded his vote in favour of the Birmingham candidates who had been sent to contest the borough of Chelsea, -- an example which was immediately followed by the whole staff of secretaries, attachés, and domestic servants connected with the Embassy. The foreign merchants, too, distinguished themselves by actively supporting the Ministerial party, not only by their votes -- of which they made no secret -- but also by other methods which the laws of the land forbade them to publish; and their exertions may well have put to shame the great body of British traders, who at this crisis made themselves conspicuous by observing towards the popular cause an attitude of sullen and inexplicably bitter animosity. The seamen of the various ships, British and foreign, came on shore in very large numbers; and seem to have very generally availed themselves of the privilege, either prescribed or suggested, by the recent mandate which had established a "liberty day" for all sailors who might express the desire to discharge their duty as citizens. (60) It has never, however, been conclusively determined how they voted, or whether, indeed, the bulk of them voted at all; and it is mainly upon this body of electors that the unfortunate stigma must rest of having blotted the fair fame of England with sundry acts of wayward and capricious violence, which in more than one of the seaport towns approached the proportions of a general riot. (61)
It could not, however, have been reasonably expected that the first practical trial of such a drastic and even revolutionary measure as the Sojourners' Act should have passed off without a certain degree of friction; and we must here express our own respectful wonder at the exemplary behaviour of the masses at the period which we are describing; nor can we refrain from bestowing special praise on the Irish Pilgrims, whose conduct, contrary to the anticipation of many thoughtful men, was exceedingly orderly and temperate, and almost inconsistent with the notion that beneath it lay concealed an implacable hatred towards the British race.
But it now behoves us to turn our attention to what was being done at this time by another newly enfranchised class -- namely, the Bornean delegates. Their attitude would have led the casual observer to suppose that, being amply satisfied with the moral fruits of their recent conquest, they were determined to refrain from any further active agitation; that, in a word, they were doing nothing. Pongat Wou had certainly recorded his vote; and the public curiosity as to the precise means by which he had done so had been successfully baffled, though not altogether appeased; (62) but Jocki had, at the last moment, pleaded indisposition, and she was now, in the Isle of Wight, enjoying, under medical advice, a brief respite from the labours of a brilliant but exceedingly onerous London "season," As for Orani Jocka, the widow of the late chieftain -- and Piccanina Wou, sister to Pongat, -- both of them had returned to their native country some weeks before the announcement of a dissolution, Orani Jocka, it was alleged, had felt slighted by the marked attention which certain other members of the mission had received, to her exclusion; Piccanina, it was supposed, had never quite recovered either from the bodily or the mental effects of the brutal usage to which she had been subjected; and neither of these two delegates, it was decided, interested herself any more in the great work which had originally attracted the mission to England. Yet in truth no plotters were ever more busy; and we shall presently perceive, not only that Jocki, in her marine retreat, was in active and constant communication with Pongat Wou upon matters of most vital moment -- but that the aged Orani Jocka had only left these shores in order to return with arguments more cogent than the mere abstract merit of a great and noble cause.
In the meantime the elections proceeded. The ballot-boxes were sealed,
and forwarded to their several destinations. The votes were counted; the
various results were duly announced; and the Premier found that in place
of a vast and docile majority for the Ministerial faction, the state of
affairs stood thus:--
|Nominees of the Caucus||204|
|Tories and Opportunists||67|
|Independent anti-Simian Radicals, and Tory Democrats||179|
|Estimated majority against the Government||309
Now the first and most obvious thought which must strike us when we examine the above figures, is this. Either the strength and intensity of the Simiophile movement up to the time of the general election must have been artificially represented to have been infinitely greater than they really were -- a supposition which we may at once dismiss as being absurd; or else very many supporters of the movement, both inside and outside Parliament, must have been guilty of shameless dishonesty, and criminal disloyalty to the majesty of the people, in pusillanimously abandoning their principles at a time when firm allegiance to those principles was plainly essential to the Commonwealth. (64) But it is useless now to speculate as to the causes which led to the complete stultification of English public opinion in the eyes of the civilised world. And the contemplation of a nation's depravity must ever be disheartening and unprofitable, alike to the chronicler and to the student of that nation's history, We prefer, therefore, to call attention to one particular bright spot which in this dark hour of supreme trial shone forth like a beacon to animate the hopes of the great Liberal party, and to inspire the disciples of Progress with fresh energy and confidence. The result of the recent general election was, from a purely technical point of view, a defeat; but considered from a broader standpoint, was not that defeat in truth equivalent to a great moral victory? We think that it was. Nay, more. We make bold to say that the pioneers of any vast and comprehensive measure of reform which has ultimately proved successful, have ever met with rebuffs at the outset of their travels; and that hence the first obstacle encountered in the path of such measures should be regarded as nothing more than an established and duly recognised finger-post, which does not bid the wayfarer to pause, still less to turn, but merely tells him that he is going in the right direction, and has only to persevere in order to reach his proper destination. Moreover, if we examine, from a purely technical point of view, the result of the first Simiophile campaign in Great Britain, we shall find that the friends of a reactionary policy had very little substantial gain of which they could even pretend to boast. The Ministry had been