6 MARCH 1880, Page 2

The First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. W. H. Smith),

addressing, on Wednesday evening last, the annual meeting of the London . and Westminster Working-Men's Conservative Association, made a somewhat mysterious statement. He said first, of course, that the Government had done their duty to their country, their Queen, and their own consciences. That is too much a "common form" of Conservative oratory, —perhaps, indeed, of all official oratory, whether Con- servative or Liberal. But he then went on to say that it was very satisfactory to know, that "there are statesmen of great reputation and great ability who are gradually coming round to see that what we did, had to be done. They did not see it at the time, and they found fault with us at the time; but now they are coming to see that, after all, we were not so far wrong." To whom is it that this mysterious allusion is made? Have the Conservatives got some great converts in store for us, who are to startle the country by recanting openly their Liberal opinions, and making their de fide submission to the policy of "Peace, with honour," in Europe, and war without it in Asia Can Mr. Gladstone, or the Duke of Argyll, or even Lord Granville, Lord Hartington, or Sir W. Harcourt be about to join the Government ? Mr. Smith should not keep us in such cruel suspense.