28 JULY 1866, Page 1

Mr. Bright wrote a letter to the Reform League which

had, we fear, no little influence in promoting the foolish and mischievous proceedings of Monday in Hyde Park. "It appears," he said, "that the people may meet in the Parks for every purpose but that which ought to be most important and dear to them." "If a public meeting in a public park is denied you, and if millions of intelligent and honest men are denied the franchise, on what foun- dation does our liberty rest? or is there in this country any liberty but the toleration of the ruling class? This is a serious question, but it is necessary to ask it, and some answer must be given it." The answer we should have thought simple enough. Our liberty rests on the foundation of having as few restrictions on individual choice as is consistent with national life, and those few removable by the will of a representative Parliament. It is not a sign of liberty that the mere wish of a crowd should be able to overrule Parliamentary authority, or to put to one sort of use what the majority of the people prefer to see devoted to another use. If the people ought to be able to use the Parks at their pleasure for political purposes, why not to use the House of Commons at their pleasure for purposes of amusement—for fancy balls or popular concerts ? It is these random fire balloons which Mr. Bright sends up every now and then which bring down upon him a dis- trust far beyond what would be due to his general political opinions.