18 JANUARY 1879, Page 1

Sir William Harcourt made at Oxford on Tuesday the most

brilliant, as well as the most weighty, attack on the Government which has yet been delivered by any of the Liberal leaders. Of the chief points of his speech we have given a sufficient account else- where, but here we may add that he described the offer of the Turkish Government to reform itself, if we would only provide it the pecuniary means, as very much resembling the proposal " of some ruined scamp, who promises to become respectable, if you will only lend him a thousand pounds." As for England, she would say, and rightly say, like Canning's " friend of humanity" to the knife-grinder,—" I give thee sixpence ? I'll see thee damned first !" The Ottoman Empire was doomed, and "the residuary legatee of its fortunes will be the Power which commands the sympathy of the populations which will go forth from the ruins of that European Bastille." To have gained the sympathy of those populations would have been so far from impossible, that it was " not half so difficult as the creation of Belgium." We might easily have played, we might still play,—to the subject popula- tions of European Turkey, the same part which we played towards the peoples of Italy and Greece, when they were on the eve of their emancipation, and might thereby gain their hearty gratitude. But Lord Beaconsfield had chosen a worse part, and had played the game at once of Russia and of the foe of Russia, without winning anything but hatred from the Slavic States of the future.