4 MARCH 1905, Page 3

Of the many extraordinary incidents in the career of this

amazing Government, perhaps the most amazing is that disclosed in the Stanley-Bowles correspondence published on Friday. The facts are simple enough. Lord Stanley and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes, who are alleged to be Free-traders, deliberately and specifically proinised to go to East Lynn to support Mr. Gibson Bowles by speaking for him at a meeting, and this promise was confirmed after consultation with Sir A. Acland-Hood, and again confirmed by Lord Stanley only on Monday. On the occasion of this final confirma- tion of the promise, Mr. Bowles tells us that Lord Stanley declared that, being a Free-trader, he was determined, in spite of the " abuse " to which he had been subjected, to keep his word. The ground on which Lord Stanley and Mr. Ailwyn Fellowes promised to speak for Mr. Bowles was that Mr. Bowles was satisfied by Mr. Balfour's declaration that he was not a Protectionist, and meant there- fore to support the Government, except on the rules of the House, national finance, and Chinese labour. In spite, however, of Lord Stanley's confirmation of his promise on February 27th, he wrote on February 28th to tell Mr. Bowles that he and Mr. Fellowes must be guilty of what he feared Mr. Bowles might consider a breach of faith, and that they could not speak at the meeting as agreed. In explanation of his conduct Lord Stanley does not cite any action of Mr. Bowles's after-the promise, but only that since the Whip gave his "permission" it had been pointed out to him (the Whin)

how violent had been Mr. Bowles's opposition, and he had therefore come to the conclusion that Lord StanleY had better not appear on Mr. Bowles's platform. This Lord Stanley, astounding as it seems, considers a good ground for what he naïvely calls failing "to keep my promise."