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-----OOtkt!l paa


OOtkt!l paa SATURDAY, JANUARY 9, 1886. NOTES OF THE WEEK. [BY OUR LONDON CORJBESP8NDENT S.] The frequent conferences held between Lord Salisbury, Lord R. Churchill, and Sir M. H. Beach excite great curiosity in political circles. The Irish Tories give Lord Randolph credit for having matured a plan of his own for the settlement of the Irish question, and they suspect that he is now using his strong will and persuasive tongue to bring round the leaders of the party in both Houses to his way of thinking. They warn us that, if he suc- ceeds, we may look out for breakers ahead. It is clear that, whatever subject may be dis- cussed at these conferences, they have nothing to do with the Local Government Bill, which has been referred to a separate Ministerial Committee. Nor, indeed, does it seem reasoaable to hope that the cure for Irish discontent can now be found in a measure of local government reform appli- cable to the whole United Kingdom. You cannot give the control of the police, in. the present state of the country, to Local Boards in Ireland which wouid be composed of mem- bers of the National League; while, on the other hand, quiet and loyal ratepayers in Great Britain would be up in arms at once if the Government proposed to take away from the local authorities in England and Scotland the right to have their own police and so to put them on an equality with the Irish people. There can be no contentment in Ireland till the land question is settled. If a peasant proprietary were once created, and the temptation to commit agrarian offences removed, the Irish farmers would probably be found to be an exceedingly conservative class. The first step, then, to be taken in Irish legis- lation is to complete 3Ir. Gladstone's land policy by purchasing the freehold of the soil from the landlords. An absurd story is fascinating the fighting Radicals, to the effect that Ministers intend incorporating with the Address in reply to the Queen's Speech a vote of confidence in themselves. There is no foundation for this statement, which, however, usefully indicates the high tension to which the carpet-baggers of the Opposition have strung themselves in view of a possible early redistribution of the spoils of office. The proceedings of the Cabinet in relation to the Address will be obedient to routine and good taste but, of course, their opponents will endeavour to tind a flaw in their action. Some lines in the circular sent by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach to his followers have led to the impression at the Radical Clubs that Ministers intend taking an immediate vote upon their policy. The language used by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, however, will be found to differ in no substantial sense from the language uniformly adopted in these regulation sessional summonses from the leaders to their followers. Lord Richard Grosvenor, on behalf of Earl Granville and Mr. Gladstone, is issuing a similar circular to the members of the Liberal party in both Houses. It is now very doubtful if the meeting of Parliament will be preceded by a conference of the leader and members of the Opposition. A grand palaver was intended several weeks ago, but you can hear nothing about it now. The truth is, many things have happened since that meeting was talked of, the chief incident being the awkward revelation con- cerning Mr. Gladstone's thoughts upon Home Rule. It is now known to the chief Liberal Whip—and we may be sure the fact has not been kept from the right hon. gentleman, even though the gruesome dis- covery were conveyed in an euphemism-that if Mr. Gladstone meet Parliament with the scheme of Home Rule attributed to him he would split his party beyond all hope of re- constructing it on that subject. That being the case, the most strategic piece of general- ship is obviously not to tempt unpleasant or inconvenient inquiries by a preliminary ex- change of views. I have seen letters which show con- clusively that hostility to the ex-Premier's proposals is not confined to the Whig section of the Opposition, but is shared in by a large number of prominent Radicals as well. It is significant, and, perhaps, note- worthy, that the Scotch Liberals, who saved the party from something akin to annihila- tion at the polls, are almost to a man opposed to any tampering with the unity of the Empire. Of course, great efforts are being made to give a totally different complexion to the situation, but the facts are precisely as I state them. Hence a conference between the leader and his party would show that for the Opposition chief Ireland is practically a live volcano. For these reasons the palaver is likely to go off without coming off. That Lord Randolph Churchill's hand will be seen in the legislative programme of the Cabinet admits of no surmise. Lord Randolph is just now one of the busiest thinkers in the Ministry, and Ireland in particular would be found to occupy the larger portion of his attention by those who en joyed access to his confidence. The Secretary for India is popularly one of the most misunderstood men in England. His speeches are thought to indicate a tendency to frivolity if not to levity. This is an entire delusion. The noble lord is a grave man, with all a grave man's largeneas of purpose. He looks ahead to the Premiership, and to that goal his energies are directed. An enormous force in the councils of the Ministry, he is at once the hardest worker and the most popular man in his special department. Lord Randolph Churchill is gradually educating the country to an understanding of his character in politics. I refer to the subject just now because in a few days it will be found that the Secretary for India has shaped the course of