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property should be raffled for! This Cardwell, the Archbishop of Cuntermotion they prudently withdrew before bury, and Mr. Lowe. Truly, it is not it could be discussed; but the new difficult to accept the estimate of the Committee so far adopted their views as Society formed by a writer in the to recommend for the time being the Oxford University Magazine of 1834 : suspension of debates. The House, how. “We could hardly name any institution ever, rejected this proposal by a large in Oxford which has been more useful majority : next term public rooms were in encouraging a taste for study and at last obtained, and the Society entered general reading than this juvenile club. on a new lease of prosperity.
It was founded about twelve years ago, During the period we have been re- and has at all times held a high character viewing the Hon. E. Twisleton (of in the University. Among its leading Junius fame), Mr. Herman Merivale, members have been many who promise the Bishop of Durham, Sir Thomas to fill a prominent station in public Dyke Acland, and Archbishop Manning notice. It has not only supplied a were elected to the Presidency, the last school for speaking to those who intend named, however, at once resigning it to pursue the professions of the law and The Bishop of St. Andrews and Lord the Church, or to embrace political life; (then Sir John) Hanmer filled the Trea- but by furnishing a theatre for the dissurership-Sir John being conspicuous play of miscellaneous knowledge, and for extreme Tory views in general, and by bringing together most of the disespecially for the persevering energy tinguished young men in the University, wherewith he endeavoured to convert it has had a great effect upon the general an unwilling House to the doctrines of tone of society." Protection. Within the same period a The Presidents of the Union during few decisions were given which must this period were, with scarcely an exnecessarily strike us as remarkable, ception, Etonians or Wykehamists. though not so at the time when they From Eton came Gaskell, Gladstone, were delivered. It was determined, for Bruce, Lyall, the Earl of Lincoln, and instance, by a small majority, that the Rickards. They looked upon Lord abuses of a bill against cruelty to ani Lincoln as their leader, but their foremals were likely to overbalance its ad- most orator was Gladstone, who made vantages, while a motion in favour of his first speech on Feb. 11th, 1830, and permitting counsel to speak in defence was the same night elected a member of prisoners for felony was carried by a of Committee. A month later arose a single vote only ; nor did the late Dr. discussion about the Age, a very scurrilWilberforce succeed in persuading the ous weekly print, the subject of many Union that forgery ought not to be a heated debate. Gladstone opposed visited with death. It is worth ob- a motion for its discontinuance; but serving, as another example of the un- that conscientious readiness to be conconventional opinions held by the future vinced with which his well-wishers Bishop, that he likewise spoke against credit him received thus early its testi“ the law and custom of primogeniture." mony in the following note by Milnes
But with the winter term of 1829 Gaskell, the Secretary :-“ This Gentlecommenced what the present generation man having spoken agat voted in favor look back upon as the heroic age of their of ye motion." Next term he succeeded Society. During the next four or five Gaskell as second officer of the Society : years the Presidency was held by Sidney his minutes are neat ; proper names are Herbert, Milnes Gaskell, Mr. Gladstone, underlined and half-printed. As Secrethe late Earl of Elgin (Hon. J. Bruce), tary, he opposed a motion for the rethe late Mr. Lyall (Advocate-General of moyal of Jewish disabilities. He also Bengal), the late Duke of Newcastle moved that the Wellington Adminis(Earl of Lincoln), Mr. Rickards (counsel tration was undeserving of the country's to the Speaker), Lord Selborne, Mr. confidence : Gaskell, Lyall, and Lord Lincoln supported; Sidney Herbert similar proceilure in the first ages of and the Marquess (now Duke) of Aber- Christianity.” corn opposed him. The motion was Not to dwell upon the awkward Engcarried by 57 to 56, and the natural lish and doubtful history of this last exultation of the mover betrayed itself clause, one is curious to know what in such irregular entries as “ Tre- need there was of promoting voluntary mendous cheers," “ Repeated cheering.” emancipation, if compulsory manuThe following week he was elected mission were to be established ; and by President.
