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THE MINISTERIAL CHANGES.

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THE MINISTERIAL CHANGES. The Standard saysMr. Ayrton, who has forfeited the esteem and respect of almost every oue else-less by his wanton impertenences in parliament to men who could take their own part than by his unworthy and ungenerous rudeness to defenceless subordinates-is still a. favourite with Mr. Gladstone. He has, of course, more than the ability necessary to superintend the Post Office but Mr. Gladstone is, perhaps, the only English gentle- man living who would expose a loyal and high-minded service to the miseries which such a chief can inflict, or who would not consider Mr. Ayrton's conduct at the Treasury and in the Office of Works as a disqualification for high office which no abilities could outweigh. How- ever, his appointment is of a piece with the competitive system, based as that system is on the doctrine that intel- lectual capacity is the one thing needful, and that a servant of the Crown need not have the qualifications of courtesy, chivalry, or good breeding. Mr. Lowe is about as unfit for the India Office as for the Home Office, except that in the India Office his temper, his headstrong wilful- ness, and contempt of counsel, can only ruin an empire while at the Home Office they may lose elections and break up a party. But it is a curious thing to see a Minister of the first rank thus within a month pitch- forked from one office to another, and from the second to a thire or a post like that of, Secretary to the Home Department treated as a mere stepping-stone. We may ask also, why the Duke of Argyll's retirement could not have been arranged at the same time with Lord Ripon's, and Mr. Lowe's pride spared this double removal ? Mr. Bouverie will add nothing to the strength of the Ministry but his removal from the back benches will relieve them from a very formidable critic. And in this light Mr. Harcourt is almost as well entitled as Mr. Bouverie to an appointment. It may be well Worth while to incur the discredit of reviving a sinecure condemned by themselves in order to secure his biting tongue, his quickness of parliamentary fence, and his dangerous facility of con- viction to the government, or merely to silence them. But will he accept such a post ? The Daily News observe that a Postmaster-Generalship is just what the Premier may choose to make it. It may be occupied by a political notability for whom no other place can be found, or, if needs be, may be filled by any member of parliamant whom it may be desirable for one of a thousand secondary reasons to attach to the adminis- tration. The Post Office is a far more extensive institu- tion than it was when the rule was to give it to a peer, but it is not to be inferred from that fact that its head must always be a man of pre-eminent business capacity. A Chancellor of the Exchequer who is called to survey the great interests of the country, and form his estimate of their capabilities, must be a statesman of rare endow- ments, but the Postmaster-General has simply to carry letters swiftly, safely, and at reasonable rates. This is a work that has been done, and tlone well, by those to whom the world would be slow to adjudge merit of the first order. At the same time, the post is one which any promising statesman might safely accept. The knowledge that such an appointment is at the disposal of the Premier naturally makes all who have friends with precisely the qualifications required for it in a simmer of agitation. It is too soon, however, to choose and back our candidates. The Postmaster-General does not quit his office before pheasant-shooting begins. By-and-bye, when the nights are getting as long as the days, and our ardent generous yorth are finding their way back to town, there will be changes quite as important as this to think about, and we shall be once more in all the bustle of elections, re-elections and promotions. This new prac- tice of continuing a Minister in office after his resigna- tion has been not only accepted but announced, may have its justification in special circumstances, but its incon- veniences are manifest. Fortunately, most of our public officers are so well organised under their permanent chiefs that their routine business may go on for a longer or shorter time without loss but it should be borne in mind that the period between the resignation of one head and the installation of another is in practice not the less an interregnum because the fomrer consents to remain nominally in office.

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