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The cattle lift their voices
From the valleys and the hills, And the feather'd race rejoices With a gush of tuneful bills; And if this cloudless arch
Fills the poet's song with glee, O! thou sunny first of March,
Be it dedicate to thee!
Can any of our readers inform us as to the authorship of this poem ?
CONNUBIAL HAPPINESS A PICTURE.
THE messenger found Argalus at a castle of his own, sitting in a parlour with the fair Parthenia; he, reading in a book the stories of Hercules; she by him, as to hear him read; but while his eyes looked on the book, she looked on his eyes, and sometimes staying him with some pretty questions, not so much to be resolved of the doubt, as to give him occasion to look upon her. A happy couple! He, joying in her; she, joying in herself, but in herself because she enjoyed him. Both increased their riches by giving to each other; each making one life double, because they made a double life one; where desire never wanted satisfaction, nor satisfaction ever brought satiety. He, ruling because she would obey; or rather, because she would obey, she therein ruling.-Sir Philip Sydney.
OUR LITERARY LETTER-BOX.
THE number of letters daily received on the all-important subject of "LIVE AND LET LIVE," suggests how extensively the struggle for existence is The topics on which advice is solicited are compelling multitudes to think. (exclusive of emigration)-the best and most secure mode of investing small sums; Friendly and Assurance Societies; the easiest and most available mode by which individuals, driven from one branch of industry by machinery, may turn to some other means of earning a subsistence, &c. &c. Anxious as we are to oblige our correspondents, and give them counsel on matters so vitally interesting to themselves, it must be obvious that we cannot give specific answers to each; and that even in attending to these communications in a general way, And this, in fact, is we must ourselves ask for information, as well as give it. one of the intentions of the Letter-Box, by which unknown individuals may be brought into communication, the Journal serving as their medium of introduction.
With this view, we introduce the following letter from a Liverpool gentleThe writer has given us his private address, as a guarantee; and we Still we are quite satisfied as to the earnestness and honesty of his intentions. shrink from advertising any particular private society, especially as we do not happen to know anything of it ourselves. Another correspondent has given us a statement of how he was bitten by a "Union Association Fund," which was fraudulently conducted; and he points to a recent statemen in the newspapers, describing the application of a person for assistance to recover a sum of money sunk-alas, literally sunk !—for an annuity with an insolvent society. Bearing this in mind, our readers will take the following letter on the authority alone of our intelligent correspondent.
"TO THE EDITOR OF THE LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL.
"SIR,-My attention has just been directed to a remarkably intelligent letter from AN OPERATIVE,' which appeared in No. 58, on à subject in which I have taken, and still take, great interest-namely, the application of the principle of Life Assurance, or Deferred Annuities, or both, or either, to the means of enabling the wORKING CLASSES to provide from their earnings early in life for that night' of age or sickness when no man can werk;' as well as of providing a sum for their families in the event of their death, happen when it may, by accident or otherwise; and to how many casualties is not almost every working man's life exposed ?-as also to purchase for them the proud exemp tion of being secure from the miseries of pauperism.
"I thereforo rejoice to see this letter. The working classes know not 'the might that slumbers' in their little means, if well husbanded and judiciously directed; the advantages and comforts they would produce to themselves and to their children, and the misery, degradation, and crime they would avert.
"The Poor-laws, though a national necessity, are a national evil; and it is a well-ascertained fact, that the most deserving, the poor but honest and wellconducted labourer and artisan, form but a very minute portion of those who prey upon the immense sums annually raised throughout the length and breadth of this land for the relief of the poor.' They-the working classes,-however, are daily becoming awake to the fact of the value of their resources; and I know that the National Loan Fund Society,' which your correspondent mentions, has done more to disseminate correct principles of this species of economy among the working and middle classes of these kingdoms than had ever before been dreamed of, I can also assure your intelligent inquirer, that
the directors of it have no ambition for a parade of names;' they are themselves FEW and KNOWN: they are prudent, honourable,' and painss taking in deciding upon the acceptance of risks, and in the disposal of the funds accumulating from premiums-and men of too much integrity to employ any other than 'cautious, clever, and discriminating' actuaries; they There are also economical, almost to a fault, in the expenses of its branches. are few leading towns in the kingdom that have not a board of LOCAL DIREC TORS; respecting which I can only say, that the Board in this town (Liverpool) is composed of gentlemen of the highest character and standing, both for wealth and integrity, and who attend to its business with as much punctuality and earnestness as if it were their own.
