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it was rejected; and from that time onwards there was no pretence of discussion. One violent scene followed another. Three members successively relieved Mr. Raikes in the duties of the chair. The promised relays began to arrive about seven o'clock. The minority of seven tried to relieve themselves by the temporary retirement of one or two of their number, but they were too few to sustain these tactics. Their power of resistance visibly declined, yet it was not until noon had nearly arrived, when Sir Stafford Northcote threatened to move to suspend them, that they yielded. Nominally they yielded in deference to this threat, but in truth they were worn out and glad of any excuse to terminate the unequal contest. The South Africa Bill thus passed through somewhere about two in the afternoon, but something yet remained to illustrate the mischief that had been wrought to the character of the House of Commons. The sitting thus prolonged was the sitting of Tuesday evening, and it must be confessed that two o'clock on Wednesday afternoon is after half-past twelve on Tuesday night. It was submitted that the opposed business remaining on the paper could not be taken in accordance with the rules, but Sir Henry James urged that the triumph should be made complete by proceeding to dispose of an Irish County Courts Bill, and the Speaker, with some hesitation, ruled that it might be considered though opposed. The painful experiences of the night and morning proved that there was no magic at Westminster to prevent the House of Commons from rivalling the violence of Versailles, and reproducing the lawlessness of Transatlantic or Australian Assemblies. As to the new rules, adopted the week before, the second was not, as has been erroneously thought, disregarded. It was kept, but it was proved to be inefficient. The first was not used, although a threat was at length made to put it into motion. It may be added that it was in the subsequent week used to silence Mr. Whalley, and it is an instructive fact that when it was employed the Speaker forgot to ask the offending member, as the rule provided, whether he had any explanation to offer, and no one ventured to point out to the Speaker the error he was committing. The rules, being adopted for the Session only, have now passed away; but it is obvious that the first duty of the House of Commons next year will be to consider and revise its methods of procedure. This is a work that must be undertaken before the fires of passion are again lit up, and the dry light of reason extinguished. It is to be hoped that no superstitious regard for past usages will prevent members from recognising changes that are necessary for the preservation of order. The reputation of Parliament must not be endangered by a renewal of the closing scenes of the Session of 1877, in which, as was too coarsely said, rowdyism was met by rowdyism.

BOOKS OF THE MONTH.

Natural Law. An Essay in Ethics. By Edith Simcox. Trübner & Co.

The Theory of Sound. By BARON RAYLEIGH. Vol. I. Macmillan.

Mottiscliffe: an Autumn Story. By J. W. FERRIER. Blackwood.

The Life of Napoleon III., derived from State Records, from Unpublished

Correspondence, and from Personal Testimony. By BLANCHARD JERROLD.

Vol. III. Longmans, Green, & Co. Apologetical.

A History of Materialism. By F. A. LANGE. Translated by C. E. THOMAS.

Vol. I. Trübner & Co. A standard authority on the subject.

Some Articles on the Depreciation of Silver. By the late WALTER BAGEHOT.

King & Co. Essays reprinted from the Economist, combating the belief in the permanent depreciation of silver.

Blue Roses; or, Helen Malinofshka's Marriage. By the Author of “Vera."

2 Vols. King & Co.

L'Étudiant. Par J. MICHELET. Calmann-Lévy; Barthès and Lowell.

The course of lectures by Michelet on the part of the youth of his period in the Revolution, which was suspended by the government of Louis Philippe.

Essai sur les idées philosophiques et l'inspiration poétique de Giacomo Leopardi.

Par F. A. AULARD. Thorin ; Barthès and Lowell. With an appendix containing Leopardi's letters to M. de Sinner, and some other hitherto unpublished writings.

Les Romains à Athènes avant l'empire. Par G. HINSTIN. Thom; Barthès

and Lowell, A commentary on the text, Graecia capta ferum victorem cepit.

La Misère. Par JULES SIEDEIED. Germer Baillière ; Barthès and Lowell.

Samuel Brohl & Cie. Par VICTOR CHERBULIEZ.

Hachette.

Le Crime de Jean Malory.

Par ERNEST DAUDET. Dentu ; Barthès and

Lowell.

Dentu ; Barthès and

Les Folies Amoureuses. Par CATULLE MENDÈS.

Lowell.

Bilder aus der Römischen Gesellschaft. Von EMIL FRISCHAUER. Fues;

Kolckmann. Sketches and anecdotes of some of the more conspicuous Italian public characters of the day.

Briefwechsel zwischen Goethe und Marianne von Willemer. Herausgegeben

von T. CRÉIZENACH. Cotta ; Williams and Norgate. Marianne von Willemer was the “ Suleika " of Goethe's “ West-oestlicher Divan."

Nachgelassene Schriften Friedrich Rückerts, etc. Herausgegeben von C.

