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2. In the Boroughs as a whole they have gained upon 1885.
3. Without Birmingham, they would be practically even. The actual majority against them is 3,493.
The following observations on this result will, I think, be allowed to be relevant and fair :
1. In the first period on the total of twelve elections the party of the Government gained 6,496 votes. In the second period, had they still held the same relative position, they would have gained, on forty-one elections, 22,500 votes. Instead of which the figures only show an improvement of 3,854 votes.
2. The whole of this gain may be said to be due to the election for Birmingham, which showed a change in their favour of no less than 3,833 votes. It is known that in that election, held almost on the morrow of Mr. Bright's funeral, Liberals voted in large numbers for his son Mr. Albert Bright, and other Liberals in large numbers abstained from voting. If Birmingham be not counted, on the rest of the polls since the 1st of July, 1887, and the Coercion Act, the Liberals may fairly be said to be abreast of the polls of 1885. But let the Birmingham election stand without deduction or further comment: and let us proceed in the light of the facts now ascertained to estimate the general situation as it is illustrated by the comparison of 1887-9 with 1885.
3. In 1885 the Tories obtained 249 seats, the Liberals 335, and the Nationalists 86. Were the Liberals at the next election to reach the standard of 1885, the House of Commons would be divided for the purposes of the Irish question, as follows:
172 or, exactly twice the commanding majority now available for the triumphant support of the existing Government; and by far larger than any majority known to our history since the Parliament of 1832.
4. This is unquestionably a majority which will bear some deduction. Let us see what deduction it is likely to suffer if we apply to it exactly the same method of computation as has already been taken in comparing the recent polls with 1886. The data before us are as follows. A gain of say 3,850 votes has accrued to the adversary in a period which has embraced fifty-eight elections: and we take fifty-eight as something over one-tenth of 560, the number of elections to be held in Great Britain, without counting Universities, upon a dissolution of Parliament. Their gain on the 560 elections would be something under ten times 3,850, or about 37,300 voters. This majority at the polls, on the same basis of computation as before, would return a
majority in Parliament of about fifty-six. Let us add seven University members, making sixty-three. But this number has to be deducted from the majority of 172 yielded by the polls of 1885: so that there remains a majority of 109 available for furthering Home Rule, and conducting a great Imperial controversy to its issue.
Such are the results of the appeal to 1885: even when aided by the unusual circumstances of the last Birmingham election. Was such an appeal, all things considered, worth making ?
To conclude. This comparison of course throws an interesting light upon the electoral weakness of the Dissentient Liberals, who were allied with us in 1885, and with the Tories since that year. In Birmingham, and perhaps in Birmingham alone, they bare some real hold upon the population at large. In places like Brighton or West Edinburgh, where the upper classes form a considerable residential element, they form a sensible force at the poll. Their chief numerical strength, however, lies in the service franchise and in the votes of dependents, given not necessarily under coercion, but in trust, and without strong individual conviction. Even with the aid of mansions and acres, of tenants, servants, and workmen, their numerical force is limited; for the facts are before us which show that we have done hardly less since July 1887 against the combined forces of Tories and Dissentients, than we did in 1885 with a Liberal party in which no open and general schism had come about.
What is perhaps most interesting, in a retrospect now reaching over nearly three and a half years, is the evidence it affords of a steady acceleration in the rate at which the Liberal party has been and is regaining the confidence of the constituencies. Its momentum increases with every stage it covers on its journey. In this view it may be best that the Dissolution should not arrive too early. There is already in view force enough and to spare for carrying the next House of Commons; but, the longer it is allowed to continue its growth, the more able it will be to deal also with the House of Lords, or the more likely it will be, let us rather hope, to beget within that House itself the sagacious temper which eschews a hopeless and a disastrous conflict.
W. E. GLADSTONE.
The Editor of THE NINETEENTH CENTURY cannot undertake
to return unaccepted MSS.
INDEX TO VOL. XXVI.
