COUNTRYSIDE CRACK I.
The extraordinary political demonstrations which have distinguished the
Parliamentary recess are being fast brought to a close. They will end with the
early days of the in-coming week. The great strife will then be contained to a
limited area; although the nation will view the proceedings in Parliament
with as much interest as it has shown in listening to the long series of
Last Saturday was a terrible day for talk. The talk has never ceased since.
It will be continued to-day at sundry unfortunate places, including Newtown,
in Montgomery, upon which town, and upon Denbigh on Monday, Mr. Joseph
CHAMBERLAIN, one of the most inveterate talkers of them all, will turn the tap of
his inexhaustible rhetoric.
The flow of words has been as abundant as it is at the time of a general
election. Never, perhaps, since the Corn Law agitation has so strong an effort
been made to arouse public feeling on a political question; and the effort
has not been without results, as was manifested at Carlisle last week and, more
emphatically, at Birmingham on Monday night.
COUNTRYSIDE CRACK II.
Lord Randolph CHURCHILL is sure to produce a commotion wherever he goes as
the distinguished lady of Bamborough Cross. There is a good deal of force in
his lordship, although it is not exactly of the refined or etherealized sort.
It is somewhat in the character of the behaviour of the Birmingham mob on
Monday night - it is rough. Three hundred and forty chairs were smashed at the
Birmingham place of meeting, several doors were reduced to splinters, many
panes of glass were broken, and altogether much damage was done. - £500 worth,
it was said - in the buildings and on the grounds; though the damage has
since been officially put at £126 18s 11d.
How many craniums were broken is not known with any degree of accuracy; but
I find it stated that next morning “at least one hundred mutilated hats were
found in the hall around the platform where they had been trampled upon
amongst the shattered remains of the chairs.’ It was a night of actions as well
Lord Randolph’s Carlisle meeting very nearly became the scene of a like
disturbance from the same cause. People who go to a meeting armed with tickets
of entry do not like to be insultingly refused admittance; and they have a
still stronger objection to being ignominiously “chucked” out after access has
been obtained. Summary treatment of this kind is liable to produce tokens of
resentment, as manifested in different degrees in Birmingham and Carlisle.
Birmingham was ripe for a row on Monday night; and a row there would have
been under any circumstances. The explosive material was there in abundant
quantity, and a touch at any point was sufficient to cause an out break. There
will be many a row yet before Lord Randolph CHURCHILL and Colonel Fred BURNABY
become the accepted of Midland Capital.
They are a plucky pair; but Lord Randolph will sometimes have cause to wish
that he could be backed at Birmingham by a few of the bayonets wherewith
Blenheim was won by his great ancestor, and the gallant hero of “The Ride to
Khiva” will find occasions for reflecting on the serviceableness of the double
barreled shot gun with which he “potted” the wild Arabs at El Teb.
Plucky fellows they are, I repeat, to attempt to capture of a constituency
wherein the Liberal voters at the last election were in the proportion of
more than two to one of the Conservatives.
COUNTRYSIDE CRACK III.
The Whitehaven demonstration, on Saturday, not being a county affair, was
consequently not so large as either the Carlisle or the Lowther gatherings. It
fell on a wintry day, too, in weather so bitterly cold as to render the
fireside the most desirable locality in which to demonstrate. Only the more fervid
supporters of the Reform movement, with hearts aglow with radical feeling,
would care to encounter the inclement atmosphere.
The procession, moreover, was shorn of a considerable part of its expected
proportions by the failure of the Cleator contingent to arrive in time to
take up a position on the line of march; but, take it for all in all, we have
rarely had an opportunity of looking upon its like in Whitehaven.
A very significant feature of the procession was the presence of some
hundreds of the Whitehaven colliers, who boldly marched behind the banner, by the
way, and unfurled, I believe, for the first time on Saturday. Hitherto the
Whitehaven miners have been regarded as the peculiar possession of Mr. BANTINCK;
and any attempt to interfere with the hon. Member’s political party has
always been effectual to arouse the warm indignation of Mr. BENTINCK and his more
immediate supporters. It is therefore probable that the action of the not
inconsiderable section of the miners who took part in Saturday’s demonstration
will cause the right hon. Gentleman considerable disquietude.
People were not slow to assert that the Lonsdale miners would not dare to
take part in the demonstration; but by joining, in their hundreds, the ranks
of the Reformers they have emphatically given the lie to these assertions, and
shown the world that they have the courage to proclaim their opinions
openly, in the face of day.