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THE GREAT VOLUNTEER PRIZE…

MR. GOLD WIN SMITH ON REFORM.

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MR. GOLD WIN SMITH ON REFORM. A meeting of the Oxford Reform League was held °? ™day evening. Professor Rogers, the president of the association, briefly addressed the meeting on the phase into which the Rsform question had recently entered, and on the necessity of exertion, and of regular co-operation with the other societies which are engaged in forwarding the cause in other parts of the kingdom. n i Yaa read from Mr- Be ilea, inviting the tjxrord Reform League to send a representative to the l/entral League in London, for the purpose of a con- ference with regard to the approaching Reform meet- ing in the metropolis. Professor Rogers was unanimously ohosen to represent the Oxford League on the occasion. When the business of the society had been ooncluded Professor Rogers called upon Mr. Goldwin Smith, who was present by invitation, to address the meeting. That gentleman then addressed the meeting in a long and able address. In conclusion he said: "The Tories show that they are wise in their generation by doing all in their power to keep up the prejudice against America; for I believe if the working men and the peasantry-the peasantry especially—of this country knew what America really was, they would be very apt to give up these controversies about the suffrage, and leave these few barren aores to Lord Grosvenor and Lord Dankellin; and then it would be seen whether wealth would stand by itself with. out labour, and how much jastice there was in its claim to be considered as an interest apart from the rest of the community, and to keep the supreme power in its own hands. A man must go to America to know not only what general prosperity is, but what a blessing it is to live in a state of equality, not in a society of extremes; and to be able to feel that all those around you are your fellow-countrymen and your fellow-citizens indeed. A man must go to America to know what a sense of security there is under really free institutions, and how great is the strength of a Government which nobody wishes to subvert, because it is the Government of the whole people. We cannot attain this state at once in a country circumstanced as ours, and with large masses of our people, especially among the agricultural labourers, in the condition in which they are now; but we can band our steps towards it, and bear in mind that the experience of the past, fairly read, points to the more generous, ii ot the narrower policy—that it teaches trast and not mistrust of man. Of our own colonies, the only one with which I am acquainted, and that but slightly, is Canada; but I believe the statement that the colonies are anarchies, and that you must either take away their responsible government or their ex tended suffrage, in order to make them fit to live in, is as wide of the trllth as the statements about America. When the object is to cast a stsne at America, the colonies are represented as admirable products of British tutelage, and contrasted with the untutored license of the United States. When the object is to prevent an extension of the suffrage, the same colonies are represented as anarchies where none bat rowdies and their demagogues can dwell. But though society and politics there may be rough, as they always are in new countries, it is impossible that the colonies can be anarchies, because they are notoriously very prosperous, as the statistics of their trade and of the growth of their cities and their population show; and this could not be if life and property were not securs. Bat to conclude, the worst argument of all is that the working-classes are silent-that they do not clamour for Reform. I fear if they are silent it is not, as ia complacently assumed, because they are too hacpy under the existing system to desire any change, but because they are organising themselves in the way that excites Mr. Lowe's alarm externally to the con- stitution, and therefore are indifferent about consti- tutional reforms. There is a danger that the struggle may in the end cease to be one between parties in Parliament and become one between classes, the class represented by the House of Commons on one side and the class represented by the trades unions on the other. Anything more calamitous could not possibly befall this nation. A true statesman would almost rather drag the working men within tha pale of the constitution by force than suffer them thus to organise themselves into a separate community oat- side it. Bat from whatever cause the tranquil atti- tude of the people on this subject may proceed, surely it affords the best opportunity for a calm and wise set- tlement of the question. Surely statesmen do not desire to see repeated the agitation of 1831, which brought the country to the very brink of a civil war. They are pledged all of them, past recall, to reform the repre- sentation of the people, and to make Parliament a more adequate organ of the sentiments and interest of the nation. It is a momentous and difficult task no doubt, but it cannot be evaded; and it is better under- taken now in a calm state of the popular mind than hereafter amidst violence and disorder. The address was listened to with great attention, and at its conclusion Mr. Goldwin Smith was loudly cheered.

DUTY ON FIRE INSURANCES.

SINGULAR LIFE ASSURANCE CASE.

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