26 JANUARY 1878, Page 1

The first signal of the crisis was the Conservative deputa-

tion to Sir Stafford Northcote on Tuesday, which urged -upon him that one, at least, of Lord Derby's British in- terests is already seriously endangered, and received from 'him, it is said, the most important assurances as to the resolve of the Government to stand by all they had defined as British interests. The deputation was, it seems, beaded by Sir Drummond Wolff, Sir Robert Peel, and Sir Charles RusselL Of these three gentlemen, only Sir Charles Russell, who is, or was, an officer in the Army, can be said to have any politi- cal weight. Sir Robert Peel has what the old Greek men of science used to regard as the very opposite quality, the quality of absolute levity,—there are nine chances against one that what- ever he thinks will be wrong,—while no one would pay very much attention to the opinion of Sir Drummond Wolff. How- ever, this time they were the straws to show which way the official wind was blowing. It is added that seventy-five other Members of Parliament have given in their adhesion to the views of this deputation. We should not have been sur- prised to hear that a couple of hundred Members of Parliament had given in their adhesion. That a strong war party in Parliament exists, we have never doubted, though we seriously doubt whether it is the majority even in Parliament, while we are quite sure that in the country it is a mere minority. On the whole, the smallness and inconsiderable weight of the deputation was the most remarkable thing about it, and the only importance attaching to it was in the omen it served to furnish of the intended action of a flighty and feeble Government.