28 JANUARY 1882, Page 2

Lord Lytton maaP a good speech on Tuesday, in opening

the new public library of St. Alban's, a speech which contrasts very pleasantly with the extraordinary farrago of personal virulence and twisted history which he polished up into a political harangue last week at Woodstock. On this occasion, Lord Lytton had not to revenge himself on his enemy, but only to extol books and literature, and for that he is very well fitted. He remarked that he believed it was Dr. Franklin who, on being asked the- use of electricity, replied by asking the use of a newly-born infant. Now, the public library at St. Alban's was, in this sense, a newly-born infant, and no one could tell to what maturity it might not attain. There were people who depre- ciated the love of knowledge; but they were the people who- always depreciated improvement, on the ground that bigger men gained their successes with smaller instruments, so that Lord Nelson with a three-decker did what few commanders now could do with an ironclad, and Columbus, with no vessels to speak of, achieved what the captain of a first-rate steamer could not now achieve. That may be true, but none the less, as dis- covery spreads, it is better that knowledge should spread too, than that ignorance should remain. This is quite a just Obser- vation of Lord Lytton's. And may we not add that as de- mocracy spreads, it would be well if our nobles would con- descend to follow that example of comparative moderation and candour, even in comparatively ignorant people, which the lower class sets them P