5 DECEMBER 1885, Page 12




Sig,—It is of some importance that the vote of the Lancashire boroughs should be understood. In Manchester the Liberal votes polled were about 22,000, the Conservative votes 26,000, thus apparently giving a Conservative majority of nearly 4,000. The Irish voters of Manchester are about 7,000. It is the opinion of those best able to judge that at least 6,000 of these were transferred, at the bidding of Mr. Parnell and the priests, from the Liberal to the Tory side. The Nationalists claim to have swayed an even larger number of votes. It must be remembered that the cry of "Religious Education" was worked with terrible effect; and the well-drilled Catholic voters, who a week or two before had upset the balance of one of the most progressive, and at the lame time econom:cal, School Beards in the Kingdom, moved at the same bidding to vote upon an issue as false as ever deluded the ignorant. The priests might, perhaps, have been fought ; combined with Mr. Parnell, they were overwhelming. The result is that 20,000 Tories, plus 6,000 Irish, are represented by five Members, and 21,000 Liberals, plus 1,000 Irish, by one Member. Mr. Courtney will not need a mote striking fact than this when next he raises the question of proportional representa- tion.

But it should be clearly understood that the English voters of Manchester have not cast a single vote less in support of Mr. Gladstone, or a single vote more against him, than in the triumphant days of 1880. The Lancashire borough seats have been bought and delivered. They are not yet paid for; and many of us are waiting very anxiously to know what the price is to