defeated, and was now in a potential minority in the House of Commons; but the ancient right of forbidding such a Ministry to continue to perform the duties of Government had been swept away, never to be revived. The right of THE PEOPLE to be represented from one year's end to another by those servants whom THE PEOPLE had once, and for all, deliberately intrusted with power, was plainly indefeasible, unalienable, and inviolable; and if Parliament dared to question that right, the Ministers of the Commonwealth would not hesitate to put in motion the whole machinery of modern organisation, the whole resources of modern civilisation, the whole strength of a great and invincible cause, in order to maintain the sanctity of the national prerogative. (65) Such were the views of the most thoughtful and earnest men of that time, when Parliament reassembled after this most memorable general election. (66) And such were the views which the Premier proceeded to express, when, calm and intrepid, he rose in his place, "to explain the course which the Ministry proposed to follow." It was not to be supposed, however, that those views would be instantly accepted, still less adopted, by a House which now included no less than sixty-seven blatant Tories, besides a host of irreconcilables of every possible shade of antiprogressive political opinion. Due notice of a vote of want of confidence was immediately given; and this was followed by notice of a direct vote of censure upon the members of the Government, for their alleged malfeasance in connection with the Simian agitation. Several notices of questions, all of a more or less threatening character, were soon afterwards announced -- and amongst them the following: "To ask the Secretary for Marine whether it was a fact, as stated in a paragraph in 'The Echo,' that certain vessels, formerly employed as Indian troop-ships --namely the Serapis, the Jumna, and the Euphrates -- had been recently sent to sea, manned entirely by Lascars, carrying sealed orders; and if so, whether he would state the destination of those vessels, and the nature of the service upon which they had been despatched." A similar question was also propounded with regard to the Great Eastern; and there is no doubt whatever that either the Secretary for Marine, or, in his place, the Premier, could have afforded a very simple answer to both interrogations. But words became unnecessary when the nation could appeal to facts. (67) The ink on the question paper was hardly dry when the Great Eastern returned from her suspicious cruise, and anchored in Southampton Water. The three other ships whose movements had exercised the Tory breast, arrived a few days later in the London Dock. And while the Parliamentary majority was busy in frantic endeavours to embarrass the Government of the day, the four great vessels were steadily occupied in discharging a living freight of two and a half million souls, all eager to strengthen the hands of the English Premier, and to prove that the British nation must accept his forecast of the duties which consistency had imposed upon the true friends of Progress.
The tale has often been told, and, as it may often be told again, it is well that the true facts of the case should be now, once and for all, clearly presented, without any of those adjuncts which perverse malice on the one hand, and unscrupulous partiality on the other, have hitherto imported into the record. In the first place we must acknowledge, without the least reservation, that the first outbreak of the great fire unquestionably took place in the quarter occupied by the invaders -- that is to say, in the immediate vicinity of the docks. This neighbourhood had for many years past been more densely populated than any other part of London; but never before had its houses and streets presented a more cheerful or fantastic appearance than they did a few hours after the invaders had taken up their quarters in them. Every corner seemed to be filled. (72) But we must proceed with our narrative. The aged Orani Jocka was lodged in the Martyrs' Hall of Science, a building which had once been the palace as well as the prison, of a host of royal and other aristocratic nonentities. She was personally attended by a small staff, which included the chief interpreter (M. Lemûr), two medical gentlemen of Portuguese extraction, and the chieftain Pongat Wou. The latter had, on the first arrival of the expedition, instantly torn himself away from the social allurements of the metropolis, and he was now ready to take his post -- either in the field or in the council chamber -- as one of the born leaders of that race to which he was proud to belong. In addition to the personal staff attending Orani Jocka, a very large body-guard was, after a few days, posted in the Martyrs' Hall; and this force, which consisted of more than eight thousand picked warriors, was supplemented by a considerable reserve, stationed close at hand in the premises hitherto used -- but now precipitately abandoned -- by the members of the Society for the Propagation of Secular Literature. (73) It has occasionally been urged that the concentration of such large forces at the immediate disposal of the Simian leaders, implied a distrust of the loyalty of the English people towards their visitors. But this is a charge which we must most emphatically deny. In the first place, the Simian delegates -- the members of the original mission -- had been treated with marked courtesy by the British nation at large. In the second place, the Oran Otani, collectively, had been practically invited to England by the responsible Ministers of the Commonwealth, who had assured them they should meet with a hearty reception. (74) In the third place, the actual arrival of the invaders upon British shores had as yet called forth no armed demonstration of hostility whatever. In fact, the old fighting instinct, which had formerly made the English power exceedingly formidable, had now for some time past given place to a species of semi-hysterical, semi-philosophical sentiment, which forbade malice and uncharitableness to be exercised in any form except in that of opposition to the Tories. Surely then it is manifest, that the English had neither the will nor the power to attempt such a serious enterprise as the seizure of the Oran Otani leaders, or to engage in any similar scheme of inhospitable treachery. And surely we may conclude, that Pongat Wou and the other Simian chiefs looked at the matter in precisely the same light, and that in ordering the concentration of their forces at one particular point, they merely followed the ordinary course which formal military custom prescribed.
