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seems probable that his prediction will be fulfilled. Since the death of Mr Fox, no leader of the House of Commons has awakened an enthusiasm equal to that inspired by the two mighty party chieftains of the last twenty years, nor is it likely that we shall soon look upon “ their like agen.”

Sir Stafford Northcote once gracefully alluded to the ultimate judgment that he expected to be formed as to his career. In the spring of 1886, an extraordinary honour was paid him, and he was presented by members of both parties in the House of Commons with a testimonial in token of their affection and esteem. The testimonial took the form of plate, and on the various pieces were engraved the heads of some of the principal statesmen with whom Sir Stafford Northcote had been connected. Upon one of the candelabra was impressed his own likeness between those of Lord Beaconsfield and Mr Gladstone. In returning thanks for the presentation, Sir Stafford Northcote remarked upon this circumstance, and observed : “If I feel like the mortal horse who ran third in the chariot of Achilles with the two immortal steeds—if I feel that I am unworthy to be placed among such distinguished men, yet I cannot help being proud, when I remember that it was in such company that I played my part in the House of Commons to the best of my ability."

But let the verdict of posterity be what it may, Sir Stafford Northcote must have felt a sense of satisfaction that it is given to few men to enjoy when he could record

1885.]

GENERAL CRITICISM OF SIR STAFFORD.

147

in his diary that as he entered the House of Commons for the last time it was difficult to say on which side the cheering was more hearty or more general, and when he could remember that a generation of fierce political conflict left his simplicity and kindness of heart exactly where it found them.

148

CHAPTER XVI.

SIR STAFFORD'S DIARY OF 1880.

CAUSES OF CONSERVATIVE DEFEAT — THE NEW GOVERNMENT

MR FORSTER — MR GLADSTONE AT THE ROYAL ACADEMY—
“ HANGING TOGETHER "-ORGANISATION IN SCOTLAND-THE
BRADLAUGH QUESTION — MINISTERS EATING LEEKS-ORIEN-
TAL PROPHECIES — BRADLAUGH COMMITTEE — MR GLAD-
STONE's “ INCONSISTENCIES”-RABBITS AND HARES BILL-
MR BRADLAUGH'S CONDUCT — THE IRISH BILL — CONVERSA-
TIONS WITH LORD BEACONSFIELD AT HUGHENDEN — LORD
BEACONSFIELD ON HOMER — DEFEAT OF GENERAL BURROWS
-AFFAIRS OF GREECE-CONCERT OF EUROPE.

THE defeat of the Conservatives in 1880 left Sir Stafford leisure enough for the keeping of a diary, which, with some interruptions, he continued till his death. The story of the latest years of his life may be somewhat briefly condensed by the aid of these memoirs, but much that is most interesting is inevitably suppressed.

The diary was begun on April 20, 1880, at Elmley House, Wimbledon, lent to Sir Stafford by Lord Beauchamp. It records “our last council at Windsor," and, on April 12, “our last Cabinet.”

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Lord B. reckons the Whigs in the new House at 237, and the Conservatives at 240. There are, I think, 62 Home Rulers (of various shades), so there would remain 113 extreme or unclassed Radicals. Some disintegration may soon be expected in the majority, but we have first to see what the Ministry is like.

Our great defeat seems due to

1. Want of suitable organisation, and some over-confidence and apathy.

2. The bad times, and a desire of change in hopes of better luck.

3. The effects of the unscrupulous assertions of our opponents.

4. The very large expenditure of money by them. Our chief losses were: A. Egerton, Lowther, Salt, Raikes, and some of our county members.

There has been some doubt whether we ought not to meet Parliament as a Ministry, and wait for a vote of want of confidence before resigning. There are other reasons, particularly in respect of Indian affairs, which make the continuance of a practically condemned Administration undesirable and even dangerous. It is not safe to leave it uncertain what policy is to be pursued in Afghanistan or in the Transvaal.

April 26.—The names of the new Government, so far as they are yet given, do not seem to give much satisfaction. The Radicals are much annoyed. Forster should

do well in Ireland, though his manners are rough. The Irish remember his mission in the time of the great famine, when he came to distribute the contributions of the Society of Friends; and they will also take the appointment of so leading a politician to the Chief Secretaryship as a compliment. I think it is likely enough that a Conservative cave may be formed on the Liberal side, with perhaps Goschen as its centre, and that if we manage our opposition discreetly, we may often join hands with them, and perhaps ultimately bring some of them to take part in a Conservative Cabinet. . At the present moment one thinks of such things only in the spirit in which the Roman purchaser bid for the fields occupied by the Carthaginian army. Still, it is necessary to lay our foundations properly. · Dined at the Merchant Taylors' Hall, where the freedom was given to Cranbrook and myself. We kept our spirits up pretty well, without committing ourselves to anything in particular. Our tactics ought to be as reserved as possible. Lord Egmont made a very good speech in returning thanks for the House of Lords. He may be worth looking after.

April 29.-Attended meeting of the House and election of Speaker. T. D. Acland proposed Brand, Sir Philip Egerton seconded him. Mr Brand having submitted himself to the pleasure of the House, O'Donnell got up before he could be inducted, and expressed “on behalf of the Irish party” his approval of the choice that had been made. This was meant simply to announce that the

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