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THE FLOWING TIDE." It is now many months since Mr. Gladstone made his famous declaration that the flowing tide is with us." Many were the taunts and sneers which were directed at the expression, and many were the arguments which were adduced to disprove it. The results, however, of the 124 bye-elections which have taken plaoe since lR8G prove beyond a doubt that Mr. Gladstone's declaration was perfectly true, and that the house of Gladstone is waxing stronger and stronger, and the house of Salisbury is waxing weaker and weaker. On summarising the list of 124 seats which have become vacant since the last general ^election, we find that in 1885 seventy of them were held by Liberals and Nationalists, and fifty-four by Conservatives and Unionists. In 1880 forty-nine only of them were Liberal or Nationalist, while 75 of them were Unionist. Now, again, 69 of them are Nationalist and 55 Unionist. This shows & return all but to as in 1885-in fact, there is only a difference of one seat. The result in Rossendale, if not entirely un- expected, is at least remarkable. Lord Har- tington, in 1885, was the strongest possible candidate, and defeated the Conservative candidate by over 1,800 votes. In 1880, with a greatly-decreased poll, Lord Hartington defeated the Nationalist candidate by a majority of 1,450. In the present election Mr. Maden, the Liberal candidate, has managed to poll more votes than Lord Hartington did in 1885, and in spite of a very heavy poll, has won by a- majority of 1,225. This is a triumph oom- plete and incontestable—a victory which tolls the death-knell of Liberal Unionism in this country. The very citadel of Unionism-the stronghold of the Liberal Unionist leader, of him who has kept the Government in power for too long in spite of the repeated declarations of an awakened electorate—has been successfully stormed. Possibly a few seats will be retained in Birmingham by the Liberal Unionists but they are a diminishing party, and the sooner y 1!1 they openly join the Conservative party the better it will be for the country. Englishmen have once more verified the epigram of Disraeli, that they love not coalitions. The Times, as usual, endeavours to explain away the signifi- cance of the result, and says that in order to win Rossendale, Mr. Maden had to throw over Home Rule altogether." The Standard, how- ever, much the ablest and honestest Conserva- tive organ, says, on the other hand, that it was a perfectly fair trial of strength There could not have been a better candidate than Sir Thomas Brooks. Rossendale, in short, must be added to the list of those thoroughly Liberal constituencies which, having, for one reason or another, refused to approve of the Home Rule measure in ±886, have now given its author another chance of trying what he can do in the same direction." It seems probable that the Rossendale elec- tion will hasten the date of the general election, which is almost certain to be held sometime during this year. With this splendid victory fresh in their memories, the opposition will at the meeting of Parliament a fortnight hence demand of the Government a declaration of their intentions with regard to the dissolving of Parliament. If no satisfactory reply is forthcoming, it is possible that resource will be had to the measures which obstructed the business of Parliament to such an extent in the years between 1880 and 1885. The opposi- tion will, in our opinion, be quite justified in taking this course. If a Government insists on remaining in power when it clearly has lost the confidence of the country, when even the Times has had to admit that the opinion of the country is thoroughly Gladstonian," it is but right that the opposition should do their utmost to prevent the passing of measures by a majority which is not representative of the feeling of the country. If, however, the Government intimate their willingness to dissolve Parliament at the end of the present session, they will receive every help from the opposition to carry on the the business of the House. The result at Rossendale is a "crowning mercy," second only to the glorious victory in South Molton. It was, indeed, a cheering message that was wired on Saturday to the Grand Old Man, who has renewed his youth like the eagle, and whose activity and enduring vitality must be galling to those who have meanly and shamelessly reckoned on his death for the staving off of their inevitable defeat. It seems as if Mr. Gladstone's life, devoted as his last years have been to a high and noble cause, must be spared until he has done his