16 OCTOBER 1880, Page 3

Sir Stafford Northcote on Thursday delivered some feeble platitudes at

a place near Honiton. He thought politics gained by a party occasionally "lying fallow," which, if true, suggests that the Liberals are just now in the best position to produce a rich crop. He desired that the interest of the country should be placed above the interest of any party. He thought that in the East we had achieved a partial success, not enough to swear by, and had narrowly escaped a very dangerous and disagreeable position. He admitted, nevertheless, that we knew as yet very little of what had been done. In Ireland, we "require a judi- cious union of firmness and justice." It would not do, however, to legislate for Irishmen as if we were afraid of them, and agriculturists there would never prosper, unless all classes had mutual confidence,—a remark exactly equivalent to saying that the Sahara will not grow crops without fresh water. He considered the repeal of the malt tax—which his party has

demanded for forty years, and which he might himself have accomplished, had he had the nerve—" a petty amendment of the law," the result of which had still to be seen. The Con- servative Government had always been anxious to reduce local burdens, and be thought farmers would do well to read the " Report on American Agriculture," by Messrs. Poll and Read, and like the Americans, avoid waste. Can farmers in Devon cultivate as they like, or are they bound, as in most other places, to cultivate as the landlord likes ? Sir Stafford evidently thinks strong intellectual food would not be good for them.