Mr. Disraeli made a remarkably candid political speech at the
Merchant Taylors' entertainment last Tuesday. He said he had been taunted with having bitterly opposed last year a much more moderate Reform measure than that which he is carry- . ing now. The reason, lie said, was obvious, and quite con- sistent with the scrupulous conscientiousness of the Tory party. The measure of last year would have destroyed the Conservative party, and would not have sufficed for the requirements of the State. The measure he proposes this year will not injure the Conservative party, and will satisfy the requirements of the State. Household suffrage appears, then, to be confessed as a party move. Mr. Disraeli was equally frank, and even more oblivious of all he and his party reiterated last year, when he con- demned vehemently the policy of enfranchising a select working class. " Hitherto it has been considered that by raising a certain section of the working class, in a manner which, we think, was scarcely consistent with national dignity, by declaring a certain portion of them skilled mechanics, and loading them with epithets from which good taste sometimes recoiled, an effort was made to establish a body which should have command of the constituencies of the country. I think that is a policy the most dangerous and disastrous, and to which we have offered an undeviating opposi- tion." Scarcely; "undeviating," we think. It was the princp!e
• of the Bill of 1859 to get the cream of the working classes into the constituency by fancy franchises, like the savings' bank franchise. It was the principle of the ten minutes' Bill of last March to go down to a 6/. rating, and not below it like the Liberale. It war
• the principle announced by Mr. Disraeli last session that " the choicest" members of the working class ought to be included, but not the masses. Mr. Disraeli and his friends have given the selective principle their "undeviating opposition" only since he persuaded them that select working-class constituencies would never support the Conservatives, while " the residuum" would.