Mr. Balfour concluded the debate in a most amusing speech,
in which he characterised the Session as one given up to a great practical joke, a joke he did not at all resent, if only the Government would not drive it so hard as to overwork both themselves and their opponents in their determi- nation to beat the joke into the brains of the people. He liked the gentle comedy of the Session, if only it could be, as comedy ought to be, leisurely and not overstrained. The name given to the policy of the Government, that of "filling up the cup," pleased him for its convivial air. But then it should be really convivial, and not pressed as if
it were the most serious of burdens on the conscience of the Government. The Government could no more carry great and far-reaching measures with their minute majority, than they could conquer England with a stage army from Drury Mane. The Home Secretary appeared to think that the best way to promote religion was to rob a religious institution. Giving him credit for the sincerity of that rather peculiar opinion, he still doubted whether Mr. Asquith himself believed in the power to effect his purpose with the poor means at his dis- posal. The revolutionary programme which was to be placed -before the House so imperiously is all comedy, considering the inadequacy of the Government's resources; and should be brought forward with the modesty of comedy, not with stage thunder. The motion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was carried by a majority of 22 (252 to 230), the Parnellites abstaining, instead of voting against the Government.