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had succeeded. All snobdom, without exception, caught up their idea, and the most brainless chatterers felt themselves entitled to drawl out their inane observations about Mr. Gladstone and his postcards. How far the spirit had infected the middle classes we do not care to speculate. The waters wear away the stones, and there were some who should have been able to maintain their loyalty, on whom the constant reiteration of these miserable criticisms had produced too much effect.

But with the people these arts utterly failed. When the Jingo fever was at its height, Mr. Gladstone had to face a brief storm of unpopularity, but it soon subsided, and was followed by a reaction, which has raised him to a position never reached by any former statesman. The enthusiasm of the popular demonstrations, succeeded as they have been by more practical signs of loyal support, was the most emphatic rebuke that could have been administered to the shameless and persistent malignity with which the Liberal chief had been assailed. A more generous as well as more sagacious estimate of the spirit of the people, would have saved the party from the egregious blunder which precipitated its fall. They were weak enough to fancy that the straightforward artizan would judge by the same laws as the exquisites of the West End, and that breaches of good taste, such as answering' cads' on postcards, which offended the delicate sensibilities of the latter, would be equally offensive to the former. They did not understand that the very frankness of the correspondence they despised, and the simplicity of spirit and life which it indicated to them, and which seemed so vulgar, has a fascination for the people. They were unable-alas for themselves!-to understand the magnanimity and nobility of the man; and it was pleasant for them to believe that the extraordinary abilities which nature had not qualified them to measure, much less to rival, and the marvellous activity which they certainly had no disposition to imitate, were signs of mental weakness. There is nothing so comforting to men of narrow mind and heart as to believe that genius is akin to madness, and that heroism has about it a touch of hypocrisy and claptrap. But the people do not judge thus rashly. The intellectual power and the moral grandeur of Mr. Gladstone alike impressed them. They admired him, they trusted him, they kindled with a righteous indignation against his calumniators, they clearly perceived that his devotion to the popular cause was the secret of the hatred with which society regarded him. The clubs, echoing the cry of their journals, laughed at him as a verbose dis

claimer. So Lord Beaconsfield himself had said, and The Times' in cold blood had repeated and accentuated the unmannerly abuse of his post-prandial speech. Yet this rhetoric, so much abused, moved the whole nation. What was listened to by hundreds was read by thousands and tens of thousands. In the workshops, in their political clubs, among the factory workers of Lancashire, or the miners of Wales, or the farmers of Bedfordshire, those speeches were conned over and discussed in a fashion that could hardly be understood by the selfsatisfied man of intellect, who scanned the leader of The Times' or The Telegraph,' and then thought himself competent to pronounce an opinion on a speech of which he had read nothing except the sentences the critics had seen fit to extract for their own purposes.

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This is the real secret of the political revolution which will make this year a memorable era. The Liberals had little to offer the people, but they had a great leader, who in the eyes of vast multitudes was a representative of a righteous policy, of whom any nation might be proud. That the new Ministry will do real work we have no doubt. They believe in progress, and are fully alive to the extent to which the work of necessary reform has been left in arrear by their predecessors. There are old Whigs in the Cabinet, but the dominant force is advanced Liberalism. Nor is it to be denied that the Government would have but a short tenure of power should it attempt to pursue a rest-and-be-thankful' policy. The nation takes it for granted that the Ministers are not stuffed clothes-bags' labelled Liberal, but true men in sympathy with progress and determined on proving their Liberalism a reality and a power. Still it was not any passionate enthusiasm for reform that secured the great majority on which the Ministry lean. Nonconformists will have a Burials Bill, but there was not on their part any feverish impatience to snatch at a pear so ripe that it was ready to fall into their hands. There is abroad a general conviction that the absurd anomaly which gives a vote to the dweller on one side of a street because he happens to be within the boundaries of a borough, and refuses it to his opposite neighbour solely because his house is outside the favoured circle, must be abolished. But the interest in relation even to this equitable reform was comparatively languid. Perhaps the farmers, who have transferred their allegiance to the Liberals, are of all classes the most expectant, and, unlike many expectants, are pretty certain to have their hopes realized. But with that exception it cannot be said that the zeal of the multitudes, who in every part of