But although we must dismiss as groundless the allegation that this massing of the invading troops was dictated by any ungenerous or unworthy suspicions, we must frankly confess that it was the indirect occasion of not only great material damage to the English nation, but also incalculable moral injury to the Simian cause.
The premises included under the name of the Martyrs' Hall of Science, which the Simian bodyguard now occupied, comprised only a small portion of the old "Tower of London," as it had once been pompously termed. The vast hall itself was the same building that had formerly been known as the White Tower. The offices and residence of the Curator were established in the same premises that had once been degraded by the designation of the Jewel House. But, with these two exceptions, scarcely a vestige of the ancient fortress and prison remained; and but for a refreshment pavilion, and two or three cottages in which the gardeners and other attendants connected with the institution usually resided, no new buildings had been set up in place of those which had been demolished. Now the Curator's house and offices were occupied by Orani Jocka and Pongat Wou. The Pavilion and the cottages had been assigned to M. Lemûr and the medical officers. Hence the Hall of Science, properly so called, was the only building in which the eight thousand Oran Otani warriors could be placed, and the result was that the latter were inconveniently and even dangerously crowded. It used to be supposed that the space required for a "lord of the creation" was considerably greater than that which was needed for the comfort of a Simian. The supposition, so far as most of the quadrumanous tribe are concerned, is, even now, sufficiently just; but, so far as the Oran Otani species is concerned, it is not only inaccurate, but directly the reverse of true. The Simian tribes, as a whole, are doubtless prone to congregate closely in trees. But the Oran Otani, and especially the Bornean species, though fond of a free arboreal life, always seek to enjoy that mode of existence eremitically, upon isolated platforms, and not gregariously, upon boughs with their fellows. Therefore we need hardly point out, that a building which might have just sufficed for the requirements of five thousand naked macaques, or chackmas, would prove wholly insufficient for the proper accommodation of eight thousand Oran Otani, fully armed and equipped. (75)
But Pongat Wou was a leader whom no ordinary difficulties could discourage, still less baffle. He had already learnt, with more grief than surprise, that the overcrowding of the Simians on board the ships which had brought them to England, had been the cause of loud murmurs, and even a few acts of open mutiny. (76) He saw that the problem now before him pressed for immediate solution; and, like Alexander, he determined to sever the knotty point, and not to waste time in vainly seeking to unravel it. Rightly perceiving that the superficial space of the hall was altogether inadequate to his wants, he forthwith proceeded to utilise its cubic capacity. He communicated his design to his followers, who at once dispersed in various directions, to return, soon afterwards, carrying planks, lathes, ropes, and all the appliances needed for the construction of those favourite platforms which they were in the habit of using -- albeit in more primitive form -- in their own primeval forests. In a few hours the Hall of Science presented a most novel appearance; and the original promoters of that institution could have for once conscientiously declared that they had seen it packed from floor to ceiling. The further arrangements still required to ensure the complete comfort of the Simian host, were most easily and rapidly made. Several tons of straw were brought in from a neighbouring wharf, and the endless succession of little platforms soon resembled an interminable vista of bowers, each tenanted by an hirsute fairy. (77) That which followed must form the subject of a separate chapter.
But all this was but the prelude to horrors infinitely greater -- to disasters infinitely more extensive. Hardly had the last struggling survivor of the catastrophe been extricated, when the furnace which had hitherto smouldered in the interior of the Martyrs' Hall, broke forth with such irresistible violence as to envelop the whole fabric in one gigantic sheet of flame. The roof fell in with a stupendous crash, and the dense crowd of Oran Otani which stood sorrowfully watching the conflagration, with mechanical instinct made a hasty movement backwards. At the same instant, a carriage and pair was driven into the throng at a furious pace, and the occupants, a number of drunken seamen attired in brass helmets, with an utterly callous disregard to every consideration of compassion or prudence, continued to impel their vehicle over the bodies, the limbs, nay, even the upturned faces of the panic-stricken multitude, and, with reckless bravado, to urge their horses in the direction of the burning pile itself. But these "generous men" (80) had reckoned without their hosts. The progress of their chariot-wheels, already clogged with the quivering vitals of several of their fellow creatures, was all at once arrested. Their horses were struck down. They themselves were seized, condemned, and in a few minutes slain. (81) That they richly merited their fate can scarcely be questioned.
