11 OCTOBER 1873, Page 12


[TO THE EDITOR OF THE "SPECTATOR."] SIR,—What in the world is the Spectator driving at ? For some months it has been snarling at the Government for not dissolving Parliament. Every week it has been dealing a straight blow, or one by circumbendibus, against Mr. Gladstone, urging him to perform the suicidal operation. The Spectator professes, the writer believes honestly, to do homage to the greatest statesman of the present century, and yet week after week it worries him to commit an ,act of more than doubtful policy, nay, of positive felo de se. Some dozen bye elections have gone in favour of the Tories, nevertheless, the Gladstone Parliamentary majority is still over 70! At the close of the Session, the Premier changed some of the constituent parts of his Ministry, all of them being of a Liberal character, and palpably for the purpose of bringing his Government more in accord with the entire Liberal party. It is notorious that the Gladstone Cabinet, emphatically the Premier, is cogitating a legislative programme by which the country may judge of its worthiness of national support in the coming general election, which will inevitably take place in the ensuing spring. Nevertheless, the Spectator, with an impatience unworthy of a discreet and consistent counsellor, urges and anticipates a speedy dissolution, and all the more " desirable if the Taunton seat be lost." But what is the cui bond of this suicidal policy ? The Spectator answers, with marvellous inconsistency, that " if the new idea of dissolving in November is true, we shall be beaten hip and thigh over two-thirds of England" (.) Verily this is strange counsel for " a guide, philosopher, and friend." Surely the Spec- tator desires no such consummation. Does not the commonest sense, the commonest prudence, the commonest justice direct the Government to mature its programme during the Recess, lay it before Parliament at the commencement of the Session, and then, the Parliament being ripe for dissolution, dissolve and appeal to the country, and stand or fall by the result ?—I am, Sir, &c.,

C. A., nearly forty years' Subscriber to the Spectator.