17 FEBRUARY 1866, Page 1

Mr. J. S. Mill made his maiden speech in the

House on the cattle-plague debate of Wednesday. He was not distinctly heard, and the Parliamentary gossip about the speech was at first un- favourable. His argument, it was said, was ' thin,' and his man- ner almost petulant. The truth no doubt was that he was some- what nervous, and that this made a style always somewhat dicta- torial seem fretful. His closing hit at the reluctance of the aristocracy to undertake its natural obligations was no doubt for his purpose a mistake, and not sufficiently amplified to carry any moral weight. But let Parliamentary gossip say what it will, his maiden speech changed the Bill he was discussing. He hit so clear a " blot," to use Mr. Gladstone's phrase, in pointing out that you should pay the farmer for a beast already attacked only that proportion of its price which rather more than expresses the chance of its recovery, that the Government reduced their offer from two-thirds to one-half the next night. We hope for a con- siderable Parliamentary success for Mr. Mill. There are not many men in Parliament who could change the resolution of the Government by a maiden speech.