Chapter 160140722

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Chapter NumberVI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160140722
Full Date1881-01-29
Page Number36
Corrections0
Word Count992
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleEndymion
article text

CHAPTER VI.

Mr. Ferrnrg did bo: become a. Cabinet Minister, bat this wbb a vexation rather than a disappointment, and transient. The unexpected vacancies were filled by nnexpected personages. So great a change in the frame of the Ministry without any promotion for himself was on the first impression not agreeable, but reflection and the sanguine wisdom of Zonobia soon convinoed

him that all was for the beat—that the thought of each rapid preferment was unreasonable, and the time and the due season must inevitably bring all that he could desire, especially as any term to the duration of the Ministry was not now to be foreseen; scarcely Indeed possible. In abort, it was shown to him that the Tory party, renovated and restored, had entered upon a new lease of authority, which would stamp its character on the remainder of the nineteenth century, as Mr. Pitt and his school had marked its earlier and memorable years.

And yet this very reconstruction of the Government necessarily led to an incident which, in its consequences, changed the whole character of English politics, and commenced a series of revolutions which has not yet closed.

Cne of the new Ministers, who had been pre ferred to a place which Mr. Ferrars might have filled, was an Irish gentlemaD, and a member for one of the most considerable counties in bis country. He was a good speaker, and the Government was deficient in debating power in tbe House of Commons; he was popular and

influential.

Tbe return of a Cabinet Minister by a large constituency was more appreciated in tbe days of close boronghs than at present. There was a rumour that the hew Minister was to be opposed, but Zenobia laughed the rumour to scorn. Aa she irresistibly remarked at one of her evening gatherings, "Every landowner in the county is in bis favour, therefore it is impossible." The statistics of Zenobia were quite correct, yet the result was different from what she anticipated. An Irish lawyer, a professional agitator, himself a Roman Catholic and* therefore ineligible, an nounced himself as a candidate, in opposition

to the new Minister, and on the day of election' | thirty thonsand peasants, setting at defiance all the landowners of the county, returned O'Oonneil at the head of the poll, and placed among not the least memorable of historical events—the Clare Election.

This event did not, however, occur until the end of the year 182S, for the state of the law then prevented the writ from being moved until that time, and during the whole of that year the Ferrars family had pursued a course of unflagging display. Oourage, expenditure, and tact combined had realized almost the height of that social ambition to which Mrs. Ferrars soared. Even in tbe limited and exclusive circle which then prevailed, she began to be counted among the great dames. As for the twins, tbey seemed quite worthy of their beau tiful and luxurious mother. Proud, wilful, and selfish, they had one redeeming quality—an intense affection for each other. The sister seemed to have the commanding spirit; for Endymion was calm, but if he were ruled by his siBter, she was ever willing to be his slave, and to sacrifice every consideration to his caprice and his convenience.

The year 1820 was eventful, but to Ferrars more agitating than anxious When it was first known that the head of the Cabinet, whose colleague had been defeated at Glare, was him self about to propose the emancipation of the Roman Catholics, there was a thrill throughout the country; but after a time the success of the operation was not doubted, and was anticipated as a fresh proof of the irresistible fortune Of tbe heroio statesman. There was some popular discontent in the country at the proposal, bat it was mainly organized and stimulated by the Dissenters, and that section of Churchmen who most resembled them. The High Ohurch party, tbe descendants of the old connection which had rallied round Sacheverell, bad sub sided into formalism, and shrank from any very active co-operation with their evangelical

brethien.

The EDgliehOhnrch bad no competent leaders among the clergy. The spirit that has animated and disturbed our latter times seemed quite dead, and no one anticipated its resurrection. The Bishops had been selected from College dons, men profoundly ignorant of the condition and the wants of the country. To have edited a Greek play with ? second-rate success, or to have been the tntor of some considerable patrician, was the qualification then deemed desirable and sufficient for an office, which at this day is at 'least reserved for eloquence and energy. The social influence of the Epis copal Bench was nothing. A prelate was rarely seen in the saloons of Zenobia. It is since the depths of religions thought have been probed, and the influence of women in the spread and sustenance of religious feeling has again been recognised, that fascinating and fashionable prelates have become favoured guests in the refined ssIoods of the mighty, and, while apparently indulging in the vanities of the hour, have re-eBtablished the iDfluenoe which in old days guided a Matilda or the

mother of Constantino.

The end of tbe year 1829, however, brought a private event of moment to the Ferrars family. The elder Mr. Ferrars died. The world observed at the time how deeply affected his son was at this event. The relations between father and son had always been com mendable, but the world was hardly prepared for Mr. Ferrars, junior, being so entirely over whelmed. It would seem that nothing but tbe duties of public life could have restored him to his friends, and even these duties he relinquished for an unusual time. Tbe world was curious to know the amount of his inheritance, but tbe proof of the will was unusually delayfed, and public events aeon occurred whioh alike con signed the will and the will-maker to oblivion.