virtue of what delicate distinction a He only spoke thrice more on public proposal for compulsory manumission business. On the first occasion he joined could possibly be an amendment to a Tait and Gaskell in defending the results proposal for emancipation without delay. of Catholic Relief. On the second, In 1832 the Etonian dynasty expired, Sidney Herbert, Roundell Palmer, and and a Wykehamist line occupied the Lord Lincoln having supported a vote Presidential chair in the persons of three of want of confidence in Earl Grey's friends, Roundell Palmer, Ward, and Government, and Lowe, Tait, and Gas- Cardwell, to whom may be added, kell having argued against this vote, although not a Winchester man, their Gladstone moved the following rider :- associate, Tait. “ That the Ministry has unwisely intro Palmer, the most distinguished duced, and most unscrupulously for- scholar of young Oxford, was a high warded, a measure which threatens not Tory. He assailed the Declaration of only to change our form of Government, Rights of 1789, the “spirit of Demobut ultimately to break up the very cracy," the Duc de Bourdeaux's debarfoundations of social order, as well as ment from the French succession, and materially to forward the views of those the results of Catholic Relief. He also who are pursuing this project through- gave notice of a motion, “That the whole out the civilized world.” One can hardly Funds of the Society at present in the repress a smile; but it is not difficult hands of the treasurer be subscribed to to prophesy more than forty years after promote the return of Anti-Reform the event; and out of a hundred and Members to Parliament, and that any thirty young gentlemen of education not deficiency which may occur in consefewer than ninety-four echoed these quence be made up by an extraordinary melancholy forebodings.
subscription from all the members." On June 2nd, 1831, Mr. Gladstone This motion he withdrew before discusclosed a Union career almost as brief as sion : but that he could ever have conit was brilliant, by proposing, on a templated so glaring an injustice to the motion for the immediate emancipation Liberal members of the Society argues, of our slaves in the West Indies, the to say the least, very strong partizanfollowing singular "amendment”: ship. Quantum mutatus ab illo-and “ That Legislative enactments ought to for the better! At this period of his be made, and if necessary to be en- life he held that an absolute monarchy forced :
was preferable to the constitution pro“ 1st. For better guarding the per posed by the Bill of '32; that political sonal and civil rights of the Negroes in unions ought to be suppressed; and that our West India Colonies.
the abolition of death for forgery was “ 2nd. For establishing compulsory not called for by “justice, humanity, Manumission.
and expediency." “ 3rd. For securing universally the Mr. W. G. Ward, of Christ Church, receiving a Christian education, under afterwards Fellow of Balliol, the second the Clergy and Teachers, independent of of the Wykehamist triumvirate, was the Planters ; a measure of which total also a strong Tory. In 1844, being in but gradual emancipation will be the Anglican orders, he made himself famous natural consequence, as it was of a by the publication of a Romanizing work
entitled “ The Ideal of a Christian designated the “ Rambler.” Such was Church." The University condemned their reputation that its meetings were the book, and, holding its contents to immediately thronged, while the attenbe at variance with the religious decla dance at the Union dwindled in proration then required from an M.A., portion ; and a waggish “Rambler” stripped Mr. Ward of his Master's de- thus adapted to President Massie the gree. Soon afterwards he joined the lines of Cowper :Roman Church (as a layman), and has since given no public evidence of the “I am monarch of all I survey, great talents with which his contem
My right there is none to dispute ; poraries at Oxford credited him.