BEYER. Braumüller; Williams and Norgate. Miscellaneous poems and letters, with bibliographical memoranda,

Le Fils de Louis XV., Louis Dauphin de France, 1729—1765. Par

EMMANUEL DE BROGLIE. Plon; Barthès and Lowell. The necessarily uneventful biography of a prince who never had an opportunity of showing the capacity of which he was supposed to be possessed.

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Lettres inédites de Coray à Chardon de la Richette (1790—96). Didot;

Barthès and Lowell. Principally philological; but with frequent references to politics. An appendix is added, containing, among other matter, Coray's memoir on the condition of Greece in 1803.

Maîtres et Petits Maîtres. Par PHILIPPE BURTY. Charpentier ; Barthès

and Lowell. Sketches of artists, including Delacroix and Millet.

Geschichte der Englischen Litteratur. Von BERNHARD TEN BRINK. Bd. 1.

Oppenheim; Williams and Norgate. Abridged but highly wrought and full of matter. The first volume terminates with Piers Ploughman.

Geschichte der Französischen Literatur in XVII. Jahrhundert. Von FER

DINAND LOTHEISSEN. Bd. 1. Hift. 1. Gerold's Sohn; Williams

and Norgate. Treats of the period from 1600 to 1636.

THE

FORTNIGHTLY REVIEW.

No. CXXX. NEW SERIES.–OCTOBER 1, 1877.

A NEW REFORM BILL.

The long and chequered history of the House of Commons has few episodes more grotesque and none more unsatisfactory than those which disturbed its peace, impeded its action, and somewhat lowered its estimation in its own eyes and in those of the country during the latter part of the session. To be overawed by the arbitrary power of the Sovereign, to be decimated or wholly ejected by military violence, or to be trampled upon by an unscrupulous and tyrannical majority are evils hard to bear; but what are these things compared with what the House, in the maturity of its age and the fulness of its glory, has just endured at the hands of some three or four of its own members ? The valiant volunteers in Foote's “Recruiting Serjeant” who, returning home from a review in which they had highly distinguished themselves, were all stopped and robbed by a single footpad, did not present a more forlorn appearance than this great historical assembly in the hands of two or three Irish members of no particular weight, experience, or ability, but who at any rate knew their own minds, and took a perfectly just measure of the persons with whom they had to deal and the amount of risk which they incurred. The plan was as simple as efficacious. The end and aim was to make the House of Commons the object of ridicule and contempt. The House of Commons is governed by rules, and it is the nature of all rules and powers that they should be wider than the particular circumstances which call for their application. It follows that if a man will steadily apply these rules and powers to cases to which they never were intended to apply, and as pertinaciously resist their application to cases to which they do apply, he may make of rules designed for the furtherance of business the most potent instruments of confusion and disorder. The worst of it was that, though the mischief was patent and the intention undoubted, no remedy was forthcoming. It is an observation as old as Plato that those

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who are well brought up will need but few laws. There was a time

. when the members of the House of Commons held that great assembly in such sincere respect and awe, that any intimation that his conduct was displeasing to the House was sufficient to bring a refractory member at once to a sense of his duty ; but, strange to say, the reformed House, no doubt from some oversight in the bill which reformed it, appears scarcely to possess the same influence over its members as in other and darker times. And yet to a House that had any disposition to act, the case was extremely simple. The House was defied by a very small number of its members, with the obvious purpose of making the object for which they met, the transaction of business, impossible. Over its own members the House possesses, and has often exercised, the most ample powers. It can expel, it can imprison, and by that means heavily fine any member, or it can silence him for any time which it chooses to appoint. But the House would do none of these things. The House was so afraid of the appearance of innovation, that is, of using powers which, from the cause which we have mentioned, had long lain dormant, that, rather than exercise its clear and undoubted right, it adopted a course which it seems impossible to defend. It condescended to enter into an ignoble conflict in physical endurance, and to tire out its tormentors by mere animal suffering. Such a proceeding is liable to this insurmountable objection, that it is just as available for the worst as for the best cause, and sanctions the use of mere physical obstruction by meeting it with its own degrading weapons. How much better would it have been for the House to have revived and exercised its judicial capacity! The offence was so serious because it was a cumulative one. It consisted not in any one act, but in a succession of acts, all done with the object of impeding the business of Parliament. Each act might be excused, but the whole could not. It resembles the offences known to the common law as those of a common barrator or a common scold, where each particular act may be excused but the aggregate amounts to a crime. Of such an offence the House of Commons are the witnesses and the judges, and who could desire a fairer tribunal than one where the judge of to-day may be the culprit of to-morrow ?

We have dwelt thus long on this, subject not only on account of its intrinsic importance, but also to show the amount of inconvenience and of just criticism which the House of Commons is willing to undergo rather than, we will not say make innovations, but use ancient powers for the most essential objects. With this extreme, and as it seems to us overstrained, dread of innovation, this almost slavish adherence to fixed rules, be they never so grossly abused, we now desire to contrast the House, also dealing with its own affairs, but with matters of infinitely greater weight and import

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