While these events were happening within the precincts of the Hall of Science, the surrounding streets had become filled with a compact yet ever-increasing mob of swarthy Simian warriors, who, in default of being able to see all that was going on in the immediate vicinity of the fire, listened with fearful eagerness for any sounds which might convey to them an intelligible notion of what was taking place. We can well imagine that their breasts had already been deeply stirred by the sight of flames in the quarters occupied by their revered priestess and counsellor, Orani Jacka, their trusted leader, Pongat Wou, and the flower of that host of which they all formed integral parts. We may easily conjecture that their sympathy and indignation had already been excited to the highest pitch, by the news, borne from lip to lip, of the awful fate which had befallen so many of their comrades. But what must we suppose their feelings to have been, when they learnt that their friends, their brothers, their kindred of both sexes, were in open collision, not only with a devouring element, but with the race in whom they had always endeavoured to trust, and by whom they had always been secretly abhorred! What wonder that the Simian war-cry arose, with a mighty sound which was heard by trembling senators at Westminster, by besotted revellers in Mayfair, by bewildered and conscience-smitten men and women in the farthest corners of the great city! What wonder that a peaceful and indeed benevolent army of occupation became forthwith transformed into a furious and unreasoning army of vengeance; that bands of wrathful warriors spread abroad in every direction -- to the houses and churches, to the wine-vaults, the shops, the warehouses, the wharves, and the shipping -- carrying fire and sword with them, leaving slaughter, rapine, and desolation in their wake! What wonder, we say, that England should rise from the slumber of that awful night, to find her capital in ashes!
We have thus given the true and simple record of an historical incident as to which there has hitherto been a vast amount of misrepresentation on the one hand, and miscomprehension on the other. We have carefully sifted the evidence afforded us by a mass of useful material. We have rigidly abstained, not only from dogmatical assertion, but from everything that could bear the slightest appearance, of prejudice. We have acknowledged to the fullest extent the degree of responsibility which the Oran Otani nation must, in our opinion, be content to bear in connection with one of the most lamentable passages in its history. We have not hesitated to absolve the English people from the charge of being directly answerable for a calamity for which indirectly they must, of course, be held accountable: and the verdict to be pronounced upon the whole matter, we confidently leave to the exalted discrimination, and the lofty instincts, of a great, a generous, and a thoughtful race.
Her machinery, which was at once cumbrous and complicated, soon proved defective; and, simultaneously, her crew, mainly consisting of Javanese, proved refractory. It is not difficult to surmise what the fate of the vessel would have been, but for the prompt and ready courtesy of two Russian men-of-war, who not only took her in tow for a considerable distance, but also heartily assisted in repairing the damage done to the engines, and in bringing the mutinous seamen to their senses. (83) The two frigates afterwards escorted the 'Great Eastern' to the mouth of Bright's Canal, and did not entirely cease their good offices until they had seen her safely conducted towards the Mediterranean Sea, by a trusty pilot of their own nationality. She was thus, in the end, even more fortunate than the three other transports. For they arrived at Suez just at a time when both the old and the new canal were blocked by the French fleet, then proceeding on the expedition to New Guinea. The first task which the 'Great Eastern' had to perform after safely reaching British water, was an exceedingly interesting and agreeable one -- namely, to take Madame Jocki on board, and in so doing, to accord her a true and heartfelt Simian welcome. This was the first occasion of her emerging from a retirement which had been as tormenting to the world of society as it had doubtless been onerous to her. She came out from the harbour of Cowes in a graceful yacht, the gift of the English Premier; and, on reaching the side of the great ship, was received with such a greeting as has seldom, if ever, been experienced by an eminent leader of any race, party, sex, or nationality whatever. Every coign of vantage, or available spot on deck, was occupied by frantically enthusiastic crowds. Every port-hole was blocked by an eager and smiling face. The air was rent with the Simian war-cry, "Ra, ra, ra!" again and again repeated; and as Jocki, playfully disdaining all offers of assistance, leapt from her little craft, and in the briefest instant presented herself to her friends, and began, with a pretty and childlike glee, to accept and return their ardent caresses, the general excitement seemed to have surpassed even the bounds of reason. (84) But business, with this amiable and thrice-gifted being, was never unduly subordinated to pleasure, nor was the present supremely happy occasion any exception to this rule. After briefly signifying the gratitude and delight which she found herself almost too deeply moved to express in adequate terms, she retired to the cabin which one of the assistant interpreters had courteously placed at her disposal, and there held a long and earnest conference with the leading chiefs who were on board. She soon gave striking proof of that faithful and thorough attention to detail which had always distinguished her, by desiring the master of the ship to haul down the Simian flag, and hoist in its place the Union Jack This order at first caused considerable surprise, which might have gradually changed to resentment, had not Jocki taken measures to explain, that the flag which she loved like her own life, a plain yellow piece of bunting, was at sea always recognised as the symbol of disease and infection; and that although the present significance of the emblem could no doubt be easily made clear, it was very desirable in her opinion that the prejudices of the English people should, from the outset of the great undertaking, be treated with apparent respect; while she was sure nothing would please the English more, than to behold their own flag, which they were accustomed to see trailed in the mire, triumphantly waving over one of the largest ships in the world, under the guardianship of properly matured warriors, who might be trusted to take good care of it.