"But let not your inquirer, 'an Operative,' take my counsel-let him address a line, which he knows so well how to do, to the chairman or secretary, stating what he requires; and he will have an immediate answer, giving him full particulars, and every satisfaction. I have not the slightest interest in commending this office to him more than any other; but, from the attention I have for years given to the subject, I know this office has been THE FIRST to make life-assurance popular, by providing for contingencies in a manner that makes security where it is most required-namely, under adverse circumstances, and which its tables will most satisfactorily show.
"A FRIEND TO THE POOR MAN. "P.S.-I would caution your readers against the general tone of the celebrated article on this subject in the Quarterly 'it is a sly advertisement, badly written, and sadly inconclusive. The whole subject has yet to be treated in a manner worthy of its importance"
AMICUS says, "In reply to the inquiry of an Operative in your Letter-Box of the 8th inst., I beg to call your attention to the following extract from the tables of government annuities, per act 3, W. IV. c. 14, entitled an act to enable depositors in savings banks and others to purchase government annuities, through the medium of savings banks, &c.'
Payments for a deferred annuity of 207.
Aged 25 and under 26, must pay £24 14 0 yearly for 10 years.
20 years. 30 years.
There is an annuity society, pursuant to that act, established in connexion with the St. Clement Danes' savings bank, opposite St. Clement's Church, near Temple Bar, the whole of the money being returnable in case the party contracting for the annuity does not live to the age at which the annuity is become payable, or if he is unable to continue payment of the monthly or annual instalments. The tables are calculated for annuities of 201. for all ages, from 15 to 71, and from 10 years deferred to 65; but an annuity can be purchased of any amount, not less than 47. or more than 207.; but every information may be obtained of the actuary, Mr. Mason, I think, No. 4, Serle's-place, Carey-street, between the hours of 11 and 1."
The writer of the
ONE of the wants of Ireland is the want of CAPITAL. following letter has a little capital, with which he is willing to "try his luck” in the Emerald Isle. Any of our readers, then, interested in the welfare of Ire land, will oblige us by an answer to our young Scotch correspondent.
"I have lived on a farm in Forfarshire with my father from infancy, and acquired a practical knowledge of farming. Having now reached the years of maturity, my father is to reward me for my labours with the handsome sum of 8007., which I wish to invest on a farm, but land in Scotland at the present time is renting so high that I could hardly make a living by it. I have, for some time past, had a fancy for Ireland, as an agricultural country; now, I want your advice on the subject-whether it is or is not a good country for a young agriculturist settling into, and what part of it is best as regards climate and good soil."
"AN INQUIRER " wishes to know if there is any distinction between the terms "liquid" and "fluid," or whether they mean one and the same thing. Lengthened discussions, he says, have taken place between persons differing on this point.
When the etymology of these words is considered, we find it impossible to draw a line of distinction between them. FLUID may be traced to the Latin flumen, or (etymologists are not agreed as to which language owns its original) to the Anglo-Saxon Flum, a river; whence fluere (Latin), flowan (A. S.), to flow; and thence fluid, any body that either actually flows, or possesses the capability of flowing, like a river.
LIQUID comes from the Latin liquare, to melt, to reduce to a fluid state; and this Vossius derives from the old Latin word lix, which he contends signified water.
Both words are thus traced up to one common type, water, and no reason can be assigned why they should not be used as strictly synonymous, but a cer tain distinction has been made in their application by modern chemists, who
never denominate the gases, or other invisible fluids, liquids. Webster, in his "Dictionary of the English Language," says that "Liquid is not precisely synonymous with fluid. Mercury and air are fluid, but not liquid." He does Lot quote any authorities in support of his dictum, and if the term liquid be properly applied to water, which it is universally, we cannot see why it is not equally applicable to quicksilver; instances may be given from our best writers of its use in reference to air; Dryden, in his translation of Ovid, (Metamorphoses, book 1,) speaks of "Fields of liquid air; " and Gray, in his Ode on Spring, describes "the liquid noon."