the country have rallied to the Liberal standard with a determination to carry it to victory, has been stimulated by the expectation of great legislative changes. Their numbers have been swelled by the accession of an indefinite class, who were wearied of the protracted commercial depression, and rightly believed that there could be no permanent improvement until there was a restoration of political quiet and confidence. But the force which welded together the various sections of Liberalism into one, and gave it unity, solidity, and resistless strength, was conscience. Society and the clubs bad agreed that righteousness had nothing to do with national affairs, and that those who appealed to such considerations were weak sentimentalists, utterly disqualified for dealing with the practical business of the world. The one question which English statesmen had to ask was as to the interests of their country, and once satisfied about that, they would be weak indeed if they allowed themselves to be fettered by scruples about international duty. To support the Turkish empire it might be necessary to leave vast provinces, with boundless capabilities for agricultural and commercial development, a comparative waste, and to doom their inhabitants to a cruel and crushing oppression; but if British interests demanded it, we must become partakers in the crime by upholding the power of the criminal. In order to secure a 'scientific frontier,' as a defence against the aggression of Russia, at best barely possible, and the fear of which was a discredit to our British spirit, we might have to plunder Afghanistan of provinces; but to suffer the rights of a savage to interfere with measures necessary to the safety of the Indian empire would be a mere piece of Quixotry not the more to be tolerated because it seemed to have the sanction of Christianity. It might seem to be hard that Cetewayo and the Zulus should be disturbed in their kraals, but as they lay on the immediate confines of British settlements, and their strength would be a menace to our colonists, there was no alternative but to subdue them. The reasoning would have been perfect, provided we were a pagan nation, and that the first principle of our religion and our politics was that might is right.' It was paganism in its baldest and most offensive form, paganism that wore no disguise and made no apology for itself, that was openly advocated in journals' written by gentlemen and for gentlemen;' that was rampant in West-End clubs, having not a few sympathizers in the Reform' itself; that was assumed to be under the special patronage of the 'moderate Liberals;' that was defended by the interesting champions of

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Christianity who are now so gallantly defending its claims against the attacks of Mr. Bradlaugh; that, shame to tell, found preachers even in Christian pulpits, who clothed its utterances in unctuous phrases and pointed to its doings as the fulfilment of Prophetic Writ and the working out of a grand national destiny.

But they did not and could not impose on the nation. The popular instinct was too healthy to be thus egregiously misled. While Evangelical clergymen were singing the praises of Lord Beaconsfield as a 'heaven-born minister,' the people were nursing their contempt for such a miserable travesty of Christian teaching, and quietly waiting for the opportunity to teach the world that they, at least, had a conscience. It was because Dissenters had, from the first, taken so prominent a part in the education of this moral sentiment that they have been leaders in the great national movement which has rescued the country from the political charlatanerie under whose reckless and unskilful pilotage the vessel of the State was being steered on to the rocks. Nonconformists would deceive themselves were they to suppose that the unprecedented Liberal success to which they have so materially contributed implied a verdict of the constituencies in their favour on the great issue of Disestablishment. They resolved, as they have often done before, to subordinate sectional considerations to great national interests, and they have their reward in the decisive triumph of the principles for which they contended, and in the ascendency of the patriot statesman to whom they have yielded an allegiance not only hearty but enthusiastic. But they would only retard their own ultimate success, as well as compromise their own political character, were they now to take advantage of circumstances which may seem to be favourable in order to press on a question the time for whose settlement is evidently drawing near, but has certainly not yet come. Their position is unquestionably a strong one, so strong that they can well afford to wait. The tendency of the Liberal party is seen, not in politicians like Mr. Albert Grey, with his very needless and ungracious profession of attachment to the State Church, or Mr. E. N. Buxton, who, in addressing a constituency, among whom he would not have ventured even to make an appearance but for Nonconformist support, avowed his opposition to Disestablishment, that is, to keep the very men in whom he was trusting for a seat in Parliament in a state of political inferiority, but in a highspirited, courageous, and talented young man like Mr. Herbert Gladstone, who does not fear to admit that Liberals will

before long have to deal with the ecclesiastical monopoly, even as they have dealt with other monopolies before. The former belong to the old Whig party, whose days are almost over, the latter is representative of that truer and deeper Liberalism to which the future of the party belongs. Nonconformists may well adopt the words of Mr. Gladstone on a memorable occasion: Time is on our side. The great social forces which move onwards in their might and majesty, and which the tumult of our debates does not for a moment impede or disturb, these great social forces are against you; they are marshalled on our side.' Where there is this confidence there need be no hurry or impatience, still less should there be any desire to complicate the difficulties or force the hands of leaders. By the testimony of friends and foes, the honours of the fight belong mainly to the Nonconformists, and no one has acknowledged this more frankly or with more grace than the Prime Minister. With that they may rest content. It is simply impossible that a great section of the community, which has given such unmistakable proof of its power, and is admitted to be the bone and sinew of the ruling political party, should long be doomed to a position of political inferiority solely because of its religious convictions.

We would very earnestly address the same warnings against impatience, and the suspicion and restlessness which impatience is apt to engender, to the Liberals below the gangway. Mr. Gladstone is in a great majority, but his position is one of extreme difficulty. The snake is scotched but not killed, and the temper of the Opposition shows that they will do their utmost to embarrass his action. Sir Stafford Northcote was a failure as leader of the Tories, but as leader of the Opposition his weakness is even more conspicuous. It might also appear as though the office had been put in commission, and he were content to share its responsibilities with Sir Drummond Wolff and Mr. Chaplin. For the present, at all events, the more violent of the party are allowed full license, and they abuse it for the purpose of worrying the Premier in every possible way. The action against Mr. Bradlaugh is a scandal, if it has not already become a serious difficulty for the House. We understand and share in the objection to the member for Northampton, but Northampton has elected him, and those who most dislike the choice may, and if they are true to the principles of religious liberty must, still more dislike the attempt to establish a new religious test for the purpose of excluding even an unbeliever from Parliament. Those who believe in the living God and

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