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Can there be a more lamentable picture than that of a Chancellor of the Exchequer seated on an empty chest by a pool of bottomless deficiency fishing for a budget?
If wheat were at this moment subject to a duty of twenty shillings the quarter, and if Indian corn were virtually excluded, next winter would not pass without a convulsion endangering the whole frame of society, without the humiliation of constituted authorities forced to yield after a disgraceful struggle...if their advice had been taken, we should have had famine prices for many articles, and a state of exasperated public feeling and just agitation, which it would require wiser heads than theirs to allay. So far from regretting the expulsion from office, I rejoice in it as the greatest relief from an intolerable burden. To have your own way, and to be for five years the Minister of this country in the House of Commons, is quite enough for any man's strength. He is entitled to his discharge, from length of service. But to have to incur the deepest responsibility, to bear the heaviest toil, to reconcile colleagues with conflicting opinions to a common course of action, to keep together in harmony the Sovereign, the Lords and the Commons; to have to do these things, and to be at the same time the tool of a party, that is to say, to adopt the opinions of men who have not access to your knowledge, and could not profit by it if they had, who spend their time in eating and drinking, and hunting, shooting, gambling, horse-racing, and so forth, would be an odious servitude, to which I will never submit. I determine to keep aloof from party combinations.
I shall leave a name execrated by every monopolist...but it may be...sometimes remembered with expressions of goodwill in the abodes of those whose lot it is to labour and to earn their daily bread in the sweat of their brow, when they shall recruit their exhausted strength with abundant and untaxed food, the sweeter because it is no longer leavened by a sense of injustice.
If you had to constitute new societies, you might on moral and social grounds prefer cornfields to cotton factories, an agricultural to a manufacturing population. But our lot is cast, and we cannot recede.
I have read all that has been written by the gravest authorities on political economy on the subject of rent, wages, taxes, tithes
If the spirit of the Reform Bill implies merely, a careful review of institutions, civil and ecclesiastical, undertaken in a friendly temper, combining, with the firm maintenance of established rights, the correction of proved abuses, and the redress of real grievances, in that case, I can for myself and colleagues undertake to act in such a spirit and with such intentions.
I feel and know that the Repeal must lead to the dismemberment of this great empire; must make Great Britain a fourth-rate power in Europe, and Ireland a savage wilderness.
There seem to me to be very few facts, at least ascertainable facts, in politics.
The Reform Bill has destroyed the ancient conduits and strainers, and brings Public Opinion to act upon the government with the rapid, turbulent, and uncertain violence of a flood!
The police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.
Public opinion is a compound of folly, weakness, prejudice, wrong feeling, right feeling, obstinacy, and newspaper paragraphs.
On the Wednesday evening - that is, the day I saw her Majesty on this particular point - I had the opportunity of conferring with all those whom I proposed to submit to her Majesty as Ministers.
No minister ever stood, or could stand, against public opinion.
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