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LONDON - LETTER. j

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LONDON LETTER. j [SPECIALLY WIKED. j [AY OUR GAXLEUY CORRESPONDENT.] LONDON, Monday. The attention of all who take an interest in public affairs has to-day been directed to the remarkable speech addressed to the Reichstag by Prince Bismarck in explana* tion of his colonial policy. Despite the efforts of those who are nothing if not paradoxical to show that underlying the Chan- cellor's words is some direful threat towards England, the tone of public opinion generally appears to be favourable. The speech is regarded as a straightforward intimation I that Germany must henceforth be reckoned with as a colonial power, and that she will he no party to any aggression upon the rights of other powers, provided those other powers are prepared to deal with her in a friendly way. The meaning is evident that Prince Bismarck, despite the hesitating position of the Reichstag, is deter- mined upon carrying oat his colonial policy, and it is not good tactics to regard him as an enemy because he framed his speech in so plain a fashion. There is a curious statement described as semi-official" which is going the round of this evening's papers, denying that the Bishop of Manchester has been offered the Bishopric of London, and affirming that even if he had been, he would have refused it. As to the first part of the statement it was scarcely needful to publish such a denial, for not even the most convinced believers in the energy of the Prime Minister would conceive that he had tendered a bishopric to a possible candidate before the late occupant of the see had been laid in his grave, and this is what must be premised in the denial in question. The fact is that most of the talk about the future Bishop of London is premature. Mr Gladstone is not the man to settle such an important appointment off-hand, and, although his will be the selec- tion when it is made, it must not be for- gotten that the Queen has to be consulted upon it, and that her Majesty may have more than one word to say in connection therewith. A Londpn evening paper which is dis- tinguished above its Tory fellows by the rancour with which it pursues the Prime Minister, suggests to-day as the only reason for the manifest improvement in Mr Glad- stone's health is the receipt of better news from the Soudan. Less gifted individuals in the direction of supplying strained reasons for natural facts would take it that the im- provement is due to the thorough rest which Mr Gladstone is taking, and the hope is now general that the beginning of the session will find the right hon. gentleman in his accustomed place on the Treasury bench as full of vigour as ever. It is generally recognised that he will need all his strength to carry the Redistribu- tion Bill triumphantly through committee, for, although perhaps no dangerous combi- nations will have to bemet, there are suffi- cient elements of discord to make the com- mittee stage a long and weary one. The suffragan Bishop of Bedford, if one may judge from the letter he published in the Times to-day, is a litfo aggrieved that anyone should have thought him capable of coming over to the views of the majority of the people of this country (as shown again and again in the one representative chamber) upon the deceased wifes sister question. It is true, he says, that he "used some expressions of sym- pathy towards a person who had married his deceased wife's sister, conscientiously believing he was violating no law of God or man, "but as his sympathy took the somewhat singular form of refusing to admit the husband to the Communion, it was probably not valued quite so highly as that of a prelate even ought to be. In any case the bishop has disappointed a great many admirers of his earnest style of work, who thought that in this matter he had extricated himself from the non possumus position taken up by so many of his ecclesiastical brethren. The conference of members and friends of the Liberation Society, which is to assemble at the Memorial Hall to-morrow evening, is expected by its organisers to have an im- portant influence upon the disestab- lishment movement. Those who desire to free the Church from State control are determined not to allow the grass to grow under their feet, when once the new constituencies are constructed. They con- sider that for a sufficiency of time they have kept the question in the background, rather than give the least colour to the suggestion that they were splitting the Liberal party, and when the labourer is admitted to the vote they will strive their utmost to persuade him that disestablish- ment is in every respect a good thing. Mr Matthew Arnold is not to be moved from his resolve to resign his appointment as inspector of schools. He has held it now for over 30 years, during which time a great deal has happened in connection with systems of national education. His inten- tion is to return to the United States, where he will resume his lectures, extending his tour to San Francisco in the west and New Orleans in the south. The general impres- sion is that his last lecturing tour in the States was not a success. His voice was not able to carry his words to the uttermost ends of a large audience. Moreover, he read what he had to say, keeping his eyes closely fixed on his manuscript. This is extraordinary and al- most incomprehensible in a nation where speech-making is an acquirement almost as common as reading and writing. Many people having satisfied their curiosity by looking on the Apostle of Culture left the room, simply because they could not hear what he was saying. Probably no one went to hear him twice. To this extent the lec- tures were a failure but, financially, they were a success, and there yet remain wide tracts where the harvest is ungleaned. Be- sides, Mr Matthew Arnold, himself an in- structor, has not disdained to learn from others, and will do much better next time. His connection with the United States has recently been drawn closer by domestic ties. Mr Whitridge, who the other day married Miss Arnold, is an American resident in New York. It is astonishing what careful attention *nd skilful training can do for a man in the way of making a public lecturer of him. I 3uppose Archibald Forbes was at the outset one of the seemingly most hopeless aspirants for platform honours that ever put himself forward to win them. I remember his first 10 ssay made in the presence of some score of private friends. With the advantages of a small room and a friendly audience, he made a melancholy failure. His enunciation was imperfect he never moved his eyes from his manuscript, and was plainly exceedingly un- comfortable. Next time I heard him, some two years later, was in the big hall at St. James's, where, with admirable elocution and dramatic manner that kept the vast audience enchained, he recited his stirring story. He had in the meantime beerf "taking a few lessons." I think I have mentioned before that overtures have been made to Mr Burnand to visit the States and give a series of lectures.

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