aims, and aspirations are not those of the MacDougalls, the Chants, the Harrisons, and the rest of the clique of pestilent busybodies, who attempted to convert the County Council into an agency for the propagation of Radical influence and so-called Progressive reform.

What is more important still is the blow given by the Unionist victory to the Little England school of politicians. I have always myself considered that this school, which protested against any extension of our Empire, which denounced our occupation of Egypt, and which derided the value of our colonial possessions, was infinitely more dangerous to the country than the other classes of faddists to whom I have referred. My fear was based upon the fact that the Little Englanders do appeal to one strong feature of our national character. ' Everybody for himself' is the principle which lies at the bottom of the ordinary Englishman's creed; and this principle is apparently in harmony with the doctrine that England should confine herself to her own affairs, and should leave her foreign colonies and dependencies to look after themselves. Imagination is not the strong point of the English race; and imagination is needed to realise the full grandeur and significance of England's imperial mission. The Little England doctrine, though preached in a more vulgar, narrow-minded, and offensive form, is in substance the same as that of which, in the better days of Liberalism, Cobden was the great exponent; and I cannot forget the influence that Cobden exerted in his time over great masses of our fellow countrymen. Happily the teaching of the Unionists, and still more the logic of facts, have brought home to the English mind a conviction that the British Empire not only contributes to our national grandeur, but is the keystone of our national wealth, as the great manufacturing and trading centre of the world's industry. The lesson has sunk deep, and its result is seen in the electoral returns. The parochial politicians who formed the Little England party have suffered the fate of their convert leader, Sir William Harcourt, and have been left out in the cold; and Mr. Labouchere is left almost alone as the exponent of the paradox that England would be more prosperous and more powerful if her territory was bounded by the four seas. Our natural paucity of imaginative faculties renders it difficult to get a new idea into the English mind. But, when once an idea has got in, its extraction is a task of far greater difficulty ; and, in as far as can be judged by the elections, the Imperial idea has at last taken firm hold of the British mind.

: On all these accounts, as well as on many minor ones into which space precludes my entering at present, the result of the elections is matter for heartfelt congratulation to all who, in common with myself, regard national considerations as of infinitely greater moment than party interests. Up to the time at which these lines go to press the latest returns give a Unionist majority of 134; and there seems every reason to suppose that this majority will be materially increased before the close of the polls. In as far as I can foresee we may look forward with confidence to the immediate future. Of course, difficulties may and indeed must arise from the necessary divergencies of view on minor points between the Conservative and the Liberal Unionist members of the ministerial majority. But I would point out to the Radicals who are already building their hopes on the possibility of a rupture between the two wings of the Unionist party that these difficulties are infinitely less than others of a similar character, which occurred while the Unionists were in opposition, and which one after the other were successfully surmounted by the good sense and public spirit of the Unionist leaders. Now that the leading men of the two divisions are members of the same administration, all questions on which antagonism might possibly arise will be settled within the Cabinet itself, instead of, as in the case of Lord Salisbury's previous administration, being first discussed and decided in the Cabinet, and then submitted to the approval of their Liberal Unionist allies. Moreover, to take the lowest ground, the Conservatives and Liberal Unionists have an even stronger personal interest in avoiding any rupture while their leaders form members of a common ministry than they had while the Liberal Unionists were only allies, however loyal, instead of partners.

This much is certain, that the Unionists enter upon office with a majority so numerous and so unanimous in all important respects that, with ordinary good management and average good luck, they ought to reckon upon some six years' tenure of political power. This is as much as can safely be predicted in any country under a democratic form of government. Individually, I am inclined to think that we are likely to have a succession of more or less Conservative Ministries for some years to come.

But after all this opinion of mine may very possibly prove erroneous; and I am aware that the best political judges hold the swinging of the pendulum' to be a permanent rule of modern English politics. This much, however, I venture to predict, that if the pendulum should swing far enough at the next General Election to replace the Liberals in power this can only happen if they discard their alliance with Home Rulers, Local Optionists, Progressives, Little Englanders, and faddists of all kinds, and become once more what they were in their earlier and better phase, an emphatically English party. To the great British public it matters little which party is in power, so long as the administration is conducted in accordance with the sound principle that in the United Kingdom the supremacy must rest with England, which, in population, in wealth, in intelligence, and, I may add, in political good sense exceeds all the other portions of Great Britain and Ireland put together.

