On Wednesday, Mr. W. H. Smith was entertained at the
Merchant Taylors' Hall by a large and representative com- pany of bankers and men of business, who availed them- selves of that opportunity to testify their value for his great services as Leader of the House of Commons. Mr. H. H. Gibbs, one of the Directors of the Bank of England, took the chair, and in proposing the toast of the evening, spoke of Mr. W. H. Smith's imperturbable good-humour, patience, moderation, straightforwardness, and courtesy. The First Lord of the Treasury, in reply, stated how wholly unambitious he had been of the post which he holds : he had accepted it as a duty imposed upon him, not at all as a prize to be grasped at; and he had deeply felt his own inability for so difficult a tat*, which, indeed, he could hardly have die.
charged at all but for the steady support of his colleagues and of the Liberal Unionists, to whom he paid a very warm tribute of gratitude. He enlarged on the extra- ordinary drain upon the strength and health of Cabinet Ministers which the present system of obstruction causes, and said that there is no other State in the world in which the efficiency of Ministers is so impaired by such drains on their physical energies,—indeed, that some remedy will have to be found, though he himself as yet had none to propose. He intimated that his own strength would be at the service of the State so long as it lasts out ; but we gather that he does not expect that time to be much prolonged. Mr. Smith also echoed Lord Salisbury's very emphatic warning that for Government to dissolve Parliament only to take a verdict on the subject of the obstruction of business, would be a most serious breach of its duty to the nation.