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tried, or has been unable, to do more than give us a vigorous and readable account of Goschen's political career. The secret of the man still escapes the reader as it escaped his contemporaries; and now, as then, it prevents his ever occupying the position held by men like the Duke, or Mr Gladstone, or Lord Randolph Churchill, or Mr Chamberlain, each in some important respects conspicuously Goschen's inferior, but each a man whose personality was a large outstanding fact, easily grasped by his countrymen. Yet Goschen possessed to a remarkable degree one of the gifts most fitted to make a statesman widely known in a democratic country. Kings are remembered longest by their effigies on the coinage. The coinage of a statesman is the phrase which sums up a situation. It was one of the defects of Lord Hartington that he had in him no mint for such coins. Goschen, on the other hand, gave general currency to many. Some of these have long survived him; amongst others the political blank cheque' which in 1884 he would not give to Lord Salisbury, the 'splendid isolation' of Great Britain in Europe, the 'gamble with the food of the people' in which, to the amusement of irreverent peers, he hoped the Duke of Devonshire would not take a hand. Perhaps his greatest oratorical triumph was the reply in the Opera House speech to the cry of Justice to Ireland (Life,' ii, 53).
'Justice to Ireland! . . . When did it dawn upon those who raised the cry that Justice demanded that Home Rule should be given? It is a doctrine we have not heard much from responsible statesmen; till when? We did not hear of that doctrine in November last. Yet Justice is not an intermittent apparition. Justice is not a figure that can be here at some times and absent at others. Justice is not an apparition that can be invoked at the polling booth alone. Expediency may change from time to time . . . but Justice always stands in the same position. . . . Justice has often been described as wearing a bandage over her eyes. But I did not know that her worshippers were to remain blindfold till the bandage was torn off under the pressure of expediency and fear.'
A man who could sound the trumpet-note in this fashion was an invaluable ally in the great struggle out of which the Liberal Unionist party arose. That party is now dead, though it maintains a fiction of existence
in the names and office-rooms of certain Associations. Its work is done, and it is merged in the party which includes all Unionists. But that work could only have been done by the maintenance for a time of organisations which, though Unionist, were not Conservative. Mr Holland thinks that the Duke was wrong in declining office after Lord Randolph Churchill's resignation. But undoubtedly the decision was a sound one. The real problem the Duke had at that time to solve was how to keep Mr Chamberlain and the Unionist Radicals. He would certainly have lost them if he had joined Lord Salisbury. Such changes cannot come in a moment; and in this case, as it turned out, ten years of independent alliance had to precede official union, while another ten years went by before official union passed into party fusion.
The formation of a new party in such a country as ours is one of the most difficult tasks that ever fall even to statesmen of the highest rank. The Liberal Unionist party was very fortunate in the men who formed it, above all, in its leader; but it was also singularly fortunate in the time and immediate cause of its formation. Was it mere hesitation, sluggishness of will and party loyalty that kept Lord Hartington still to the end a member of Mr Gladstone's Cabinet of 1880, though he had offered his resignation in its very first year, and had constant and fundamental differences with the majority of its members throughout its existence? Or was it one of those half-conscious instincts, which are more apt to visit men of his simple, almost rural type than men formed by education and business, that prevented his yielding sooner to Goschen's wish that he should come openly forward as the leader of the Moderate Liberals against Mr Chamberlain, and if necessary against Mr Gladstone? Anyhow, the fortunate fact remains that, for whatever reason, he did hold on. As things turned out, if he had moved in 1884 or 1885 he would have fired his piece before the real enemy came in sight.
The Liberal feeling for Gladstone was such that it was necessary he should do something visibly outrageous before there could be any chance of rousing Liberals against him. Not that Lord Hartington sought or desired such a chance-quite the reverse; but he knew that a separation could not be long delayed, and he must
consciously or unconsciously have felt that, if it was to be made with any effect, it must be made at a favourable moment. That came, of course, with the public surrender to Parnell, which, though not entirely a surprise to Mr Gladstone's colleagues, was totally unexpected and, to say the least, totally undesired by the mass of the party. This gave Hartington the opportunity of his life. He at once seized it, with great reluctance, with no thought of personal ambition, but with the unwavering resolution of the plain, strong man he was; and what a year earlier would have been a mere Whig secession became the organisation of a great political party. His followers felt at once that his character, described long afterwards by Mr Balfour as one of the assets of English public life, was the rock on which their future was to be built. Without him, all resistance to Mr Gladstone's towering personality would crumble to pieces; with him, all the Gladstonian weapons could be successfully faced-the age, authority and eloquence of the leader, the arts and devices of the parliamentary manager, the resolute will, the imperious fascination, the plausible phrases and sincere insincerities of the man.