Still it is possible, if not probable, that another General Election may see the Liberals once more installed in office. This being so it

seems to me the obvious duty of the Unionists to avail themselves of their enormous majority in both the popular and the hereditary Chamber to settle two pressing questions which can only be settled satisfactorily when the Conservatives are in power, and in power with a majority which can override all sectional opposition. The first of these questions in importance, though not perhaps in time, is a redistribution of seats so as to base representation upon population. If we are to be governed by counting votes, then it is only common justice and common sense that each vote should have one value. I have not the slightest abstract objection to plural voting; but it is obviously out of harmony with the principles on which, rightly or wrongly, we have based our electoral system; and in my opinion the gain accruing to one party or the other from the fact that some few of its members may vote in more than one constituency is too small to deserve serious notice. On the other hand, the gain to the Conservatives from the redistribution of seats upon the broad principle that every district should contain approximately some 50,000 electors and should have one representative, would, as things stand, be an immense gain to the Unionists. The change would do much to facilitate the settlement of the Irish question. Not only would the total representation of the Sister Kingdom be reduced by some twenty votes; but theloyal northern Protestant provinces would obtain a far larger share of the Irish representation than they at present possess. The seats taken from Ireland must, so long as the ratio of the population of the two countries remains what it is, be transferred to England. Experience has shown that the strength of the Conservatives of to-day lies in the towns, and especially the large towns. We may regret the causes which are gradually depleting our rural districts and augmenting the urban population. But we cannot hinder the operation of these causes; and it is folly to shut our eyes to tre plain fact that, under any system of equal numerical representation, London and the great manufacturing centres, which, as a body, have gone Conservative of late years, would receive a large increase of electoral power. It is obvious that any reform of this kind must be preceded by a careful and impartial inquiry into the mode by which our electoral areas might be equalised, while preserving as far as possible the local and historical traditions which attach to our existing constituencies. Such an inquiry must occupy a considerable time, and therefore the first step towards any scheme of redistribution must be the appointment of a Commission to examine into the best mode of modifying our existing electoral areas, so as to render each individual vote approximately of equal value.

A more urgent question is the consideration of the alterations required to remove certain defects in the House of Lords as a Second Chamber. I, for one, believe that in this country the hereditary principle forms, and ought to form, the best possible basis for an Upper House. I believe the House of Lords as it is, far from being unpopular as the Radicals assert, is actually popular with the great majority of Englishmen. But I cannot fail to see that there are certain obvious defects—such, for example, as the disproportion between the actual number of hereditary legislators and the number who take any active part in legislation, the presence on the muster rolls of the peers of a few unworthy individuals who would be a disgrace to any legislature elected, nominated, or hereditary, and the absence of any satisfactory provision for life Peerages—which furnish the opponents of the Upper House with the cries on which they base the demand for its virtual abolition. These defects may not be very serious in themselves, but their removal would strengthen the House of Lords; and they can only be removed when a strong Conservative Ministry is in power. The Radicals, it should always be borne in mind, object in principle to any reform, however legitimate or useful, calculated to increase the authority and influence of the House of Lords, which under our existing institutions is our sole protection against rapid and ill-advised legislation at the hands of a Radical majority in the Commons.

I am quite aware that, in the opinion of most Unionists, social legislation ought to precede political legislation ; and this is a point on which I have no wish to dispute the wisdom of their decision. All I would venture to point out is that the two political measures to which I have alluded, redistribution of seats and the reorganisation of the House of Lords as a second Chamber, based on the hereditary principle, ought to form integral parts of the work the Ministry intend to accomplish during their tenure of office. For my own part, and I think that in so saying I am only expressing the opinion of the majority of my fellow citizens, I am quite content to enjoy rest for a short breathing time. The General Election has, at all events, driven away the incubus of Home Rule, which has hung over this country for the last ten long dreary years, and with that great result Liberal Unionists and Conservatives alike have every reason to be satisfied.



Vis consili expers mole ruit sua;
Vim temperatam Di quoque provehunt

In majus.

By the Reform Bill of 1884 we accepted the principle of democracy without qualification. The House of Lords is now the second chamber of a democracy. Without perplexing ourselves with any ideal considerations, let us see how far the House of Lords, as at present constituted and advised, satisfies the everyday practical requirements of such an assembly.

It is not my intention to attempt what is styled a constitutional treatment of my subject. Extracts and paraphrases from the works of constitutional jurists are a weariness of the flesh. Nor do I propose to take my readers back to the Wars of the Roses, but, at the risk of egotism, I intend to write about the House of Lords as I see it myself. Pleasant as it might be to trace through the centuries the vicissitudes and actions of the House of Lords, to record vivid incidents in its history, to linger over the picturesque points of view of its almost unbroken past, I cannot think that such an exercise affords fair standards of present-day comparison. It is no new thing to find the House of Lords at loggerheads with the House of Commons, but the Lords and Commons of, say, 1719, when there was a great to-do between the two Houses over a Peerage Bill, can no more be compared with the Lords and Commons of 1895 than the Lords of the Parliament of 1407, who asserted their right over the Commons to initiate the consideration of new taxes, can be compared with the Lords of the Parliament of 1892 assenting of necessity to the startling principles of last year's budget.

Yet if the lessons of history do not help us by way of comparison and analogy, they lead up to a general conclusion which is pertinent to the proper consideration of the present phase of the House of Lords question, and to a real appreciation of a recent proposal which had in view the readjustment of the legislative relations of the two Houses. That general and pertinent conclusion I take to be this. The history of the House of Lords is the history of adjustments. I do not mean adjustments brought about by changes in

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