It soon appeared that Mr. Goschen had but formulated the
latent desire of the majority. The Liberal Whips " told " for the motion, and the Ministry, with almost needless loyalty, led the Opposition into the lobby ; but all other Liberals, including the Parnellites, broke away, and the postponement was refused by 190 to 148. It appeared on Tuesday, from a speech by Lord Granville, which was followed by a postponement of the debate in the Lords also, that the Government, feeling keenly the injury to the public service, had resolved not to produce their real arguments for the Agreement, being, as Lord Granville said, " unable " in the circumstances to do so, and the debate, therefore, would have been doubly mischievous. The most imprudent things would have been said by the Opposition against France, while the Government would have been compelled to observe a partial silence. The bad impression in Europe would have been pro- found, while the vote would have been accepted as prejudging the action of Conference. Mr. Goschen's tact and nerve, there- fore, rescued the country from a discussion which would have seriously imperilled its highest interests.