Monday, December 10, 2012

Heated political debate

George responds to Sill's political challenge - and concludes with some advice on how to combat scarlet fever.
April 12th

Dear Brother

I have been scribbling a few political facts for your perusal during your spare time.  I hope they may open your eyes to see the things in the right way.  Since we have touched on politics, we may as well, express our opinions, however simple they may be, for if we live I hope we shall have the priveledge of a vote or perhaps be honoured as a candidate & a member but I fear Owr lot Lorbad

          The applause of listening sends to command
          The threat of pain or ruin to dispise
          To scatter Plenty ore a smilling land
          And read our history in a nations eyes
          We shall more likely, along the
          Cool sequesterd vale of life, Persue
          the voiceless terror of our way


I have refered to page 7 of the Cambrian and have read with disgust the few arguments you liberals advance to show why the electors should not vote for the Conservatives.  And I claim that the spirited Foreign Policy has been the means of preserving us from the horrors of war.  The Berlin Memorandum had nothing more in view than that the three great powers of the Continent should portion out to themselves the rest of Europe and rule the world.  The agreement had been drawn out and they were just going to sign it when one of the emperors said What will England say now their minds were filled with fear for they knew that England under the Beaconsfield administration was fast rising from the weak state in which Gladstone had left her and if she refused to sign would be a dangerous foe to conquer, but if she signed a powerfull ally.  Let us send their Cabinet a copy and get them to sign it says one.  So a copy was sent and the cabinet rejects its proposals as aggressive and unfair, and with the patriotism of Englishmen refused to sign and said we take the consequences for we will be no party to deprive either small or weak turk or servian of their rights.  What were the consequences?  The Berlin Memorandum was destroyed the dangerous triple alliance squashed and the present Austrian German treaty the result.  A treaty entered into with the view of curbing the aggressive passions of Russian showing that Europeans & Continental nations see in her policy a danger, which is seen only by Conservatives in England, and utterly ignored by the Whigs.  

Benjamin Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield
Again, did we not do our utmost to prevent the Russia Turkish war did we not send our Representatives to Turkey to try and persuade them not to go to war but Russian demands were excessive and nothing but war would satisfy her.  Did not Russian Priests excite and stir up the poor fanatics (which you liberals please to call Christians) in Servia, Bugaria & Montenegro to rebellion and when the [porle] tried to repress them sent her soldiers & officers to help and to continue the rebellion. 

Let me ask you is Russia a Christian Nation, if so, why is her press gagged her peoples opinions hushed, and what means these throngs of Prisoners on their was to the Cold tombs of Siberia.  Hark, what is that noise like thunder tis their attempt to murder their Emperor tis the outburst of passion from her downtrodden people who are ruled with a rod of Iron & Oppression.  What better are the Russians than the Turks.  Follow me over the Steppes of Asia and see the oppressed Kihavians and the merciless slaughter of the Turkomans.  This aggressive policy on the frontiers of China, and watch them cast their longing eyes on the rich plains of our own Indian Empire many more reasons could I adduce to show you that Russia is morally & politically worse thank the turk had I time. 

Turkey never would have drawn the sword had not Russia instigated the so called Christians to rise in insurrection. The Servians never spared woman or child of the turks and could you expect the turk to be better than the Christian.  The stories told of Bulgarian Atrocities are scarce one of them true being exaggerated and high coloured by the Russian.  As soon as Turkey had succeeded in quelling the various insurrections, Russia steps in and says that the parties that had been beaten should have governments of their own.  Is that fair, why not have said so at first, and settled the questions before war begin, no Russia wanted to divide turkey and weaken her power and then she would try to get a piece for her share and for the sly and mean part she had played in the background.  So turkey called the powers together and tried to settle in the best way she could this new difficulty.  And after the conference every power seemed to be satisfied when all of a sudden Russia declared war and hurried her legions across the Pra. 

What your liberal leaders wanted us to do was to Join with Russia in the [in the] degrading mission of adding to her territory and subjects on which she may display her iron rule.  I ask you again would that be fair, two strong nations to oppress a weak one.  No Conservatives could not sink the honours of England as low as that but Liberals may.  