And now the 'Great Eastern' cast her anchor in Southampton Water; and Jocki's whole attention was directed to the important business of disembarking her forces, a matter as to which she soon gave fresh evidence of the abundant resources of her vigorous and cultivated mind. Her policy was, from the first, entirely different to that which the aged Orani Jocka pursued. No sooner did the latter find her ships safely moored within a stone's-throw of the streets of London, than, with rough impetuosity, she desired her compatriots to land as fast as they could; the result being that a general panic was caused among the inhabitants on shore. The course which Jocki adopted at Southampton, though possibly less effective as a stroke of military tactics, was infinitely better calculated to allay suspicion in the minds of the English people, whom it was plainly desirable to inspire with confidence, and not with terror, at this early stage of the Simiocratic enterprise. (85) Instead of landing the Oran Otani at once, therefore, or even attempting to land them, Jocki desired them all to remain at their posts; and then, having ordered the Javanese sailors to man her gig for her, she proceeded on shore, wholly unattended, except by a favourite interpreter whom she usually took with her on public occasions. Her first business was to call upon the mayor-- a strong Ministerial partisan -- with whom she was already well acquainted. He received her with many compliments, and, in answer to her inquiries, told her that he had secretly made arrangements for the provisional accommodation of the greater part of her forces, by the simple expedient of allotting to them some disused barracks, an empty prison, and the private residences of some of his political opponents.
He added, that for his own part he was ready to give the Simian visitors a most hearty welcome and would endeavour to secure for them a cordial reception at the hands of his fellow-townspeople in general; but he could not disguise the fact that a certain amount of opposition to the Simiophile cause did exist in Southampton, and he expressed his opinion that the surest way to win over this hostile element would be to announce the Oran Otani as extensive patrons of the local commerce.
To all this Jocki cheerfully assented; and, at the mayor's suggestion, it was agreed that some of the invaders should that night attend a public ball which was to take place; that others should visit the theatre; that others, again, should be escorted, by certain reliable members of the Liberal Committee, to the various small places of amusement or instruction with which the town abounded; and that wherever the visitors went, they should have money at hand with which to satisfy all lawful demands, and thus render their presence profitable as well as agreeable.
All these preliminaries having been happily arranged, Jocki took leave of her courteous and indefatigable host; and, having refused his proffered offer of luncheon, returned to the floating city, where her prolonged absence had begun to create some anxiety. The interpreter remained on shore for the purpose of assisting the mayor in putting the various selected billets in order -- a task which was rendered tolerably easy by the fact that the greater number of these lodgings had been deserted upon the first news of the 'Great Eastern's' arrival.
At last the disembarkment commenced; and the streets were presently swarming with the stalwart forms of the Oran Otani, who testified their joy at being emancipated from the close confinement of the ship, by singing, dancing, leaping in the air, and ever and anon pausing to express their astonishment of, admiration at the various monuments of human enterprise which constantly greeted their eyes. Their conduct was orderly in the extreme. (86) If the members of any particular group seemed for a moment disposed to forget the rigid injunctions they had received from Jocki, a glance or friendly whisper from one of the interpreters, or perhaps a good-humoured pinch from one of the chiefs, was always sufficient to recall them to a due observance of decorum. Great delight was testified in every instance where a shop was found open. The visitors entered with keen humour into the amusement of making purchases with the money with which they had all been amply provided; and if one tradesman had just reason to complain that the coins tendered to him did not represent the equivalent of the goods which he had been persuaded to supply, another had equal reason to rejoice that his novel patrons were unacquainted with the sordid details of commercial profit and loss, An ingenious barber, for example, made a clear gain of some hundreds of pounds, by merely shaving a continual succession of visitors, until fatigue compelled him to desist from his lucrative labours. The tobacconists and fruiterers were extremely fortunate also; and when night came, the curious spectacle was presented of shops that had been open all day remaining open still, and many of those that had been closed, opening for the first time. In short, the public apprehension, which had at one time no doubt prevailed, was now being rapidly allayed. The confidence which had seemed to be shaken, was now being every moment restored. To Jocki the chief merit of this most creditable state of affairs certainly belonged; to the invaders as a whole, however, the highest praise is due, for the marvellous self-restraint, the remarkable discipline, the noble feeling of pure devotion to the best interests of a great cause, which they evinced under circumstances of no ordinary difficulty.