The titles of articles are printed in italics.
at Dessau, 669
from Butcher's Meat, 409-422
Craddock's 'Despot of Broomsedge Betting, past and present, 841-847
Bible, criticism of the, 484-486
reading of the, by Roman Catholics,
Bimetallists, Mr. Giffen's Attack on,
Birrell (Augustine), Noticeable Book :
Français and its Sociétaires, 72-65
Staël,' noticed, 327-330
Bodley (J. E. C.), Roman Catholicism
Misrule of our War Services, 523- Books, Noticeable, 324-346, 984-1000
Boulangism in France, 183–184
Bramwell (Sir Frederick), Noticeable
Book: The Scientific Papers of
C. W. Siemens, Kt.,' 333-337
Bruno, Giordano, and New Italy, 106–
Buffalo, the Indian, 234
Butcher's Meat, Diseases caught from,
de, 602-607 CA Beaconsfield 'with, 70
VAIRNS (Lord), friendship of Lord
Canary Islands as a health resort, 120,
Collins (J. Cburton), The Universities FAQ
TDUCATION, popular, by University
Education of children, 664-667
Egypt, What next in 462-475
Eight-Hour Law, an, 509-522
Eight Hours Question, the, 21-34
Eiffel Tower, the, 182
Electoral Facts of To-day, 1056-1000
Elephant, the Indiar, 233-234
Elliot (Sir Henry), Australia Finty
Years ago, 754-775
Europe, political state of, 208
Exhibition, the, at Paris, 173-185
LIACTORY and Workshop Act, the
Female Suffrage : a Reply, 86-95
Fayrer (Sir Joseph), The Deadly w
Beasts of India, 218–240
The Venomous Snakes of India, 453
Female Suffrage, the Appeal against: 1
a Rejoinder, see Creighton (Mrs.
Signatures to the Protest agains,
Fiske (John), his Critical Period of
American History,' noticed, 324–327
Fitzgerald, Judkin, the flogging Sherif','
of Broomsedge Cove,' noticed, 994–997 Fitzwilliam (Earl), mission of, to Ire
Fog, London, in Praise of, 1047–1055
Fowler (Sir John) and Baker (Benja.
min), The Forth Bridge, 35–42
Franchises, Parliamentary, Past and
Franklin (Benjamin) on English govern-
ment in Ireland, quoted, 7
French, the, in Germany, 294-311
Furnace, the regenerative, 334-335
GAMBLING, Modern, and Gambling
Female Suffrage : a Repły, 97-103 Garat (M.), his description of Diderot,
Gaskell (Lady Catherine Milnes), W-
Geffcken (Professor), The French in
Giffen (Robert), A Problem in Money, | IBSEN, Henrik, the Works of, 241-
Speaking on the Irish Union, 1-20 545–560
India, Christian missions in, 478
Ireland, popular feeling about, 189-190
Reply to, see Land Programme
A Reply, see Brabourne (Lord)
Classes in the Soudan (communicated Italy, New, Giordano Bruno and, 106-
ACKAL, the Indian, 231
Grattan (Henry), his retirement from JA Canet (Pierrey,hin. L'Automatisme
Psychologique,' noticed, 341-343
Story half told, 136-159
Are they Grievances ? 825-832
Jews, superior vitality of, due to their
alimentary hygiene, 416-421
Jones (Henry A.), The First-Night
Judgment of Plays, 43–59
Council, discontent of Churchmen
ARUN river, opening of the, 170
The New Trades-Unionism, 721-732 Kidd (Dr. Joseph), The Last Illness of
Lord Beaconsfield, 65–71
a Reply, see Church (Rev. Alfred
LADY Toad, 668-680
Lama, the Grand, 688-690
Franchises, Past and Present, 942–962
Liberalism by the upper and middle 608-621
Land Programme, Notes on the Ladest,
Las Palmas, 126, 203-205
Law (E. F. G.), The Awakening of