The tacit consent which seems to be given to the restriction of the term liquid to visible fluids is convenient, as tending to precision in description, but does not appear imperatively called for, if etymological accuracy be alone taken into account. Heat is the power or agent which puts a mass of particles into that mobile or flowing state which we term fluid, and therefore the word may be applied to any mobile body, visible or invisible. But it may be convenient to say, that the absence or presence of heat can make the same mass of particles a solid-ice, a liquid-water, or a fluid-steam.
W. E. asks for an "opinion concerning the creation of animals? were they all created on one spot or district, that in which Adam was created and afterwards resided? or were they created in those countries for which from their very nature they were respectively fitted, and in which they were designed to dwell? as, for example, the elephant in India or Africa, the bear in the polar regions, the sloth in South America," &c. ?
In looking at God's arrangements, so far as we perceive them, we find everything pervaded by simplicity-there never appears to be anything like an unnecessary expenditure of POWER in effecting any given object. But to suppose that the originals of all the creatures which now inhabit the various parts of the earth were gathered together in Paradise merely for the purpose of being named by Adam, and then transported to the different portions which they were
created to inhabit, is a reflection on the wisdom of God which no intelligent
reader of the Bible would willingly entertain, if that passage in Genesis referred to could be fairly interpreted otherwise. Mau, gifted with large reasoning faculties, can transport himself almost anywhere, and live almost anywhere; but birds and fish can only rival him in the power of moving over or circumnavigating the globe. We find that various portions of the earth have their peculiar vegetable products; and as they could not transport themselves, the conclusion is inevitable, that there was a distinct and peculiar vegetable creation for different large districts of the world. If, tnen, we admit distinct vegetable creations, where is the difficulty of supposing an animal creation-that each continent or large district was furnished with its own peculiar stock of animals? Nay, we must admit it, for the difficulties are insuperable which attend the notion of all our animals having spread from a common centre.
The passage in Genesis which speaks of all the creatures having been brought to Adam in Paradise in order to receive their names, can be explained without violence to revelation, and in consistency with what natural history assures us of. The early patriarchs had scarcely an idea of an earth or world beyond that particular portion of Asia where they resided; nay, at a much later period the Jews called the diminutive country of Palestine by the large name of the earth or the world. In very many cases also, throughout the Bible, a part is spoken of, as if it were the whole. The inference is obvious. The creatures named by Adam were those created for the particular portion of Asia in which he resided; perhaps the other portions of the world had not then received their peculiar stocks of animals.
J. T. MANCHESTER.-The subject of re-adjusting the numerical values of our currency is a very different thing from altering the standard of value. The awkwardness of our pounds, shillings, and pence, as to faci ity in reckoning, has been long-felt; and various plans have been suggested, especially of late, by which a simpler numerical system might be obtained. In the United States the dollar is divided into 100 equal parts called cents, and this gives very great facility in mercantile transactions. Seeing that Great Britain and the United States are becoming every day more intimately united, it would be very desirable to bring our own money to a decimal standard, coining a double shilling, and thus dividing the pound into ten, and then to divide this double shilling into tenths, &c.
W. T. Y., dating from Glasgow, inquires" whether sea water has any corroding effect on the rivets used in fastening together the iron plates employed in building iron steam-ships."
Iron boilers and iron tanks, such as ships carry their water in, are found to corrode fast. In the tropics they are worn out in four or five years.
Sufficient time has not elapsed since the building of the first iron steamer to give a decided answer to our correspondent's question, but that the rivets of iron steamers are likely to fail is the opinion of those best qualified to judge.
It has been proposed to provide against such accidents by building the vessels with wooden timbers, and lining them throughout, inside the tron plates, caulking the lining as ships in the royal navy are done. With this precaution there would be no danger of sinking, even if the iron plates became separated.
There are at present no iron steamers in the navy; but one, the "Dorset," is building for a packet at Liverpool.
W. L.-"I am aware that hail and snow are both formed by water being frozen in its passage to the earth, by passing through a colder region of the atmosphere, but what is it that causes such a great difference between the form of the snow-flake and that of the hailstone?"