This war which the liberals advocated would have cost 50 millions and we should have gained nothing only added to Russian territory, and have closed the high road to our Indian possessions.  Again we have always held the opinion, whether liberal or conservative that Constantinople & Asia minor are the chief roads to our Indian Empire an Enemy in possession of those points would soon be in a position to attack us with advantage.  So we informed the Russians how far we should allow them to go before we should actively interfer Said we, you must not break the line of Gallipoli or our Ships shall advance and protect our interests, did Russia heed our warning no but advanced at her peril and not till then did our ship enter Turkish waters. 

William Gladstone

Here was the beginning of Englands Rise Russia thought she would be afraid but now found her mistake and so her forces retired to adrianople and our ships to the mediterrain.  Suppose the liberals had been in power.  They would have maintained an indifference until Russia had conquered Constantinople and then would have been forced to war to dislodge her.  The last war cost them about 200 millions and thousands of men and I am of the opinion that this would have cost them double or treble that amount.  The conservatives with the six millions went boldly up and thus avoided the horror of war and of exhausting the exchequer and her army by bloodshed.  And raised England again to the biggest & greatest nation in the world.

                    When Gladstone was in power
                    Her banner in the dust did lay
                    But now unrivalled flys it in the air
                    Supported there by Beaconsfield’s Command.

Again you attack our Afghan policy as an unjust war.  Liberals have advanced the opinion that Afghan must be our friends or not be strong, very well.  You Liberals gave Afghan the cold shoulder and made her your enemy, and left the disagreeable duty of making her weak to the conservatives as a legacy when you went out of power.  

We should not have done that however, if they had treated us with the respect which is due to us, but they admitted our known enemies to her capital and refused us who had the greater claim to be there, insulted our representatives, and instigated by Russia bid us defiance. 

The intrigues of Russia and her known design upon India Rendered it necessary that our frontiers should be adjusted and strengthened.  Thus it was plainly our duty to repress an insolent tribe which had been used as a cats paw by Russia and to protect ourselves from Russia herself.  

I cannot dwell further upon this question my recent illness prevented me gaining information which I should desire and we take a Liberal paper here and it cannot be relied upon.  

Sir Bartle Frere
The Zulu war was one of the most needed and was that ever undertaken by the British crown. Had not Sir Bartle Frere advanced at once against them they would have been down on Cape Colony and have murdered ever white man in the colony.  The Ulundi  disaster is an incident which has caused much regret to Conservatives & Liberals but it is plain they did their duty and fought like Brittons. But did not Lord Chelmsford retrieve that at Ulundi and had finished the war before you bolsted Liberal arrived?  All these troubles were legacies left by the Liberals and now they have been settled the Liberals will quietly go back again and reap the benefit in the years of peace & plenty which will & naturally follow. 

If the Liberals go in the honour of Britain will sink again to where the Conservatives found it and her name will be a byword among the nations never to be raised until Conservatives take the helm and her captain stands once more on the bridge and directs her again to Honour if it is through the billows of war.  The name of that Captain is Beaconsfield.  To such a name May England long Preserve a broad approach of fame And never ceasing avenues of song.  

Neither have they neglected domestic legislation or exhausted the finances of the country to half the extent that the liberals did before them.  The boasted six millions surplus was a myth & a fraud – which realised only £800000.  The conservatives have not resorted to that mean policy of Gladstones that is to collect 5 quarter taxes in one year, which he did in 1870.  A Conservative year has only 4 quarters.  Neither have we recklessly given away 3 millions to the Americans on the pretex of an Alabama Award without inquiring into the details and getting Cheated of a Million & half by giving them too much.  That is how the Liberals squandered our money and disgraced our honour, fenced in a corner the Liberal would rather pay away the earning of the labourer than fight for his rights.  

The Americans had no ground at all for such a claim (and if they had it was the liberals let her escape from Berkenhead) but instead of standing up for Englands glory he payed her demands out of the public fund.  Such was the case with Ancient Rome, preferring to pay off her assailants than to fight them she soon succumbed to idle mess and her power began to wane which soon led to her overthrow & Ruin.  And such will be the case of England under the Whigs her now powerful fleet will sink into the same state as before and her Cheeseparing policy will Ruin her.  

