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I LONDON LETTER.

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I LONDON LETTER. ISfKCIALLY WIRKD.J I lay OCR G4LLKKY COKKKSPONDENT.] LONDON, Sunday Night. The fact that Mr Gladstone;, after attend- ing yesterday's Cabinet Council, hurc the journey to Hawarden without showing more signs of fatigue than might be ex- pected, considering his age and his half century of Parliamentary life, is reassuring, looking at his excellent constitution, and at the care which he lias always taken of it, all who knew anytlting of the Premier's life look forward with confidence to the result of the total rest at Hawarden which Sir Andrew Clark has prescribed. There are yet six weeks to the be- ginning of the session, a period which, passed in a warmer climate, would do much to restore the Prime Minister's health. It is within a few days of two years ago that the right hon. gentleman was com- pelled to take that course by the advice of his physician Then a3 now there had been an autumn sitting, which had lasted from the middle of October to the beginning of December, and as the bulk of the work fell upon Mr Gladstone, his strength proved unequal to the strain. Numerous inquiries havo been made respecting the Premier's condition at his official residence to-day. The announcement of the indisposition of Mr Gladstone has created a profound sensation of regret. The facts as they hava been put before the public lose," as a col- league of the Premier said yesterday, 44 nothing in the way of colour." The first account of the circumstances is contained in the paragraph of a few lines communicated in the usual way to the morning newspapers a'd the news agencies. This simply "ated that Mr Gladstone had re- r >ntly beer, feehng the strain of his irork, and that Sir Andrew Clark had pre- -i iribed—not absolute rest—but as much st as possible." Hereupon enterprising epresentatives of the newsagencies ..ere despatched in search of Sir Andrew, hnd the case grew in gravity. Sir Andrew expresses himself astonished at what was made out of a few minutes' conversation with him. The real fact is that Mr Glad- stone has been worried, less perhaps by the incessant labours of the two sessions of the past year than by the anxiety that weighs upon him just now in connection with foreign affairs, colonial and European. Contrary to his ordinary habit, wnich enables him even in times of highest pressure to sleep the moment he gets in bed, he now lies awake thinking of these things, and gets up in the morning even more weary than he went to bed. This is bad enough.' But it is merely a temporary condition of affairs which may pass away in a day. The Globe, of yesterday announced that Mr Gladstone's health has broken down to such an extent as to necessitate his im- mediate return to Hawarden. This is the ¡ kind of alarmist statement sure to be current at a time like this. Happily the readers of the Globe, better informed than the writer, well know that Mr Gladstone came to town for the special purpose of attending a Cabi- net Council, and that his return to Hawar- den follows as a matter of course. I hear that at the Cabinet Council a pro- posal was before Ministers pointing to the Summoning of a fresh conference onEgpytian affairs. It is understood that Prince Bismarck is the principal promoter of this scheme. It was resolved to decline the invitation on the part of the British Govern- ment, whose own proposals are yet before the Powers, and have not received a definite answer. To summon a fresh conference on this question would be purely idle. There has already been one, at which it was clearly demonstrated that no common action could be taken by England and the con- tinental powers. It is not so much with Germany, Russia, Austria, and Italy that the difficulty lies. These Powers have intimated that they would be ready to consent to any course that may be approved by France and England. Thus France is put in the forefront, and is made to bear the brunt of condemnation for the sore still remaining open. Whether, if France were to prove amenable to the argu- ments of Lord Granville, the Powers would join in, is a question it would not be safe to answer in the affirmative. On the whole the disposition is so unmistakeably hostile to a friendly settlement that to go into confer- ence again would be a farce. In the meantime Egypt is on the way to settle the matter herself. Within three months the crash must come, for there is no more money to be raised in the way of loan, and yet the administration of the State must somehow or other be carried on. I have only to repeat what I have already frequently stated upon high personal authority. The alternative policy of Mr Gladstone's Government in the event of all overtures being declined by the Con- tinental Powers is to advise the Khedive to declare the State bankrupt, and thereafter let affairs take the broad lines indicated in ordinary bankruptcy proceedings. Egypt is still 44 a going concern," and must be kept' going. The revenues from the national taxation will in the first case be applied to the expenses of ad- ministering national affairs, and after that first necessity is met, whatever remains over will be scrupulously paid into the Caisse in settlement, as far as it will go, of the de- mands of the bondowners. This mayor may not be legal in the eyes of the international tribunal, but it is eminently practicable, and what else is there to be done? The railway companies, like the insurance companies, declare that they are doing busi- ness at an unremunerative rate. The com- petition in some cases, and in some others the necessity for buying offopposition for new bills has led to the establishment of rates which the companies say barely cover working expenses. With the object of remedying this, notice was given in November of bills to be introduced in Parliament in the coming session, taking powers to readjust the rates. The traders are now up in arms against this proposal, and intend to fight every bill in the committee-room. With the object of organising the campaign a meeting of traders, chambers of commerce and agriculture, and trade associations is to be held at the Cannon-street hotel next week.

MR GLADSTONE AND THE LIBERALS…

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