The formation of hail occurs generally in or towards the summer months, when the air, from its warmth, is capable of containing a much greater quantity of aqueous vapour than in the winter, at which time snow is most general. In the first case rain is formed in the higher regions of the atmosphere, which becomes congealed in its passage through a much colder medium; the hailstones thus formed accumulate in size according to the distance they pass through before reaching the earth, and the degree of saturation of the air. Snow on the contrary is formed by cold acting on the vapour in the atmosphere before it has been converted into rain, and the particles thus congelated becoming specifically heavier than common air fall in flakes; which vary in size, alse according to the quantity of moisture in the air.
L. W. F.-"If I put a piece of lump-sugar into a cup having a little tea at the bottom, the tea gradually rises to the top of the sugar; this, I believe, is one way in which what is called capillary attraction exerts its influence. Ba kind enough to inform me what is the cause of capillary attraction.'
The fact of a small quantity of tea in a cup rising to the top of a piece of sugar placed upon it may be considered as dependent upon two causes: capil
lary attraction, by which the liquid is enabled to rise among the interstices of the sugar, and the attraction by which the particles of sugar are enabled to unite with the particles of the water during the act of solution; that this was Newton's opinion is evident from his 31st query in his Optics, where he states that a
saline body dissolves in water owing to such attraction.
Our correspondent-wishes to know the cause of capillary attraction--we ask what is the cause of gravitation? For although they are both dependent upon the same cause, the attraction of the particles of matter according to their densities and distances from each other, still it is unfortunate that philosophers have not yet determined on what the nature of that cause may be. We simply know its effects; if, however, we should arrive at that knowledge, science will be in a very different state from what it is at present.
P. Q.-Whether the electrotype will ever supersede wood engraving we are not prepared to say, but plates formed by voltaic action may be used as substitutes for wooden blocks. These plates may be obtained in various ways: first, by engraving the figure, or whatever may be required, on a piece of newly milled lead, taking care that the cutting should be deep enough, say 1-16th of an inch, to enable the plate about to be deposited to be in sufficient relief to print from, then solder a copper wire to the back of the lead, and uniting it to the zinc plate, place it under galvanic influence, in the manner described in the 60th number of the London Saturday Journal; or an already engraved wooden block may be multiplied by taking a reversed impression from it in fusible metal, as we have recommended for obtaining copies of medals, &c.; indeed there are various methods which might be suggested for this purpose. Whilst on this subject we beg to correct a misprint in our description of the Towards the end of the descripprocess given in the Letter-Box of No. 6e. tion, the words "a gentle but horizontal pressure," are used. Now, a hortzontal pressure would destroy the effect of the experiment: it should have been a vertical or downward pressure.
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LONDON SATURDAY JOURNAL
PUBLISHED BY WILLIAM SMITH, 113, FLEET STREET.
SATURDAY, MARCH 14, 1840.
MACHINERY OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT.
and sometimes places a veto against a name to which he may have a particular personal objection. But the premier does not at all feel himself bound to conform to the will of the sovereign in either if he conceives that the person so preferred would not be a colleague with whom he could satisfactorily co-operate, or that the party so proscribed is one whose assistance he would have strong reasons for desiring. He regulates his list with or without the cordial approbation of the sovereign. The royal signature being then affixed to the list, the seals of office are placed by the outgoing minister in the hands of the king, who delivers them to the members of the new cabinet. From that moment all responsibility devolves upon the new ministers, who are gazetted forthwith.
