7 APRIL 1866, Page 1


rpHE "Liberal Legislation Society" of South Lancashire gave a grand banquet to the Chancellor of the Exchequer at Liverpool, on Thursday evening. Mr. Gladstone's reception was enthusiastic, and his speech in returning thanks frequently interrupted by applause. The first half was ministerial, the speaker pledging the Government to do justice in Jamaica "both to those in authority and those under authority," denouncing a Fenian invasion of Canada as"abominable wickedness," declaring that the legislation on the cattle plague formed "an unsatisfactory chapter in the history of Parliament," and praising his new schemes for official audit. 'The second half only was devoted to the Reform Bill, upon which Mr. Gladstone roared very gently, answering Mr. Lowe in a way (de- scribed elsewhere, but vouching for his perfect honesty, declaring that the dullness of his own speech in introducing the Bill was inten- tional, but affirming that Government was heartily in earnest. He dilated on the necessity of passing a Reform Bill, declaring that it had been "considered by five Governments and mentioned in seven Queen's Speeches," but did not defend this Reform Bill more than any other, except by calling it "moderate." There was nothing democratic in the speech, nothing to excite popular en- thusiasm, nothing indeed except a reiteration of the honesty of Government, which sincerely believed in the Bill, and was resolved to piss it. Redistribution was not mentioned, nor did Mr. Glad- stone attempt to lay down any principle on which Reform should proceed.