27 FEBRUARY 1886, Page 2

Lord Lamington on Thursday raised the general question of public

meetings, in a weakly violent speech, the ostensible object of which was to condemn week-day meetings in Trafalgar Square, and Sunday meetings anywhere; and the real object, to convict the Government of laxity in allowing mass meetings at all. They would not, he said, be allowed in any other capital. It is quite useless to discuss the question in this spirit. "Demonstrations" are often useful, and always one of the national methods of expressing feeling, and it is too late to think of prohibiting them, and so calling up all lovers of freedom in their defence. The only thing to do is to make them innocuous by watching them with mounted police, who will not interfere with discussion, but will stop riot. We think Trafalgar Square might be treated as a street, and crowds there compelled to move on ; but it is an old place of meeting, and fairly out of the way of general business. As for Sunday as a day of meeting, it is, on the whole, the best; for the respectable workmen are released, the traffic is much reduced, and all the shops are strictly closed. Lord Thurlow, of course, assured the House that the Government did not intend to prohibit public meetings, but only to take more effective steps for public security when such meetings were held.