12 JANUARY 1850, Page 1


MEETrtics multiply in town and country: while the Gazette for- mally announces the meeting of Parliament for the 31st instant, the platform urges its irregular debates ; and while the Ministerial measures, with the single dimly-shadowed one for extending the suffrage, are buried in darkness, Members make the most of their own pet schemes for extending the suffrage and anything else. The National Parliamentary and Financial Reform Association meets in the City, and makes good show of adherents, considering all things. Amongst other leaders it now displays Mr. Feargus O'Co Lor' who speaks as if he were taunted for joining the move- ment; not considering what may be said on the other side, as to the Freehold-land movement's adopting the traditions of Snig's End. Although Mr. O'Connor seems to have become a constituent part of the National Parliamentary and Financial Reform movement, it -makes a certain kind of progress, especially in the way of raising funds for its expense; and stipends. Sir Joshua Walmsley admits that the forty-shilling freehold plan will conduce to extend the po- litical power of the middle class rather than of the working class ; but from the manner of speaking, it appears that several members of -the Association are not disposed to remain content with a mere middle-class extension: and, no doubt, it is this feeling which forms the great strength of the body ; since it enables the far-going members to use language calculated to inspire hope and confidence in active reformers and in the working class. But we suspect that when it comes to a real extension of the suffrage to the working class, some leaders of the present movement will drop behind, and appear as Conservatives if not as officials. It is Protection which has been most prolific in meetings, though by no means with unbroken success. And here again the weak point is connected with the working classes. Mr. George Frederick Young holds a Protection meeting in the poor and populous district of Stepney; it is invaded by opinions of all sorts, --political economy-, Communism, Chartism, &c. ; and after a stormy. period, it breaks up in such a manner that every man may think he has carried his own opinion. In Ireland, at Dun- manway, the Reverend Mr. Kelleher explains how free trade has benefited Ireland, by stimulating English manufactures, which give employment to numbers of Irish in England : an argument which told forcibly against Repeal as well as Protection. The Protectionists assemble in the Shire Hall of Stafford, with a strong force of leaders, noble and gentle ; but here there is an incur- sion of tumultuous shoemakers, who will not listen to the talk about "protecting British industry," meet all attempts to open that subject with turbulent cries of "We're starving—lower your rents !" and from words fly to brickbats and stones until the meeting breaks up in helpless rout. Mr. Cobden in-Ades Buck- inghamshire itself, with revelations of his own enlightened libe- rality as an economically-inspired model for the landlords. For Mr. Cobden, once a cotton-lord, is now a land-lord in Sussex—re- adjusting his rents, advising and encouraging his tenants, per- nutting them to alter fences and to destroy game, and altogether doing what so many economists only have the opportunity of preaching. All of which revelation, although its want of novelty rather disappoints the expectation raised by his Leeds speech,

passed with applause in the market-town of Aylesbury. 4,

Mr. Cobden had challenged Mr. Disraeli to meet hum; but the "most near neighbour" of Hampden evaded the contest, and on a pretext not altogether invalid. He met his fellow-subscribers of the Royal Bucks Association, at Great Marlow, on Tuesday ; and threw out as a reason for not accepting the challenge, that Mr. Cobden convened his meeting for the evening, which would do very well for the town population, but could not be attended by farmers from remoter country districts. So the " high-nosed Caucasian" de- clined the challenge of the Frank with his "grotesque and Hudi- brastic crew of bores." To drive the adroit Disraeli quite up into a corner, Mr. Cobden should hold another meeting, in the heart of Buckinghamshire, at noon-day, or whatever time is best suited to the early hours of the farmers.