19 DECEMBER 1885, Page 15



Bin,—Whether Mr. Lefevre owes his defeat, amongst other causes, to the defection of Liberal Churchmen is a question of more than local interest, to which, however, nothing but a scrutiny can give a final answer.

As the constituency polled within 9 per cent. of its registered' strength, it is clear that the battle was not lost by general abstention, but by transferred votes. Seventy Irish, represent- ing 140 in the count, undoubtedly failed us, and this is the number by which we were beaten ; but where has oar majority gone to ? Who else changed sides ? Not.the Dissenters, who form the bulk of the Liberal Party in Reading, and have given Mr. Lefevre, a Churchman, their undivided support for twenty- two years. There was no evidence whatever of tergiversation in this quarter; but among the Liberal Churchmen there was. Prominent Churchmen of my acquaintance declined to canvass -or lend their carriages, would serve on no committee, and finally declined to vote, or else acknowledge since that they voted for the Conservative. That many stood firm I am willing to believe ; but it is a matter of general knowledge that many flinched.—I am, Sir, &:c ,