9 MAY 1885, Page 1

The Conservative Party appear disposed to treat the Arbitration as

a surrender by the British Government. Their recognised leaders have not yet taken this line in Parliament ; but it was taken in a violent speech by Lord R. Churchill in the discussion on the Vote of Credit. The object of his speech, which in places was really eloquent, especially where he described the combined strength and " slenderness " of our tenure of India, was to show that no arrangement made with Russia could afford any security to India, that Power always breaking its word, that such security must be sought either in a concentration of force on the frontier or in great alliances, and that her Majesty's Government in its weakness would adopt neither plan, nor any other. This speech has been the cue of the Conservatives ever since ; but the House, after a speech from Mr. Gladstone, in which he declared that negotiations "had only taken a favourable turn," and that it would be most unwise for the Government, as sensible men, to suspend preparations, passed the Vote by 130 to 20, the Ministry agreeing, however, to resume the debate on Monday. So far as we can judge, Liberals generally approve the arbitration, though with an under-current of fear that the Government may be taken in by Russian diplomacy, and may destroy its 'own prestige in Afghanistan.