But, alas! both Jocki and her followers were powerless to avert that destiny which had ordained the first pioneers of Simiocracy to be the unwilling ministers of vengeance for the accumulated sins of the English people!
The public ball which Jocki and several of her compatriots attended, on the first night of their arrival on British soil, was only sparsely attended. The Simian element largely predominated; the fair sex of the human species was almost unrepresented; and the mayor and a few members of the town council were almost the only men who had the courtesy to make their appearance. This was felt to be a slight, and a cruel slight, upon the foreign visitors; and the Birmingham organisation, which was intently watching the development of the Simian movement in this quarter, caused a warm letter of remonstrance to be sent to those of its adherents in Southampton who had absented themselves from the dance. (87) A peremptory request was also made that the entertainment should be at once repeated in a more creditable manner; and this mandate was, of course, obeyed. After a few days' preparation, another ball was given; and this time not only was Jocki enabled to vie in grace and agility with several of her English sisters, but the swarthy Simian warriors found themselves welcomed by nearly a hundred genial and even obsequious hosts, General harmony and mirth soon prevailed, and at about daybreak, the enjoyment of the company had reached its highest pitch. It was then that the first rumour of the disaster which had just taken place in London was suddenly and swiftly circulated; and the effect, of course, was magical. (88) The English ladies, and several of their attendant squires, endeavoured to escape; but Jocki had fainted away in the arms of the mayor; the doors were closed; and the ominous cry, "Ra, ra, ra!" was quickly raised. The sickening scene of carnage that ensued has been too often described to need repetition here. Suffice it to say, that both sides fought with desperation; that the con-contest [sic] was needlessly prolonged by some of the English, who, with a treacherous prudence which even the event did not justify, had secretly armed themselves with pistols; that not one of them escaped; that Jocki, on the other hand, was saved, and recovered from her swoon only to find that her incessant labour for the peaceable and bloodless accomplishments of her lofty aims were all thrown away, and that she and her faithful followers were now the sole inhabitants of a ruined and deserted city. (89)
At first he was reluctant to abandon the scenes of his youth at a crisis of such vital importance to those amongst whom he had passed some of his happiest days, and he unhesitatingly expressed himself to that effect. But his political friends were eager that his reputation and his personal safety -- both of which seemed now to be hanging by a mere thread -- should be secured. A pretext for removing him from the scene of danger, and furnishing him at the same time with duties of a more interesting kind than the mere routine of Ministerial office, was soon found. The necessity for sending some distinguished servant of the Commonwealth to treat with the triumphant Simians, and, if possible, arrange for a future modus vivendi for the two great races, was daily becoming more urgent; and it was rightly decided that this delicate task could not be intrusted to abler hands than those of the Premier himself. (92)
There can be little doubt that he had been watching the advance of the Oran Otani with the warmest interest and gratification; but the destruction of the capital, and the untoward incident at Southampton, had excited the public mind to such an unreasonable degree, that he had deemed it prudent to abstain from publicly expressing those views which -- in accordance with his "latent policy" -- he intended should ultimately prevail; and had mainly confined himself to pointing out that it was unreasonable to suppose that all progress should in future be confined "to the narrow ledge of humanity": that the Simian incursion was "in perfect consonance" with the great doctrine of Free Trade: and that, deeply as he and every one else must deplore the recent calamities, it should ever be remembered that "force was no remedy for violence"; and that the best way to avert the dangers which still seemed to threaten the Commonwealth, was "frankly and manfully to endeavour to conciliate the visitors." (93)
These opinions, though not wholly palatable to the public, were exactly those which would befit a delegate intrusted with the duty of arranging terms of peace with invaders. (94) In that light the matter was put before the Premier, who, after much thought, and some hesitation, consented to act as the Plenipotentiary of the British Commonwealth. He was not to be left alone. He had stipulated that he should be assisted by his friend and colleague the Vice-President of the Council -- a gentleman who had always held, and fearlessly expressed, the most enlightened views on questions of Simian policy; and another coadjutor had been supplied to him in the person of Mr Britain, the British Consul-General for Bruni, who happened to be in England at this time on leave of absence. It is impossible to deny that the employment of Mr Britain was at first sight plausible. He was a man of vast experience in Bornean affairs; of presumable tact, and undoubted talent. But we question whether public opinion did not, on mature consideration, condemn his selection, even before events had proved it to have been highly injudicious. (95)
The preliminaries which preceded the holding of the Conference were speedily arranged. In the first place, it was necessary to obtain the consent of the Simian leaders to meeting the English delegates. This consent was readily. and even cheerfully granted, upon the first application. (96) In the second place, a convenient locality had to be chosen; and Oxford, a town from which Birmingham, London, and Southampton, were all nearly equidistant, was soon unanimously fixed upon. In the third place, the mode of procedure had to be arranged; and it was presently agreed that, for the mutual convenience of the two contracting parties, the Premier and his two colleagues on the one hand, and Pongat Wou and three of his interpreters on the other hand, should meet from day to day, for six hours at a time, to consider the basis of an international treaty, of which the details were to be subsequently discussed by a Grand Committee, or Council, composed of twenty Oran Otani and twenty English legislators.