From the ante-room down to the chair
There is none but the Fowle and the Mr. Cardwell was a reforming and
Brute." free-trading Whig. We find him moving “That the evils which for the last thirty For it so happened that a Mr. Fowle years have afflicted Ireland have not was one of the faithful few; while the been ameliorated by the measures of other sobriquet, though less pointed, late pursued towards it:" but eighteen was well understood as referring to a months later we learn with satisfaction member of not very popular manners. that in his judgment “the union of In this crisis the Committee of the conciliatory and coercive measures which Union took up without delay the has been pursued towards Ireland has position of a “government of combat : " been in the highest degree beneficial.” they proposed to expel from the Society That was in October, '33. What does all members who at the expiration of a Mr. Cardwell think in October, 973? week should have their names on the But, if Mr. Cardwell was a Whig, his books of the “Rambler.” The Union Whiggism was certainly not of a pro- premises not being of sufficient size to gressive character : his party, in fact, accommodate the crowd expected to left him behind, and in November, 1836 attend the discussion, the large assemblyhis farewell speech was levelled at the room of the Star Inn (now the ClarenMelbourne Administration.
don Hotel) was engaged for the evening. Archbishop Tait was a moderate but The debate was one prolonged scene. very consistent Liberal. In opposition The President coming forward to move to Palmer he defended the “spirit of the Committee's recommendation, a disDemocracy," and the results of Catholic pute arose as to the proper occupancy Relief. He desired to see the Jews of the chair, in the midst of which freed from all restrictions except those (Lowe being chairman at the moment) which excluded them from the Bench “Mr. Tait, Balliol, persisting in an atand Legislature, and his parting utter tempt to address the Society, was several ances were in favour of a Parliamentary times called to order, and at last fined provision for the Roman Catholic priest- 11.” Eventually the motion was brought hood in Ireland.
forward by Lowe; a frantic debate folThese were the men who succeeded lowed; and in the end the Rambler to the Etonian line of Presidents. Lowe faction outvoted their antagonists by was also a Wykehamist, but not on 107 to 63. The Secretary, himself one cordial terms with Palmer, Ward, and of the defeated party, goes out of his Cardwell, and in Union matters acted in way to minute that “the announcement opposition to them. The winter of 1833 was received with tremendous cheering," saw his triumph: he was elected and tremendous it truly was, if we may Librarian, and the late Mr. Massie, of credit other contemporary records. Wadham, President-both in despite of For this debate, occupying as it did the party which had previously been in a position in the history of the Union the ascendant. Disgusted at this turn analogous to that of the Trojan war in of affairs, Palmer, Ward, Cardwell, and Hellenic legend, was also duly celebrated Tait set up a rival society, which they in heroic strains. A dog-Greek epic,
Grant that the gods his eloquence have
giv'n, Hath foul reproach a privilege from heav'n?
“ Uniomachia,” was published, with a dog. Latin translation (in mockery of Clarke's Homer) and equally canine notes. Of this “little Iliad" an English version, after Pope's most approved manner, was likewise issued; while another bard echoed the fray in numbers apparently designed to emulate Scott. From these vernacular rhapsodists we learn how
Massie, urged by his followers to “sup-
And, as in olden time,
Nor counted it a crime." Palmer rises next teeming with angry utterances ; but “Minerva, gliding from the sky," assumed the form of one of his friends, and “Soft counsel whis
• In many a sable fold of honour drest,
The great Lowides tow'red above the rest ; Before the faithful lines advancing far, With winged words the chief provoked the
war. O friends, be men! Be ours the noble
boast From Union rooms to drive a traitor host; Against our sov'reign will they dare combine, Form a new club, a diff'rent club from mine. The godlike Massie feels their jealous hate In empty benches, and in burked debate. Accursed crew! whose ruthless hands have
gored Their mother's breast with parricidal
“ Knit his dark brows and loath obey'd the
word, And, while his breast disdain and choler
fillid, Words sweet as honey from his lips distilled." He professes an equal affection for both societies :“ Ardent my wish in both alike to share, Both clubs my pride, and both debates my
care." The other bard thus extols the suasive oratory of the future Lord Chancellor:
"great Palmer rose, The wonder he of friends and foes, All, all admir'd his eloquence, His talent fraught with common sense, : One party smild, the other winc'd,
For who can hear him unconvinc'd ?"
