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Sir William Molesworth. Notwithstanding the exertions of the ministers and their friends to secure the election of Mr. Leader, that gentleman was not only beaten by a very considerable majority, but lost as a natural consequence his seat for Bridgwater, a fact which suggested to the artist another able sketch, The Dog and the Shadow. The election itself forms the subject of A Race for the Westminster Stakes, in which the aged thoroughbred (Sir Francis), ridden by Lord Castlereagh, beats the young horse Leader, jockey Mr. Roebuck. Among the backers of the losing horse, Daniel O'Connell and Joseph Hume may be easily detected by the lugubrious expression of their faces. The sketch of A Fine Old English Gentleman was suggested by a remark made by the Times during the progress of the contest, in which it described Sir Francis as “a fine specimen of the old English gentleman.” In the left-hand corner of this sketch the artist has placed a picture of the Tower of London, by way of reminder of the days when the baronet was regarded not so much in the light of “a fine old English Gentleman ” as a radical of the most advanced type, and as a martyr in the cause of public liberty.
A change of opinion however is obviously a necessary incident CHANGES IN of political life, and we have ourselves witnessed some remarkable POLITICAL OPINION. instances of such versatility in our own days. In some cases these changes are only temporary or partial, in others they are radical and complete ; sometimes they are dictated by conviction, at others by necessity; occasionally they seem to be the result of absolute caprice; while in not a few instances, I fear, we should not be very far wrong in assigning them to feelings of disappointment or personal or political pique. This tergiversation in public men forms the subject of one of H3's happiest inspirations. In 1837 there appeared at the Adelphi Theatre an American comedian named Rice, the forerunner of the Christies and other "original” minstrels of our day, who sang in his character of a nigger a comic (?) song, which, being wholly destitute of melody, and even more idiotic than compositions of that kind usually are, forthwith became exceedingly popular, being groaned by every organ, and whistled by all the street urchins of the
day. This peculiar production, which was known as “Jim Crow,” was accompanied by a characteristic double shuffle, while every verse concluded with this intellectual chorus :
“ Turn about, and wheel about,
And do just so ;
I jump Jim Crow.” In Jim Crow Dance and Chorus (the title of the sketch referred to), we find the leading men of all parties assembled at a ball, engaged in the new saltatory performance initiated by Mr. Rice. In the left-hand corner we notice Lord Abinger, formerly Sir James Scarlett, a Whig, who growing tired of waiting for the advent of his own party to power, changed his political opinions—that is to say “jumped Jim Crow,”—and was made Attorney General by the Duke of Wellington. Next him is Lord Stanley, who commenced life as a Whig and was a member of Lord Grey's Reform administration, but unprepared to go the lengths which his party seemed disposed to take, he too "jumped Jim Crow,” deserted them, and joined the ranks of the Opposition. Lord Stanley's vis-à-vis is Sir James Graham ; in his early days he had distinguished himself by the strength of his radical opinions, but as a member of Lord Grey's cabinet, he suppressed these sentiments, and "jumped Jim Crow" by confining himself more strictly within Whig limits. Conspicuous amongst the performers is Lord Melbourne! When in office under Mr. Canning he had made several anti-Reform speeches, but afterwards became a member of the Government of Lord Grey by which Reform was carried ;--as Prime Minister he went far nearer to the principles of absolute democracy than either Lord Grey or Lord Althorp. Lord Melbourne's face, however, shows unmistakable repugnance at finding that bis numerous “wheels about ” have brought him face to face with O'Connell, and he turns in disgust from the famous agitator, who, with his thumb to his nose and his left arm stuck in his side, shows that he has no intention of permitting him to enjoy a pas all to himself. O'Connell of course shows himself complete master of the figure which he had danced so frequently;
POLITICAL DOUBLE SHUFFLERS.
one of the most shifty, unstable men of his day, he can scarcely be called a politician, for like all agitators, the person he really sought to serve was himself alone. He chopped and changed just as it suited his purpose, and is properly introduced by the artist amongst the most adroit and vigorous of the political double shufflers.
The Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel find themselves vis d-vis, in allusion to their conduct with reference to Catholic Emancipation. Buth had originally been consistent opposers of the measure, which was at last carried by the influence of the very men who before had been its most persistent adversaries.