All preparatory matters being now adjusted, the Conference proceeded to meet. The British delegates arrived in Oxford, attended only by their secretaries and a small train of domestic servants. The Simian Commissioners came at the head of the entire Oran Otani forces. (97) But the trifling misunderstanding which this apparent disparity of attitude is said to have excited, must have been instantly dispelled by the noble behaviour of Madame Jocki, whose first act was to transfer the huge treasure-chest, which had been brought from Borneo, into the keeping of the English Premier, to be applied to the relief of the homeless poor who had suffered from the recent disasters. The hopes of two great and thoughtful races, and the future of the English Nation, were now in the hands of a duly qualified tribunal, which lost no time in commencing its interesting and momentous labours.
The Conference having at length formally assembled, the first business transacted was the appointment of a President. The Premier moved that Mr Britain should take this office; Pongat Wou is said to have proposed that it should be assigned to himself; (102) but however this may have been, the choice ultimately fell upon M. Louis de Forban, one of the three interpreters selected as the fellow-commissioners of Pongat Wou.
A most serious difficulty now arose, and the fatuity of having admitted Mr Britain to the Conference was forcibly and abundantly demonstrated. No sooner did that gentleman perceive that M. de Forban had been elected President, than he arose, and with defiant looks, and every gesture of contempt and indignation, spoke as follows: "Messieurs, I have patiently waited to see whether it was seriously intended that this person should take part in our deliberations. For some time I have endeavoured to persuade myself that his presence here was attributable either to a mistake, or to some motive of pleasantry, the precise point of which was beyond my humble powers of comprehension. I am now, however, reluctantly forced to see, that he has been deliberately thrust into this honourable Conference, upon terms of equality with myself and my right honourable colleagues; and, worse than that, I am compelled to perceive that he, of all other men, has been chosen to preside over this distinguished assembly. Such being the case, I must at once discharge a duty which I believe I owe to the Commonwealth, which I am sure I owe to myself. Messieurs, I have to inform you, if you do not know it already; that M. de Forban is nothing else than a mutinous seaman, and a murderer; and I most emphatically demand that he may be forthwith arrested. and charged before a duly qualified tribunal, with the crimes of which I can prove that he has been guilty. If this course be not instantly adopted, I must crave leave to withdraw from this Conference, under protest, and to be furnished with proper credentials to enable me to retire in safety."
The effect of such an ill-judged harangue may be more easily imagined than described. The Premier was deeply pained; (103) the Vice-President of the Council was generously indignant; Pongat Wou was puzzled; (104) while M. Lemûr, M. de Forban himself, and the other interpreter present, were so overcome with the resentment with which Mr Britain's words had naturally inspired them, that they immediately drew their knives, and silenced the voice of calumny for ever. (105) The confusion which ensued was soon increased by the arrival of some messengers, who came to announce the news that fresh forces of Oran Otani had just landed at Holyhead, and were at that moment engaged in ravaging the whole of the adjacent country.
A letter, written by the direction of Jocki, was now placed in the hands of the Premier, warning him to save himself without an instant's delay. But measures had been taken to frustrate any attempt at escape on his part. The room was speedily filled with stalwart Oran Otani, whose demeanour and equipment left little doubt as to the nature of their intentions. In vain did the cunning demagogue summon to his aid all those various arts of acquired rhetoric which he had known to calm the passions of a turbulent multitude. In vain did he refer to his personal character, and to his past political services. In vain did he appeal to the judgment, the enlightenment, and even the avarice, of his relentless executioners. The last of these arguments he had never before known to fail; (106) but his experience was now of no benefit to anyone -- unless, perhaps, to the statesmen and philosophers of some future generation.
