25 MAY 1867, Page 2

Mr: Disraeli was wise enough not to reply to Mr.

Lowe. He received his battery on the thick, soft clay of Mr. Henley's squirearchical mind. The Member for Oxfordshire has more than once lately saved the Government from theateceesity of a painful and humiliating silence, but on Monday night we are not sure that even Mr. Henley broke the silence to much effect. He de- fended the Government on the principle that it would not have done to wait till the "pot boiled over,"—in other words, on the ground that there was the most imminent peril in acting this year on the principles which Tories avowed last year. That is rather a hackneyed Conservative excuse for belying all their own principles and traditions. It was the excuse of the Duke of Wellington and Sir Robert Peel in proposing Catholic Emancipation, of Sir 'Robert Peel in his Repeal of the Corn Laws, and of Lord Derby in carrying Household Suffrage. Moreover, there was an easier way for the Tories to prevent the pot boiling over, than spilling their dearest principles into the fire to avert that catastrophe. They might have offered something not inconsistent with their old professions, and if that were rejected, have retired, offering tacit support to their opponents. That, however, Mr. Disraeli would have thought a "consciousness of incompetence," — an act of "pique." Incompetence to change your principles at pleasure is probably Mr. Disraeli's secret test of limitation of mind.