3 JANUARY 1880, Page 11

Mr. A. M. Sullivan, M.P. for Louth, exposes, in an

able letter to last Saturday's Times, the fallacy of the assertion of some -of Mr. Wortley's supporters in Sheffield, that if you strike out the Irish votes, the Conservatives would have won. That may be literally true, inasmuch as the Irishmen who followed -the Duke of Norfolk in voting for Mr. Wortley, were certainly fewer than those who voted for the Liberal ; but it is the very reverse of true, if it means that those who voted for Mr. Wortley liscause they preferred a supporter of the foreign policy of the Government, would have carried the day, but for the Irish vote, against those who voted for Mr. Waddy because they disapproved the foreign policy of the Government. There were a great many more sectional votes for the Conservative, says Mr. Sullivan, than for the Liberal. First, there were the Licensed Victuallers, who voted for Mr. Wortley, solely on the ground of a trade interest, and who numbered 1,800. Then there were some 2,000 Tichbornitea, carried by the strangely opportune grant of the writ of error. The Liberals, says Mr. Sullivan, might more justly reply,—" Strike out the Ortonites, and we 'have won by 2,500 ;" or,—" Strike out both Ortonites and publicans, and we have won by 4,300." It is always a dangerous practice to explain away defeat,—at least, with any 'hope of convincing or influencing the public. You can gener- ally explain it away; but then your opponents can almost always explain away your explanation.