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A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, V

Grote was one of the small group of men who were


[Sidenote:

1834--George Grote]

The motion was seconded by a remarkable man in a remarkable speech. Mr. George Grote, afterwards famous as the historian of Greece, was one of the new members of Parliament. He was a man of a peculiar type, of an intellectual order which we do not usually associate with the movement of the political world, but which is, nevertheless, seldom without its representative in the House of Commons. Grote was one of the small group of men who were, at that time, described as the philosophical Radicals. He acknowledged the influence of Bentham; he was a friend and associate of the elder and the younger Mill; he was a banker by occupation, a scholar and an author by vocation; a member of Parliament from a sense of duty. Grote, no doubt, was sometimes mistaken in the political conclusions at which he arrived, but he deserved the praise which Macaulay has justly given to Burke, that he was always right in his point of view. With Grote a political measure was right or wrong only as it helped or hindered the spread of education, human happiness, and peace. He was one of the earliest and most persevering advocates of the ballot system at elections, and during his short Parliamentary career he made the ballot the subject of an annual motion. Some of us can still well remember George Grote in his much later days, and can bear testimony to the fact that, to quote the thrilling words of Schiller, he reverenced in his manhood the dreams

of his youth. We can remember how steady an opponent he was of slavery, and how his sympathies went with the cause of the North during the {216} great American civil war. One can hardly suppose that Grote's style as a speaker was well suited to the ways of the House of Commons, but it is certain that whenever he spoke he always made a distinct impression on the House. Some of us who can remember John Stuart Mill addressing that same assembly at a later day, can probably form an idea of the influence exercised on the House by the man who seemed to be thinking his thoughts aloud rather than trying to win over votes or to catch encouraging applause. Grote's speech on Ward's motion brought up one view of the Irish Church which especially deserved consideration. Grote dealt with the alarms and the convictions of those who were insisting that to acknowledge any right of Parliament to interfere with the Irish State Church would be to sound in advance the doom of the English State Church as well. He pointed out that, whatever difference of opinion there might be as to the general principle of a State Establishment, the case of the two Churches, the English and the Irish, must be argued upon grounds which had nothing in common. Every argument which could be used, and must be used, for the State Church of England was an argument against the State Church in Ireland. The State Church of England was the Church to which the vast majority of the


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