21 APRIL 1866, Page 1

The only great speech hitherto made on the side of

the Govern- ment was Mr. John Stuart Mill's, yesterday week, too late for our last impression. It was a speech of great intellectual power and considerable ironic force. He quizzed the noble mover of the amendment and his allies on their great zeal for extinguishing family and pocket boroughs, and curtailing the power which wealth possesses to secure seats in the House ; he professed him- self " quite orthodox " on these points ; he remarked on the in- ference to be drawn from the fact that the register of boroughs already contained 26 per cent. of the working class :—" They had all this power of shaking our institutions, and so obstinately persisted in not doing it, that honourable gentlemen are quite alarmed, and recoil in terror from the abyss into which they have not fallen." He insisted, with unanswerable logic, on the enor- mous importance of having men from all classes, to prevent or remove the bias which class ideas and interests otherwise pro- duce, and claimed the benefit of this principle especially for the working class, pointing out how many subjects there are on which as yet we have wholly failed to understand their views and catch their wishes. Mr. Mill only broke down in connecting this ex- position with the Bill before the House. There was a time, not yet five years ago, when he pointed out, as the exceeding danger of a more uniform extension of the suffrage, that thereby in time " the most numerous class would be able to reduce all bit itself to political insignificance," and lose the aid of wide knOwledge and various interests. Mr. Mill has now done his best to bring that danger not upon us, but nearer, and to make it in another generation inevitable.