3 NOVEMBER 1866, Page 2

The Duke of Somerset's examination before the Totnea Com- mission

came simply to this, that the Duke was pretty well aware of the sort of intimidation, the sort of influence exerted over his tenants, and wielded by his agent at Totnes, but has taken care not to inquire too closely about it and to ignore it as much as possible. In other words, the Duke of Somerset, and other aristo- cratic leaders of opinion, do not really wish to put an end to inti- midation, which is worse than bribery, at all. They claim to lead us politically, and are below us, or amongst the most selfish of us, morally. The Duke of Somerset cares more to wield illegitimate political power through his land, than to im- prove the political morality of England. And, of course, all the landowners, great and small, follow in his track. If the leaders care nothing for the ends for which, the Houses of Parliament profess to legislate, how is it possible even that any legislation shall be effectual? An aristocracy that wishes to lead, and,has not the virtue to take the lead in political morality, is not -vdith much to the nation. Is it not a clear farce for govern- ments to introduce measures against corruption, when their princi- pal members admit that they prefer to ignore it where they could extirpate it,—on their own property ?