Even so, the result was long doubtful. An old Liberal Unionist has been heard to relate how some of those who opposed Home Rule were in the habit of holding meetings for consultation while the discussions on the Home Rule Bill were in progress. They met one day when the second reading of the Bill was about to be taken. Lord Hartington was characteristically late in arriving. Discussion began without him; the attitude of Mr Chamberlain and his friends was reported to be uncertain; and the general feeling was against attempting an amendment to the second reading. Those present had just decided on letting it pass and seeing what could be done in Committee, when Lord Hartington came in. He was told, as he took the chair, of the decision that had just been arrived at. I am sorry to hear it,' he replied, 'for I have just handed in an amendment for the rejection of the second reading, and I mean to move it, whether anyone supports me or not.' In a moment the atmosphere was changed. What had seemed impossible became a thing which simply had to be done as a matter of duty. And a little later it was done, and, as all the
world knows, successfully done. Such is the instant difference which the presence of a real leader makes in men's capacity, not merely for doing things, but even for thinking it possible that they can be done. 'Possunt quia posse videntur.'
But, if Lord Hartington was the greatest element in the combination that defeated Mr Gladstone, he was very fortunate in his colleagues. There is no prouder moment in English political history. In the presence of a tremendous issue everything petty and personal seemed to disappear. Sir Henry James refused the Woolsack; Lord Salisbury was eager to surrender the prospective Premiership to the Liberal Unionist leader; Mr Chamberlain abandoned the certainty of succession to Mr Gladstone and risked his whole political future; and Lord Randolph Churchill, to whom justice has less often been done, worked with all his own energy and decision for the conclusion of a close alliance which was certain to diminish his own power in the Cabinet.
The importance of that meteoric figure lasted little more than a political moment, but while it existed it was immense. Lord Randolph's career has been related in the most brilliant of contemporary biographies; and with the bulk of it we have no concern here. But it is fair to recall, whenever the crisis of 1886 is discussed, how great a part Lord Randolph played in forming the alliance which defeated Mr Gladstone. It was he, who in a speech at Manchester suggested the name-no unimportant matter which Liberals and Conservatives could use in common. The party which that speech helped to create is still what he baptized it, the Unionist party. Halfhearted or heretical as he was about many of the causes for which it has fought and suffered, about the Union itself he never wavered for a moment. To preserve it he was ready to sacrifice all minor things, even, as his son shows, one so dear to him as the pleasure of baiting Mr Gladstone across the table of the House of Commons, if by that or any other means he could make sure of gaining Lord Hartington. From the first he was set on forming a coalition; and the first sacrifice he offered on the altar of his desire was himself. Before the 1885 election was completed he was urging Lord Salisbury to offer places in the Cabinet to Lord Hartington, Goschen and Lord
Rosebery, adding, 'You will never get Whig support as long as I am in the Government; and Whig support you must have.' Above all it was an urgent necessity that an understanding should be arrived at with Lord Hartington.
No two statesmen could be more entirely unlike than he and Lord Randolph. Except that they were both the sons of dukes and both interested in racing, they had nothing in common. Lord Hartington was, as we have seen, an aristocrat of the aristocrats, with the temperament of his order, slow, cautious, dignified, unemotional, attached to established things and traditional modes of action. The possession of a ducal coronet for two hundred years has not enabled the Churchills to produce a single notable man of the aristocratic type; and none was ever less of that type than Lord Randolph. Impetuous, excitable, intemperate of speech and action, as mischievous and impudent as a street-boy, he had been from the first the Gavroche' of English politics. Then and afterwards he was conscious of the inevitable opposition of type in Lord Hartington. But in the cause of the Union he was determined to overcome it. So he began in January 1886 by writing to Lord Hartington to apologise for a phrase used about him in a speech. This paved the way for further action, as soon as Mr Gladstone had taken office as the head of an avowedly Home Rule Ministry; and before long he was on sufficiently friendly terms with Lord Hartington to be able to assist in urging him to take the first place in moving the rejection of Mr Gladstone's Bill. But before getting so far as that, he had had to overcome difficulties with his own leader. Lord Salisbury was not at first hopeful about coalition, and thought he himself was the obstacle. 'I believe' (he said) that the G.O.M., if he were driven to so frightful a dilemma, would rather work with me than with you, but that with Hartington it is the reverse.'
That difficulty was surmounted by April 14, when Lord Hartington appeared with Lord Salisbury on the platform at Covent Garden. But one still more formidable remained. No one in 1886 occupied such a delicate position as Mr Chamberlain. He had been the admitted leader of the Radicals from 1880 to 1885 and the undisguised enemy of Lord Hartington and the Whigs. The bulk of the Radicals had followed Mr Glad