EVERYBODY knows that the government of this country is conducted by those members of the privy council who constitute the cabinet or close council, and in whom the confidence of the sovereign, for the time being, is especially reposed. The cabinet is usually constructed in this way:-The sovereign of his or her (as the case may happen to be) free choice elects from amongst the members of either House of Parliament an individual, eminent for talents and character, and possessed of influence sufficient to enable him to associate with himself some twelve or fourteen other competent persons, in concert with whom he can hope to carry on the The cabinet generally consists of the first lord of the treasury, business of the country. The sovereign can perform no act for the lord high chancellor, the chancellor of the exchequer, the lord which some minister is not responsible. It is a question, how- president of the privy council, the lord privy seal, the first commisever, which has not yet been satisfactorily solved, who is the party sioner of land revenues, the first lord of the admiralty, the three responsible for the sovereign's election of a new prime minister. principal secretaries of state (home department, foreign affairs, Some authorities maintain that it is the prime minister who goes and colonies), the president of the board of control, and the chanout; some, that it is the new prime minister, and that, on accept- cellor of the duchy of Lancaster. Of late years the master of the ing the office, he becomes answerable for the sovereign's choice, mint, the secretary at war, the master-general of the ordnance, even though the act has been performed before he could possibly the postmaster-general, and the paymaster of the forces, have been have become minister. The question, however, is substantially occasionally added. It was as master-general of the ordnance one of little importance; for it is not the mere nomination of the that the Duke of Wellington first sat in the cabinet. The Duke of first minister, but his acts after he is appointed, that are attended Richmond sat there as postmaster-general, and Lord John Russell with consequences to the interests of the country. If he be ill-first entered it as paymaster-general of the forces. These arrange
chosen-that is to say, if he be a person absolutely unfit to fill the high station to which he is called, it will be impossible for him to form a cabinet. This circumstance of itself restricts the sovereign's power of election within a very narrow compass. Indeed, the individual most suitable to the station is generally pointed out by the public voice or by the political circumstances of the time, and thus, even if the sovereign were accountable for his own acts, which would be against the doctrine of the constitution, he would scarcely be ever in a situation where that responsibility could be fixed upon him.
ments are all, however, matter of convenience, which the ministers settle amongst themselves.
Their general principles of policy are of course well understood before they assemble in council: upon certain leading questions a thorough unanimity is required; upon others a latitude of opinion is allowed; but when these latter questions are discussed in cabinet, the members are to a certain extent bound by the decision of the majority, though in their places in parliament they claim the right of speaking and voting as they think fit.
There are only four cabinets in Europe which deliberate and resolve without the presence of the head of the state,-viz. those of England, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal. Louis Philippe very seldom permits his cabinet to discuss any measure of importance, unless in his presence. He does not sit in the chair of the president of the council. He has already argued the question to be decided with the minister to whose department it appertains, and has perfectly made up his mind upon it. He hears all that is said,
The new prime minister, before he formally accepts the office, consults with his friends, and frames a list containing the names of those to whom he would wish to entrust the different departments of the state, and the principal offices of the household. Upon the latter point more difficulties often occur than upon the former, especially whenever a decided change takes place in the political principles upon which the action of the new cabinet is to be based. To be obliged to dismiss from his circle a number of per-pro and con.; he has before him a sheet of paper, on which he sons of both sexes with whom he had been long intimate, several of them perhaps his most esteemed friends, is undoubtedly the most painful sacrifice to which any individual could be subjected. It is a sacrifice for which even a crown scarcely affords compensation. Nevertheless, it happens unfortunately that such a change becomes most indispensable at periods when it may be most mortifying, that is, when alterations of policy are forced upon the head of the state, which admit of no influences near the throne that are not in harmony with the novel state of things. Of course, everything is done in the way of selection that can tend to reconcile the sovereign to the vicissitudes in his court, and his will is in that respect consulted as far as it is practicable. But with regard to the political appointments, the prime minister acts with almost unrestricted freedom. It does happen occasionally that the sovereign nominates one or two persons whom he wishes to see in the cabinet,—
amuses himself by sketching heads, or landscapes, or groupings of men and animals, or caricatures, or anything which his fancy at the moment lays hold of. But his ear sharply listens to the effusions of his ministers, and when their resolution is taken, he expresses his own and adheres to it, whether it be conformable to their opinion or not. It is this mode of conducting the public business that has long constituted the real cause of the differences that subsisted between him and M. Thiers. They have, indeed, disagreed also occasionally upon some leading principles of policy; but Thiers, and I believe Guizot, contend, and very justly, that if the ministers are to be responsible for the acts of government, they should be allowed to deliberate and resolve upon them apart from the sovereign, who is not in law or in fact considered responsible, except in the case of a revolution,-a case, fortunately for us, more familiar to France than to England.
Bradbury and Evans Printers, Whitefriars.
