15 MAY 1880, Page 13



Sin,—Your article on this subject has touched on the very difficulty that prevents a large and sincerely patriotic class of Englishmen from yielding a full sympathy and hearty support to the great Liberal party. What we want is to be assured that there exist some institutions and certain principles which may be considered sacred, and not to be tampered with ; points where the honest Liberals may say, " No ! we refuse no reforms, but we stop at subversion." Household suffrage is to be im- mensely extended. Well, is that the limit, and what is the principle, and what is to bar the further progress to manhood suffrage, more or less thinly disguised ? The Church is no longer to be deemed safe, and the proclaimed indebtedness of the Liberal party to the Nonconformists must ensure the adop- tion of Diseetablishment as a party measure at an early date. Speaking, however, generally, the facilities for agitation in- crease daily, by aid of the cheap Press and rapid locomotion ; aspiring politicians find the advocating of extreme changes most telling with the multitude ; what is assumed to be a "burning question" is evolved, and it calls itself Liberal, the ultra men amongst the leaders adopt it, and so it becomes an "open question," and the leaders, unable to agree, are induced to refer to the masses. In this way, with a party whose leaders are some Liberals and some Radicals, almost every question must rapidly become an "open question."

Now, Sir, it is obvious that in a self-governing people, im- mense responsibility must rest on the leaders of the great popu- lar party to direct the masses prudently, to impress the people with the sense of fixed principles, and not permit the Liberal party to be regarded simply as the representation of current popularity. Though I am myself unable to agree with you on many points, I entirely recognise your great abilities, and am sure your opinions carry considerable weight with "men of light." I therefore earnestly appeal to you to pronounce as definitely as the subject will allow what we may accept as true Liberal principles, and what not ; and further, what we may consider as a good, wholesome programme of Reform, giving us at the same time time proper instruction as to the arguments for, or reasonableness of, your opinions. I would gladly hear your views, amongst others, on these points :—The Church of England, grants to Voluntary schools (as existing), local rates and Imperial taxes, game-laws, extension of centralising or bureaucratic system, paid magistracy, payment of election ex- penses, payment of Members of Parliament, &c.—I am, Sir, &c.,