Both our chroniclers, by a stretch of poetic licence, transfer “classic Tait" from the preliminary skirmish to the main battle :
“ with thund'ring sound Tait shook his tassellid cap, and sprang to
ground, (The tassell’d cap by Juggins' hands was made, Or some keen brother of the London trade, Unconscious of the stern decrees of fate, What ruthless thumps the batter'd trencher
Sinclair, of St. Mary Hall, a noted Rambler, and subsequently President of the Union (now a Sussex rector), returns the attack :
“ Skimmerian Sinclair ardent sprang to
ground, And fixing on the chief a gloomy look, With brandish'd papers dreadful, thus he
spoke, “Whence, men of Massie! this unjust
decree? Command your vassals, but command not
me, Your vaunted chief, with proud imperious
soul, Would all command, and all alike controul,
With wit licentious practised to revile, | Jeers on his tongue and satire in his smile;
Dire was the clang, and dreadful from afar,
The account given of the “mighty din ” which followed the announcement of the numbers is beyond question graphic, but its length forbids repetition. Of the original dog-Greek epic the title and first few lines may be cited as a specimen : “ Uniomachia Canino Anglico-Graece et Latine ad codicum fidem accuratissime recensuit ; annotationibus Heavysternii ornavit ; et suas insuper notulas adjecit, Habbakukius Dunderheadius, Coll. Lug. Bat. Olim. Soc. etc. etc. Oxon. — Veneunt apud D.A. Talboys MDCCCXXX111." Then follow mottoes from Thucydides, Livy, and Butler's Hudibras. The poem itself opens with a simile descriptive of the discordant clamours with which the fray commenced.
the “ Vernon," embracing both Oxford and Cambridge men, which met for tea and discussion at the British Hotel in Cockspur Street, and dined once a year at Blackwall. It came to an end in 1840 or 1841.
To return to Mr. Lowe. Of all the men of his time he was the most Liberal, and not the least bitter in his Liberalism. We find hin, strange to say, opposing a motion for the immediate abolition of slavery. But he defended the Revolution of 1830, argued against the expediency of punishing sheep-stealing with death, moved that the king should create new peers to pass the Reform Bill, moved also that all taxes on knowledge ought to be repealed, supported the Ballot, and “ardently desired the ascendancy of popular principles in the event of a general movement in Europe." It should be added that he was not only the most democratic of the great ones of his generation ; he was, what he still is, their finest orator.
The limits of the present paper will not permit a detailed account of opinions which received the Union stamp within the memorable period we have just been surveying ; but it may be of interest to observe the attitude of the Society during the Reform agitation, together with some of the circumstances attending their discussion of that question.
In January, 1829, then, the Union allowed by a small majority that the existing system of representation “ was corrupt in practice and imperfect in theory, and required a constitutional reform." But exactly twelve months later Archbishop Manning moved that “ there was as great an infusion of popular power in the House of Commons as was consistent with the spirit of the Constitution ;” and of seventysix present only three voted “no." În March, 1830, a member ventured to suggest that “Leeds, Manchester, and Birmingham ought to be represented in Parliament.” It may be difficult to believe that Milnes Gaskell, and thirteen other young men presumably possessed of reason and a conscience, united to
So much for the Rambler debate. The Ramblers remained in the Union; but, until Massie's presidency had expired, not one of their leaders spoke in public business, and Palmer withdrew altogether. Next term Tait appealed to the House against his fine, but could not obtain its remission; and the late Chancellor of the Exchequer can boast to his dying day that he has made the Archbishop of Canterbury pay twenty shillings for disorderly behaviour.
On the expiration of Massie's period of office, Lowe was elected to fill the chair ad interim for a week, at the end of which a conciliatory president was chosen, and finally the Rambler party returned to power. The “Rambler" itself bad been dropped very soon after its foundation ; but out of it grew an agreeablo metropolitan debating society