The king of Holland is his own minister for every department. The Northern powers have cabinets to which they entrust a very considerable share of power. It is very well known that Prince Metternich has long been the real ruler of the Austrian empire, more especially since the accession of the present sovereign, who is afflicted by an epilepsy that often unfits him even for the ordinary routine of state affairs. Prince Nesselrode has for many years dictated the policy of Russia, although it is well understood that the Czar is a strong-minded man, and enters deeply into all the business of his wide-spread dominions. But the Austrian, Russian and Prussian chanceries, as the cabinets of those powers are more usually designated, claim no power of resolution that is not conformable with the will of the sovereign, which in those countries is absolute.
It can scarcely be said that there is any cabinet in the United States. According to their constitution the president is commander-in-chief of the army and navy, and of the militia when called out; he may require the opinion in writing of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, and he does frequently consult those officers, but he is not bound to act upon their advice. His power, however, is much restricted by the Senate and by the He cannot, without the concurrence House of Representatives. of the former, make any treaty, nor even appoint ambassadors, All the principal delibeconsuls, judges, or other civil officers. rations of government are in fact invested in Congress, the president being a mere officer for carrying the decrees of that body into execution. He is entitled, however, to put his veto upon any bill passed by congress, which cannot become law without his consent, unless it be subsequently re-passed by two-thirds of each house respectively. The Mexican and South American governments are constituted very much upon the model of that of the United States.
In fact, there is no cabinet in any nation which possesses so much power, of exercises it with so much independence, both of the sovereign and the legislature, as that of Great Britain. Undoubtedly the House of Commons may dissolve the government whenever it may think fit so to do, by refusing the supplies, or by placing them in a decisive minority upon any question affecting the vital principles of their policy. But so long as the ministers have a majority in the House of Commons, they may defy the power even of the sovereign. He may not give them his confidence; he may be opposed to every one of their political resolutions; and yet he must keep them in power provided they have the support of the lower house. Upon all matters of this kind the House of Lords This case now exists; for it is possesses little or no control. very well known that there is a large majority of their lordships at open, and sometimes even violent, war with the present ministers. It is also clearly understood, that the late king was often adverse to the policy of his ministers; the archives of the cabinet are full of his letters remonstrating against their proceedings,letters, too, it is said, written with great ability and extensive knowledge of the topics on which they treat.
The title by which the British cabinet ministers are designated in their collective acts, is-" His (or Her) Majesty's confidential servants." They usually assemble about two o'clock in the afternoon, in a spacious chamber fitted out for the purpose in the Foreign-office. A cabinet is held regularly every Saturday during the sitting of parliament. There is also a cabinet frequently on other days of the week, summoned by any of the ministers who may require the advice of his colleagues on matters of special importance. He proposes to them his views of the steps that ought to be taken-those views are freely canvassed-he accepts or refuses any modifications which his colleagues suggest; if a majority be decidedly opposed to him, he either withdraws his proposition, or alters it, or resigns his office if he can make no compromise. Every resolution of the cabinet which is of particular importance is sent to the sovereign for signature before it is reduced to action. It is the signature which is constitutionally required, not approbation. William IV. sometimes added to his signature the words, "Highly approved." More frequently he gave his mere signature, accompanying the act with an expression of dissent, but stating that he left the matter to the ministers, who were responsible to the nation for the consequences.
Nor is that responsibility by any means a nominal one. They may be called upon at any time in their places in parliament to vindicate their measures, and to produce any documents connected with them, unless it should happen that the production of such documents might be detrimental to the public service. The old
constitutional mode of punishing any gross malfaisance on the
The Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, being the heads of the Treasury department, are assisted by two secretaries and five lords of the treasury. The civil patronage of the Treasury, which is of very great extent, is exercised practically by one of these secretaries, who of course uses his power in that respect in concert with his chief, and with a view to strengthen the power of his government as far as possible. It is by means of this patronage that the adherence of members of parliament is or their friends-their claims are canvassed and considered more secured and retained. The latter ask vacant places for themselves with reference to their influence by personal talent or political connexion, than (I regret to say) by the competency of the party proposed for office. Many gross cases of utter incompetency on the part of the individual preferred have occurred under governments of every shade of politics. Indeed, I believe there is no country in Europe in which fitness for the subordinate offices is so little consulted as in England. It is enough that the candidate is strongly backed by parliamentary friends; in that case, unless he be a mere idiot or a notoriously ill-conducted person, he is certain of success.
