4 FEBRUARY 1882, Page 3

The ex-First Lord of the Admiralty, Mr. W. H. Smith,

ad- 'dressed his Westminster constituents on Monday, and attacked the Government for its want of economy, comparing the Civil Service Estimates under the two Governments, and maintaining that his Government had been the more frugal of the two, which -we greatly doubt, for there are certain branches of these Esti- mates which must grow under any Government ; but no doubt the Tories did try, by cheeseparings at home in some direc- tions, to compensate their frightful waste abroad. But the most interesting part of Mr. Smith's remarks was his statement that last year, in the debate on the Address and on the motion to introduce the Coercion Bill, the Liberals occupied 30 hours and 21 minutes, the Conservatives 10 hours and 35 minutes, the Home-rulers 91 hours and 8 minutes ; while in the debates -on going into Supply the Liberals consumed 58 hours and 28 minutes, the Conservatives 29 hours and 34 minutes, and the Home-rulers 45 hours and 38 minutes. Mr. Smith seems to infer from this that the Tories are justified and right in resisting the -closure of debate by an absolute majority. Why, the proper infer- ence is that they would suffer least of all from such a resolution, and would gain most by it. We have always maintained that it is not only deliberate obstruction,—such as this statement -conclusively proves on the part of the Home-rulers, considering -their small number,—which renders the closure necessary, but the excessive pressure of local interests against interests of national importance. Mr. Smith's figures prove our case, and then he argues that because the Tories would suffer less than any party by such a rule, they are justified in opposing it. We never before heard such nonsense from a Minister of good-sense and great administrative tact like Mr. W.H. Smith.