23 AUGUST 1890, Page 16




SIR,—Having left town for the Sunday, I missed at the time an article in the Spectator of August 9th in which, after handling me pretty severely, you benevolently ask me to con- sider and put it to myself, what has turned an ex-official into, a mere obstructive always opposing the Government I will not enter upon the question how far, when the Government has wasted the Session by mismanagement, it is justifiablè. persistently to resist bad measures, involving heavy burdens,. shoved in as a makeshift at the end ; and still more to protest against the way in which, beyond all former bad precedents, the great majority of the votes in Supply, involving endless millions and great questions of policy, have been forced through in the lump by sitting all night. But I hope you will allow me to reply to the query you put to me, even if I do so by controverting your statement of my position. What I strongly assert is that I have in no way sunk old official experiences in an undiscrimi, nating opposition to the executive Government. On the con- trary, I have rather laid myself open to the suspicion, among some of my Radical friends, that I am not free from an official taint. My record will show that I have not unfrequently separated myself from them and supported the Government in vigorous measures. If I may so put it, I have rather affected the character of a rival official expert. Certainly I should not have liked such criticism when I administered an absolute government in India. Here we have not, or ought not to have, an absolute government ; and what is the use of a Parliament if the Government is not to be talked at and criticised? Some people would say that I am too little a party man. r have fully acknowledged that I heartily admire Lord Salis- bury's policy and dealings with foreign countries, and, as far as circumstances will permit, with Colonial questions. Short of a general treaty of arbitration, nothing can be more pro- nounced than his acceptance of the principle of arbitration in the Behring Sea despatch ; and if the Colonies did not stand. sometimes in the way, I believe that in the same spirit some other quarrels might be very rapidly settled. I will not trouble- you with other matters ; but I do claim that if (like a good many other people) I am afflicted with a madness, there is at least some method in my madness, and that I am not a mere- indiscriminate railer at the Government of the day. I have my own views of policy, right or wrong, and disjointed thougla my utterances may be, I think I could piece them together and show that they are not mere random and unconsidered Lord Salisbury's policy and dealings with foreign countries," that Sir George Campbell asked whether it was intended to confer princely rank upon the Moderator of the Free Church General Assembly ? Does Sir George Campbell really sup- pose that the example he sets to the 668 other Members of Parliament is a good one, or that Parliament would become anything but a perfect Niagara of talk, destructive of all political life, if they emulated his practice ever so humbly?— ED. Spectator.]