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materials and admirable art in preparation cannot be surpassed, the effect is considerably lessened by the fact that every person at dinner is served with a cold plate. The reason of a custom, or rather a necessity, which one would think a nation so celebrated for their gastronomic tastes would better regulate, is, that the French porcelain is so inferior that it cannot endure the ordinary heat for dinner.” Now the right hon. gentleman, with an instinct which we cannot too much admire, breaks out into something like an exclamation. He says: “Now, if we had only had that commercial treaty with France which has been so often on the point of completion, and the fabrics of our unrivalled potteries were given in exchange for their capital wines, the dinners of both nations would be improved ; England would gain a delightful beverage, and the French (for the first time in their lives) would dine off hot plates.” (Laughter.) And he concludes with an expression which I recommend to his devoted followers: “An unanswerable instance of the advantages of commercial reciprocity!" (Great laughter.)
It was objected to the Treaty, Mr. Bright continued, that the advantage was all on the side of France; but he contended that, on the face of the Treaty, concession for concession, the French gave to us at least five times as much as we gave to them; and that when the Treaty came into force, our trade with France, which was now almost nil, would rank her with some of our best customers. A phantom of an argument had been raised on the subject of coal, but this question, with regard to the navy of France, was a mere bagatelle. The whole of the coal required by the French navy was only 150,000 tons. He made all allowances for the Emperor of the French on the ground that he had to deal with an obstinate Protectionist party, there being 'Chowlers' in France as well as in England. But the Treaty, he observed, was but a part of the scheme of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who proposed to reduce and simplify the Tariff, and to abolish the hated excise upon paper; and he asked the opponents of the Budget whether ld. or 2d. or 3d. in the pound income tax was too much to pay for the great good which the country would receive from it. The scheme carried out the policy of Sir Robert Peel; the effects of that policy had been seen and felt, and no one now denied that it was a wise one.
But while thus defending the Treaty, the Budget, and the relaxations of the Tariff, Mr. Bright said he was not unmindful of one great blot in the statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This was the frightful, the scandalous expenditure. He ridiculed the notion that there was any ground for apprehension of evil designs by France, and asked why it was, with professions of perfect amity on our part, and a commercial treaty, there should be so vast an increase in our estimates. It was a wonderful inconsistency, or a great and fatal hypocrisy, and somebody must be guilty of an immorality, the darkness of which he wanted words to describe. There was no rock on which so many dynasties had foundered as the rock of reckless and needless expenditure. Concluding by speaking of Mr. Gladstone's scheme as a whole, Mr. Bright said, “It extends the hand of friendship, not to a government only, but to a great nation across the Channel. Amid the much darkness of Europe, it is a spot of light, and opens to humanity a prospect
“ Bright as the breaking East, as midday glorious.”
I think it a great measure of justice to England, a great measure of friendship to France; and I am convinced that, acting and working through the means of these two great nations, it will be found hereafter to be a great measure of mercy to mankind.'
In the end, on Mr. Ducane's motion, the Government had a majority of 116, in a House of 562 members. Mr. Gladstone's propositions, with the French Treaty, were afterwards adopted, and an address to the Crown was carried approving the Treaty.
About this time Mr. Bright attended the annual meeting of the Lancashire Reformers' Union held in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester. He again alluded to the groundless fears of the French, observing that France was made the raw-head and bloody bones of 1793, turning the people from the consideration of their own affairs. We must be careful that it had no such effect in our day. But when he saw measures being taken—happily frustrated just now—which were the exact counterpart of the policy of 1793, he wished for a moment to dwell on this point. As to the steps by which Louis Napoleon became ruler of France, no one had now a right to quarrel with him on that score, for he was congratulated by the then Foreign Minister, now Prime Minister of this country, almost immediately after; and when he came to England he was received with every demonstration of amity by the Sovereign, and of enthusiasm by the people.
Having sketched the foreign policy of the Emperor of the French, and shown where it had been in accord with that of England, Mr. Bright added: 'I say that Louis Napoleon, judging by what appears in the papers, and what one knows beside, has done all he can to accommodate his policy to that of England : whether it be in Italy—where you sympathise with freedom, or in the distant empire of China—where you have no right as a Power to be carrying on war,whether in the right in Europe or in the wrong in China, you find the policy of the French Government most anxious to square itself with the policy of England.
And now, after all these alarms, after all these sulphurous leading articles, after all those specimens of wretched oratory poured out by speakers at rifle meetings, after a succession of stimulating letters from the Secretary at War, and hints that you don't know what that man over the water is going to do;after all those things, the man over the water is receiving one of your citizens (Mr. Cobden)—discussing the great questions of commerce and peace
-not matters about which your diplomatists generally concern themselves-receiving information, considering what would be advantageous to the great nation over which he rules, what would be advantageous to the world of which France and England form so great a part; and you find him propounding, in a letter which deserves to be written in letters of gold, a new commercial policy for France. I venture
to say that for centuries to come, if the policy marked out be adopted, a blessed renown will be attached to the name of the third Napoleon which will eclipse all that sanguinary glory which encircles the name of the first of the dynasty. At the mention of Mr. Cobden's name in this speech, the whole assembly rose, and cheered enthusiastically.
The annexation of Savoy was a question of great interest in the session of 1860, and it was one upon which Mr. Bright expressed himself very emphatically. On the 2nd of March Sir Robert Peel asked the Government for certain explanations respecting the policy of the Emperor of the French. Before Lord John Russell gave them, Mr. Bright interposed, and said, 'I don't want the Government to give the slightest countenance to this transfer, nor do I want them, on the other hand, to give the slightest opposition to it. The opposition, if you give it, must be futile; you cannot prevent the transference of Savoy, but you may, if you like, embroil Europe, and bring England into collision with France. I say, Perish Savoy—though Savoy, I believe, will not perish or even suffer-rather than that we, the representatives of the people of England, should involve the Government of this country with the people and the Government of France in a matter in which we have really no interest whatever. He begged the House, in the name of common sense and in the interests of England, to regard this question calmly and dispassionately. 'If these two kingdoms (France