But, if any one had “turned about and wheeled about,” it was Sir Francis Burdett, and accordingly the artist introduces him as indulging in a very flourishing pas seul ; he wears a self-satisfied smirk, and carries his thumbs in his waistcoat, in allusion to his own contention that he had been always consistent. Yet this self-satisfied aristocratic-looking personage not many years before had distinguished himself as the most prominent of radical malcontents, and had been drawn by his enthusiastic dupes through the city of Westminster in a triumphal car, decorated with the symbols of liberty, and preceded by a banner bearing the inscription, “Westminster's Pride and England's Glory.”
The queer figure in the cocked hat is Sir de Lacy Evans, who figures as one of the dancers in allusion to his practice as compared with his professions. In 1833 he obtained a seat for Westminster, triumphing over his opponent Sir J. C. Hobhouse, who for fifteen years had represented that constituency, both candidates professing to be zealous advocates for the abolition of flogging in the arnıy. Sir de Lacy nevertheless, when commanding the British Legion at St. Sebastian, "jumped Jim Crow” by flogging his soldiers without mercy. Lord John Russell once sneered at every project of Reform, but his Lordship, as we have seen, “jumped Jim Crow” by repeatedly introducing the Reform Bill into the House of Commons, which was mainly passed by his persistent exertions ; very properly, therefore, Lord John figures in HB's clever sketch among the most prominent of " Jim Crow" double shufflers.
THE POLITICAL SKETCHES OF HB (Continued).
SYDNEY Smith said of little Lord John Russell, that he was "ready to undertake anything and everything—to build St. Paul's,-cut for the stone, -or command the Channel fleet,” and this satire of the wit was true. He tried politics and he tried literature, and few people will say that he was entirely successful at either. As a politician, for instance, his general capacity for getting himself and his party into a mess, earned from the most intellectually powerful of his political opponents the enduring title of “Lord Meddle and Muddle.” He has not been dead very long, yet what reputation has he left behind him as a dramatist-novelist—historian-biographer-editor
-pamphleteer, all of which rôles he essayed at some time or other of his long and eventful career? His Nun of Arronca (1822) fetches it is true an exceedingly high price, because having been rigidly suppressed by its author it is now exceedingly rare. The best that can be said of Lord John-and that is saying a great deal — is, that he was a consistent Liberal according to his lights, and that to him belongs the honour and glory of bringing about the great measure of Reform, which, as we have seen, was, mainly through his instrumentality, accomplished in 1832.
Lord John, as might have been expected, frequently appears in the “political sketches” of H3. He cuts an amusing figure in one where Jonah (Lord Minto) is about to be thrown overboard by Lords Lansdowne, Palmerston, and Duncannon, by order of the captain (Lord Melbourne), to appease the storm raised by Lords Brougham and Lyndhurst in reference to a rumour that Lord
SALE OF UNSTAMPED NEWSPAPERS.
Minto (First Lord of the Admiralty), had instructed British cruisers to stop all Sardinian vessels carrying warlike stores for Don Carlos. Lord John, while clinging to the mast behind, and viewing with terror the impending fate of his colleague, evidently solaces himself with the conviction that his own weight is too insignificant to have any material effect upon the safety of the ship. Minto owed his safety to the Duke of Wellington, who therefore figures in the sketch as the whale; for, although convinced that his lordship had been imprudent, he successfully resisted Brougham's motion for a copy of the instructions, and thereby succeeded in lodging poor Jonah on dry land. One of the “sketches” in which Lord John Russell figures Stamp DUTY ON
NEWSPAPERS. reminds us of a remarkable discussion which possesses considerable interest for every reader of the cheap newspapers of to-day. The Chancellor of the Exchequer (the Right Hon. Thomas Spring Rice) in opening his budget on the 6th of May, 1836, showed a disposable surplus of £662,000 only, which he proposed (in the usual way) to apply towards the reduction of taxation. He proposed, in the first place, to consolidate the paper duties and to reduce their amount in a manner which he proceeded to explain ; and after accounting for £200,000, the balance of the surplus he intended to apply to the reduction of the stamp on newspapers. The duty minus the discount was fourpence, which he proposed to reduce to a penny, and to give of course no discount. The reader must not suppose from the foregoing, however, that all the proprietors of newspapers of that day paid the duty; on the contrary, the large majority evaded it in every possible way. The measure in fact was intended as much as a protection to the revenue as anything else, for the sale of unstamped newspapers throughout the country had become so extensive that no series of prosecutions was found effectual to put them down. Every sheet, it is true, professed to bear on it the printer's name; but the name so appended was in six cases out of eight a false one. Exchequer processes were issued; all the power of the law was set in motion; in the course of three weeks three hundred persons had been imprisoned for selling unstamped