an important event in the domestic history of the kingdom. An announcement in the Court Circular states how Lord Rowton arrived at Osborne and had the honour of dining with the Queen and Royal Family." An announce- ment of the kind may be frequently seen by students of the courtly columns of the lioyal newspaper, and those who are a little behind the scenes always know what signiticance to attach to this brief and formal intimation. The contidential secretary of the great Minister has become the confidential adviser of the Sovereign. Let me not be mis- understood. The adviser does not presume to tell the Queen what her Majesty should do, but he simply acquaints her with what she desires to know. Lord Rowton knows more of what is doing in the political world than the actual actors in it, for he is privileged to look on the play from such a position that he can see into the heart of both campa at once. Even between the Sovereign and her First Minister there is observed a certain stiffness of bearing arising from conscious responsi- bility. The Minister speaks with the tongue of party; Lord Rowton can tell her Majesty what is doing, or being talked about, or proposed beyond Downing-street and the Carlton Club. Of course, Lord Kowton is a good Conservative, and has his own strong opinions about Home Rule. But the Queen does not ask his lordship for his opinions so much as for his knowledge. If you cared to look over an old tile of the Court Circular you would, I think, discover that whenever a political crisis was in course of development Lord Rowton appeared amongst the Queen's guests. Lord Kowton's position in society is absolutely unique, and the Queen's confidence in his lordship's discretion may also be under- stood to show to the world that her Majesty's interest in the memory of Lord Rowton's late chief continues as deep as ever. Sir J. F. Stephen's powerful letter in the Times on Home Rule shows conclusively that such schemes as Mr. Labouchere's, if they mean anything, mean separation. "It is an independent Ireland, restrained by a thread, and veiled with a fif-leaf." With sledge- hammer and merciless logic, this shrewd reasoner smashes the arguments of the men of phrases who refuse to see what a disastrous thing Home Rule would be for England and Ireland. Whatever it is right to do for Ireland should be done by a British, and not by an Irish, Parliament." This is a conclu- sion in which most of us are disposed to agree, but it is disappointing to find that Sir J. Stephen, when he comes to speak of practical measures of legislation, has nothing better to suggest than the renewal of the Crimes Act. Mr. Parnell's Parliamentary success hitherto has been achieved by a march of stealth, and there is no reason that I can discover to encourage him to change his tactics, at least not just yet. My sources of information, which, on this subject, are found in men who may be fairly called the eyes and ears of the Irish chief, tend emphati- cally to the conclusion that if Lord Salisbury brings in a Bill investing the people of Ire- land with complete control of insular affairs Mr. Parnell will accept the offer provisionally. Such a power will add to his influence enormously. He will become a species of parochial Mahdi. The entire civil admini- stration of Ireland would pass into his hands. I am confidently assured that Mr. Parnell is alive to the advantages of the position, and will occupy it before making a more decisive advance. Someone has said that ideas do not grow in Bouverie-street and that any fresh departure in that quarter must be ascribed to the higher political influences. It may be so, but it is impossible to believe that the article in the chief Liberal paper on the first duty of Parliament was inspired from Hawarden. A more ingenious proposal for delivering the Liberal party over to the enemy could hardly be made at the present juncture than a proposal to commence the Session"with the imposition of fresh rules for tightening the discipline of debate in the House of Commons. If there is anything that re-acts upon Mr. Parnell and excites to turbulent wrath the self-contained spirit of that hon. gentleman, it is the mention of new rules of Parliamentary procedure. These, he always maintains, are directed personally at him and his followers, and the author of the proposal becomes in his sight an object of determined hostility. If the Daily News wished to preach a doctrine of Liberal- Nationalist irreconcilability it could not have adopted a more convenient and instructive text. The appointment of Mr. Rowland Tinker to be an inspector of factories and work- shops is gazetted. It will be remem- bered that some time ago, when the an- nouncement of it was first made, the appoint- ment created a great deal of criticism, chiefly owing to the fact that Mr. Tinker has been for some time closely connected with Mr. Ashmead-Bartlett, and has for some years published England. Mr. Tinker, however, seems to be well qualified for the post, as I am informed that he commenced life as a working lad in a Lancashire cotton mill, that he subsequently spent some years as a coal miner, and that he has gradually worked himself up from the bottom of the ladder to the position which he now holds. A marriage has been arranged between Mr. Harry E. Taunton Collins, eldest son of Mr. Eugene Collins, of 33, Porchester-terrace, Hyde Park, late M.P. for Kinsale, and Ada, youngest daughter of Mr. Frederick Penning- ton, of Broome Hall, Holmwood, Dorking, late M.P. for Stockport. The Princess of Wales and the Princess Louise are under the treatment of Sir Oscar Clayton for influenza. The reported improvement in the condition of Princess Christian, who is suffering from acute melancholia, is denied.



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