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XXVII. A house of cards.

It is a curious thing that the advent of a Conservative ministry in England should have brought with it a series of illustrations of the obsoleteness and decay of the House of Lords. Mr. Gladstone, the foremost statesman of England, once declined an earldom. On the other hand, Sir Stafford Northcote was transferred from the House of Commons to the House of Lords, in order to lay him on the shelf, and the process was described in the newspapers as “Sir Stafford's snub,” and as being “kicked upstairs.” It came out, about the same time, that Lord Salisbury himself, the Premier of the new Conservative ministry, had always disliked the House of Lords, and had once seriously consulted counsel as to the practicability of resigning his peerage and returning to the louse of Commons. When we add to this the general regret felt, not only in America, but in England, when Alfred Tennyson, the poet, became Baron Tennyson d'eyncourt, it certainly seems as if the English peerage were but a house of cards-showy, brilliant, with at least four distinct court suits, but insecure and liable to fall.

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