It is the chief business of the second secretary of the Treasury to attend to the voters in the House of Commons. He is called the "whipper-in.' He is constantly in the house; and whenever divisions of political importance are expected, he may be seen watching the state of the Treasury benches; if they be in a perilous state as compared with the numbers on the other side, he hastens to his messengers, whom he despatches in all directions for the supporters of government. An active "whipper-in" is an officer of the greatest importance to government, especially in the present times, when parties are so very nearly balanced in point of number.
The five lords of the Treasury, or most of them, assemble every day (Sundays of course excepted) at their office in Whitehall, but Their signatures are they exercise scarcely any real power. required to all the Treasury minutes; but those minutes are previously prepared either by the first secretary or by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. All the routine business of the department is managed by the "assistant secretary," who, in fact, possesses
very extensive power. He submits his minutes to the first secretary, who seldom changes them; they then go before the "lords," who practically have no power to alter them. Every thing that goes before them is, to use a vulgar phrase, already "cut and dry;" and the only duty which they have to perform is, in truth, to "register" the decrees of the superior powers-that is, of the Prime Minister or the Chancellor of the Exchequer, or the first (he is more frequently called the job) secretary, or in very many cases of the "assistant" secretary. The "whipper-in" has not much to do, generally speaking, with the Treasury jobs. The management of the discipline of his party, and of the press, is his affair. It is he, also, who generally moves for new writs when the stewardship of the Chiltern hundreds, or any other office of profit, is accepted by a member of the house.
The Chiltern hundreds are situated on a chain of chalk hills, covered in various places with wood, which run from east to west through the middle of Buckinghamshire, and belong, from time immemorial, to the crown. The crown of course appoints to the stewardship of these hundreds, to which office a salary (now merely nominal) is annexed. The trust committed to a member of the House of Commons is one which he cannot resign; he is compellable by order of the house to discharge the duties of it, unless he can show such cause as the house may, in its discretion, think sufficient. The only mode, therefore, he has of vacating his seat, is by acceptance of an office "of profit" under the crown. Mr. Hatsell, the great authority upon all points connected with the law of parliament, observes, that "the practice of accepting this nominal office, which began (he believes) only about the year 1750, has been now so long acquiesced in, from its convenience to all parties, that it would be ridiculous to state any doubt about its legality; otherwise (he believes) it would be found very difficult, from the form of these appointments, to show that it is an office of profit under the crown.'
I have stated that the second secretary of the Treasury attends, amongst his other duties, also to the " Press." The reader will, however, be surprised to learn that this most potent weapon for wielding the force of public opinion-that this all-powerful instrument-enters but very slightly into the "machinery" of the present government. The Morning Chronicle is undoubtedly what is called a "ministerial paper;" but it is in no respect dependent upon ministerial patronage. It often, especially of late, complains of the mode in which the government is conducted, and remonstrates against particular measures emanating from the cabinet with great vehemence. Its connexion with the government is in fact chiefly apparent in the columns devoted to foreign affairs, which may be understood to be almost uniformly inspired by the authorities of the Foreign-office; but between that journal and the other offices of government there is little of regular intercourse, the Castle of Dublin alone excepted.
The Courier, before its late metamorphosis, received intelligence occasionally from the Treasury. The Globe is on all hands understood to be the only journal really dependent on government; a considerable share in its property is said to belong to an eminent public officer, who, if report be correct, also writes its leading articles frequently, or has them written under his superintendence. The Observer also receives articles of intelligence from the foreign and home departments, as well as from the Treasury, and the Examiner is well known for its advocacy of the existing cabinet. The Sun and the Morning Advertiser support the government, although they have rarely any original official intelligence. The Weekly Chronicle is known to be the property of Mr. Ward, one of the members for Sheffield, who aspires to a place in the cabinet. He is the writer of its principal articles, and is undoubtedly a man of distinguished ability.