Hoping this may convert you into a powerful supporter of the tories and that you will leave the rotten policy of the Whigs and go in with me for peace honour & glory with the Conservatives no more paper or I may enlighten you on other subjects.

Whatever may be our lot, there is no harm in gathering all knowledge that we may be enlightened on all subjects. And be interesting to those with whom we come in contact. amen 

I am glad to say that I am quite well and hope you are the same.  We are all sorry to hear of the ravages of the scarlet fever down there.  Aunt thinks it would be a wise plan & a preventive for you to get some sulphur and burn in the rooms, you can buy it at the chemists it does not cost very much per lb.  The way to do it is to heat an old pan red hot and put in the room on a tray or large stone and then drop a few lumps of sulpher into it.  Close all holes & put something at the foot of the door to keep all the smoke in the room.  It is warranted to kill all moths fleas, Bugs & beetles as well as to prevent fever.  Aunt and the children are all gone to Betws y Coed for a little while.  And Mr. Bevan went upon Saturday and I expect him back this Evening.

I remain
                              Your aff. Brother

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Political musings

Today Chancellor George Osborne will deliver what is being described as 'a bleak mini-budget.' Read Sill's view on the Conservative Party of 130 years ago as the country prepared for a General Election.

Henry Goulburn (1784 -1856) op gravure uit 1837. Conservatieve Engels staatsman en een lid van de factie Peelite na 1846. Gegraveerd door F. Holl naar een schilderij van Pickersgill en uitgegeven door G. deugd. Stockfoto - 10755263
Henry Goulburn Tory Chancellor Jan 1828-Nov 1830
 Overton Gower
April 1st 1880

My Dear Brother

 I duly received your letter and was glad to hear you are quite well & able to discuss politics so well, I think you had better leave the ranks of the Tories & join those of the Whigs I felt greatly relieved on reading your letter.  I did not think your party had the interest of the country i.e. at home, so much to heart, as to pass those few good laws that you enumerated, to shorten this letter, let me refer you to page seven in the Cambrian & there you will see a great many things they would not do, they were too much occupied with their “spirited” foreign policy, by which they have tarnished and degraded the very name of our nation by upholding the rotten, mislead, despotism of Turkey.  Why not have signed the Berlin Memorandum? & acted jointly with the other powers of Europe in establishing good laws, and order, in the oppressed provinces of Turkey, instead of leaving it in the hands of Russia and thus prevented a unjust and worthless war, & then when both combatants were quite exhausted, to step in for a share of the spoil with such menacing as sending the fleet up the Dardenells & such expressions as “when the sword is drawn justice shall be done” on the back of a very great injustice, at the cost of six millions, which would have done far more good & more honourable had it been distributed to feed our starving poor at home, to be relieved of taxes is very good to be sure but I like to “pay as we go” not to be adding to our nationall debt, which with the Conservatives in power will soon get too heavy a burden to bear and this hasten the time when your bands of pilgrims will be visiting our ruined towns etc.

Just think of the Zulu war with its immense cost of lives & money which you Conservatives so boldly undertook but could not find a man competent to bring it to a honourable conclusion, of your own party, were obliged to send a Liberal (Ld. Garnet) to settle that dificult problem, & now you have a nother in Afghanistan which is nothing less than a sore on the late Cabinet’s head) which none of your doctors can cure.

You will see a letter in the Cambrian by “Informant” owning to Irish & Conservative rogues, I have almost been ruined, but however, I hope we shall have a more enlightened government, next! Which I think is pretty sure.

Please send a Conservative paper sometimes & Punch ever week till the election is over.

We had a good Tea Meeting on Good Friday.  Jane was home from Thursday until Tuesday, and Morgan and Frank, except Saturday.

Hannah went to Swansea yesterday to begin her term to day for two years learning the Millinery & dressmaking.  She is to lodge with Jane at 22 George Street.

We have nearly finished ploughing for barley but have now sown much.

Hoping this will find you quite well & every success to the Liberals.

                              I remain
                                        Your affection:
                                                  Brother S. Bevan