With the despatch of Mr Britain, and the execution of the English Premier, the episode of bloodshed -- which may to a certain extent be said to have disfigured the Simian incursion came to a close. It had been partly designed that the Vice-President should be slain at the same time as the Premier; but the former, in his hour of extremity, called attention to a fact which had already been favourably noticed by Pongat Wou, and several other Oran Otani leaders; (107) and that was, that he was in truth more than half a Simian himself -- not only with regard to his physical formation and countenance, but also with respect to his habits, his instincts, his teachings, and his principles. The plea was allowed; and the life which was thus benignantly spared, was thenceforth successfully devoted to the happiness of Orani Jocka, whose increasing age and infirmities began to require the closest and most tender care possible.
The duty of governing England had now practically devolved upon Pongat Won and Madame Jocki. He was ready and willing to establish his sway at once, in accordance with the wisest and best maxims of administration with which he was acquainted. But she had of late shown symptoms of an entire change in the views which she had hitherto been accustomed to hold; and while the panic-stricken islanders were flying in every direction, those by whom they fancied themselves pursued were in fact disputing whether any further subjugation should be attempted, or whether the conquered people should be once more left to enjoy that peace and freedom, which they were now likely to appreciate at their just value.
But the controversy between Pongat Wou and Madame Jocki was happily not protracted beyond reasonable limits; and the triumph of the young chieftain was immediately followed by the famous Proclamation, which was so skilfully framed -- on the one hand to secure the privileges of the conquerors, on the other hand to preserve the liberties of the conquered -- that the foolish and ungenerous panic was gradually allayed, and a new spirit, very nearly tantamount to a feeling of confidence, evoked in its stead. The Proclamation was divided into seven brief paragraphs, and was couched throughout in language perhaps somewhat crude yet unmistakably vigorous and plain in its purport. We subjoin a copy of the celebrated edict in the form in which it originally appeared.
We do not, however, wish to imply that the English merely met with their deserts; for, upon the whole, we must contend that they were treated with far greater consideration than they had any reason or any right to expect. The new Constitution gave them the fullest political and domestic happiness consistent with the public safety. Their favourite maxims of religious independence could not be said to have been disregarded, when Theism was the only spiritual doctrine to which they were asked to subscribe. Their cherished traditions of Liberty could not be said to have been set at naught, when the only obligations directly imposed on them were obedience to their ruler, and hospitality to their guardians. Nor could their ancient social privileges be said to have beep invaded, when they were simply invited to return to those primitive usages which only corruption and effeminacy had induced them to forsake.
The compiler of this history can himself recall, with pleasure, the
astonished yet pleased emotion with which he found himself, for the first
time, permitted to tread the soil of his native land, free from the absurd
shackles of a slavish prudery. He can moreover testify -- and he believes
these pages may serve to corroborate his evidence -- that Literature has
in no wise suffered through the contraction of the sphere in which her
disciples find means to exercise their vocation. More than this. While
the human inhabitants of this island have largely benefited by the examples
of physical courage and fortitude, now constantly presented to their view,
they have in return, shown to a considerable section of the Simians the
inestimable advantages of mental and moral culture; and with the gratifying
result, that the Republic of Letters has already welcomed to her ranks
more than one accomplished writer whose extraction is partly Simian. We
take this opportunity of expressing to Professors Quacko and Satyro, our
deep sense of the kindness and courtesy which they have ever shown us in
the course of the literary enterprise which we now present to the public
judgment of two great and thoughtful races.
The foregoing pages were already in the printer's hands when the news
reached us that Jocki had quietly passed away. Apart from the sincere concern
with which the intelligence has been received, the feeling chiefly excited
has probably been one of regret that this gifted being should have met
with the not uncommon fate of outliving her reputation. There can be little
doubt that at the time of her publicly espousing the old 'Whig' cause --
which could no longer claim a single other adherent -- the decay of her
mental powers had already commenced. Her end, indeed, is said to have been
hastened by a wild act which would never have been committed had she still
been in the full possession of her senses. The story goes that she induced
an ingenious but inexperienced surgeon to operate upon certain membranous
sacs communicating with her glottis, with a view to enabling her to acquire
facility in the English method of speech. The rumour has not as yet been
confirmed, though a searching inquiry will doubtless bring to light the
true circumstances of the affair. Meanwhile Jocki is to be buried, and
her many well-wishers and former admirers, of both races, have determined
to compose an epitaph which shall fitly commemorate the great services
which she, at one time certainly, performed, on behalf of the cause of
Progress. We do not doubt that her tomb will eventually be adorned with
a worthy inscription. In the meantime we feel bound to express our profound
regret that some being, whom we can only describe as a disgrace to the
human species, should have suffered his ribald malice to pursue a political
opponent even to the brink of an unclosed grave. Perhaps we cannot more
suitably rebuke the venomous rancour and intolerance which produced the
mock tablet just found in Westminster Abbey, than by here holding the outrage
up to public execration.
THE FIRST WHIG WAS
THE LAST WHIG WAS
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