But amongst all these journals, there is not one, except the Examiner and the Globe, which may be looked upon as strictly ministerial, so that it will be seen that the "Press" forms only a very small portion of the actual machinery of the existing govern
A regular official paper, conducted with skill and moderation, adhering as nearly as possible to historical dignity and impartiality, well-informed from official sources, and looking solely to the welfare of the empire, is unquestionably a great desideratum in the "machinery" of our government.
It need scarcely be added that the Exchequer, in its original form, is a very ancient Court of Record, set up by William the Conqueror as a part of the aula regis, or royal hall of audience; it was intended principally to receive and keep account of the revenues of the crown, and to recover the king's debts and duties. It is called the " Exchequer" from the chequered cloth, resembling a chess-board, which covers the table of the court so designated at Westminster. And there are certain ancient functions of the court in which the Chancellor of the Exchequer takes a part; on these occasions he wears a judicial robe of state, not unlike those of the Lord High Chancellor and the Vice-Chancellor. It is his duty to attend to all the finances of the country; the accounts of income and expenditure are kept at the Treasury, and there all payments are made under warrants from the crown, by the Treasury solicitors.
So well contrived are all the checks now upon receipts and disbursements, that it is extremely difficult for any public officer to be guilty of any serious defalcation. Indeed, the general character of the gentlemen who have anything to do with money in the Treasury department places them beyond all suspicion. It is much to be regretted that the sweeping hand of what was called economy," some years ago diminished to much too great an extent the number of persons employed in that office. It is a most painful operation to any of her Majesty's subjects who have business to transact with that department. The applicant must state his case either by letter or memorial; it first goes before the assistant-secretary, who, being already overwhelmed with the amount of his occupations, is obliged to let the memorial sleep for a time upon his table. A "reminder" must then go in; that also undergoes a species of lethargy; and the memorialist may think himself well off if he receives an answer within six months, and a settlement of his claim, or whatever else it may be, within eighteen months or two years. That is surely a most detrimental economy which thus delays the course of justice, and indeed in many cases defeats it.
For instance, it often occurs that overcharges are made in export or import duties at the Custom-house, or questions arise out of the navigation laws as to the amount of duties on articles imported from particular countries. These questions must go before the law authorities at the Treasury for solution. These authorities are always immersed in pressing business, and the new application must wait for its turn. It is at length examined, and submitted to the law officers of the crown,—the Queen's Advocates, the Attorney and Solicitor General being usually meant by that designation. In the hands of those learned gentlemen, who have usually quite enough to do with the affairs of their clients in the courts to which they respectively belong, the matter meets with still further delay; and eventually this most tedious process becomes so vexatious to the parties interested, that they abandon it altogether, finding it much less expensive to submit to the original injury than to waste their time in going on with the transaction. I have more than once seen a letter from the Treasury beginning in this way :
"Treasury, 14th December, 18"SIR,-In answer to your memorial of the 3d January last," &c. &c.
Now I impute no blame to any of the Treasury officers for such delays as these. Those upon whom the business devolves are really overworked; the department is not sufficiently supplied with hands to encounter the vast and growing amount of the business of the empire.
In the catalogue of state offices, next after that of the Chancellor of the Exchequer (for the machinery of the Lord High Chancellor's offices is altogether beyond the scope of my subject) comes the Presidency of the Council. In France the "President of the Council" means the Prime Minister; but with us the office gives no rank in the cabinet, and indeed no particular line of occupation. There are, however, many matters to which the other members cannot conveniently attend, and which are, therefore, by arrangement, placed under his care,—such as the application of grants for public education, the regulation of public schools, the encouragement of the fine arts, and the management in the House of Lords of most of the bills which are introduced or sanctioned by government. The Lord President is, moreover, generally expected to take an active share in all debates of an important
It appears to me that the government, no matter what its politics may be, ought to possess, as an integral part of its "machinery," an avowed official journal, authorised to communicate to the world from time to time the views of the cabinet. People in high station and in power may despise the "Press," and flatter themselves that its misrepresentations are often so gross as to deprive it of all influence; but they never recollect that what they know to be misrepresentations are not known by the great mass of newspaper readers to be at all erroneous; and in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred the truth comes out too tardily and too partially to eradicate the wrong impressions already made upon the public mind, I character.