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reasoning or power of argument. Probably it is quite feeble, and capable of swift demolition. I can but come back to my original sense of the complete absurdity and falseness of the position.

Upon this homely ground, however, of tax-paying, a possibility occurs. I think that for my part I should not be unwilling to compound for the political privileges which are denied to me. The ladies at St. James's Hall will think it a terrible dereliction from principle ; yet I feel it is a practical way out of the difficulty, out of the absurdity. It would be a great relief to many of us, and it would deliver us from the sting of inferiority to our neighbour next door. We should be able to feel, when the tax-gatherer came round, that for that moment at least we had the best of it. Let there be a measure brought in to exempt us from the payment of those rates which qualify every gaping clown to exercise the franchise. It will not be a dignified way of getting out of it, but it will be a way of getting out of it, and one which will be logical and convey some solace to our wounded pride. I for one am willing to compound.

In all these inequalities and injustices, however, the chief grievance to women is the perpetual contempt, the slur upon them in all respects, the injurious accusation, so entirely beyond all possibility of proof that denial means nothing. How it can have been that men have continued for all these ages to find their closest companions and friends among those whose every function they undervalue and despise, is one of the greatest problems of human nature. We are so wound and bound together, scarcely one man in the world who does not love some woman better than he loves any other man, or one woman who does not love some man before all other mortal creatures, that the wonder grows as we look at it. For the sentiment of men towards women is thoroughly ungenerous from beginning to end, from the highest to the lowest. I have thought in my day that this was an old-fashioned notion belonging to earlier conditions of society, and that the hereditary consciousness of it which descended to me, as to all women, was to be disproved by experience. But experience does not disprove it. There are, of course, many individual exceptions, yet the general current of sentiment flows full in this way. Whatever women do, in the general, is undervalued by men in the general, because it is done by women. How this impairs the comfort of women, how it shakes the authority of mothers, injures the self-respect of wives, and gives a general soreness of feeling everywhere, I will not attempt to tell. It is too large a subject to be touched by any kind of legislation ; but without this the occasional wrongs of legislation, the disabilities at which we grumble, would be but pin-pricks, and would lose all their force. They are mere evidences of a sentiment which is more inexplicable than any other by which the human race has been actuated, a sentiment against which the most of us, at one period or other of our lives, have to struggle blindly, not knowing whence it originates, or how it is to be overcome.

THE PAST ELECTION.

TW
IWO months ago, in an article entitled “ The Coming Election,' we

ventured to make a forecast of the results of the General Election, which was then impending. The dissolution, though not unexpected, came upon us, as it did upon the whole country, with the suddenness of a surprise. We now know the cause of the hasty resolution to appeal to the country at Easter. It was the last fiasco of the Home Secretary. And it is worth while remarking that as the Gladstone administration was broken mainly by the unpractical attempts of the Home Office to deal with beer, so the Beaconsfield administration has been precipitated to destruction by the unpractical attempts of the Home Office to deal with water. The Artizans' Dwelling Act, over which Mr. Cross and his supporters have never ceased rejoicing, drove the first nail into the coffin of the business reputation of the Home Secretary. The extravagant proposals contained in the provisions of the Water Companies' Bill put the finishing touch upon the article in question, and the Home Office has thus a second time in ten years applied the torch to the funeral pyre of its own administration.

In our article on the Coming Election' we hazarded some rough conjectures as to the probable result of the appeal to the country whenever that appeal might come. We stated our conviction that the oracle of the city of Oxford was not far out in his reckoning when he lifted up his voice and prophesied that the “first day of the new Parliament would be the last day of the old administration ;' and we calculated that the change would be brought about by the constituencies in the north of England and in Scotland rather than by those bordering on the metropolis or in the centre of England. So far as they went, these calculations have been accurate. But the nett result has far exceeded the expectations of two months ago. The calculations of the Tory party-managers showed some loss to their side; but on the eve of the dissolution it was freely asserted that, at the very worst, the Beaconsfield administration would be kept in office by a trustworthy majority of from fifteen to five-andtwenty. Both sides, therefore, were out in their calculations, and both sides erred in the same direction. The Liberal managers expected something from the counties into which the borough populations had spread, and they expected nothing from the more strictly rural population of the counties. The Tory managers trusted to their farmers and dreaded the borough overflow. As a matter of fact the counties bordering on large towns such as London, Birmingham, and Liverpool, have returned supporters of Lord Beaconsfield, and the purely agricultural counties, such as West Cumberland, North

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returned supporters of Lord Hartington. The cause of this is not uninstructive, and it is of hopeful augury to the Liberal party. The borough overflow consists of stockbrokers, city men in a small way of business, clerks in counting houses, retired tradesmen, rentiers, and others of restricted means and no individual influence. These men, season-ticket holders for the most part on the suburban railways, have little time and less inclination to give to politics. Toryism they consider to be genteel, and such opinions as they hold are formed for them by the newspapers which they read in their railway journeys up to town in the morning and back from town to their villas in the evening. The leading London evening paper, shortly before the election, maintained the thesis that what the Stock Exchange think to-day England will think to-morrow.' And the villa residents outside London and the great towns believed their organ, and they have been disappointed. The votes of these people, which at best are shifty things, are just as likely to be cast on the Liberal side at the next election. There is nothing stable in them. They go with the fashion of the time.

But let us more particularly call the muster-roll, and see what we have gained and lost. The parties in the House of Commons stood as follows on March 24, and April 29, respectively :

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The position of the two great parties in the State is thus reversed. The Tory party has not met with such a signal defeat since 1832. After the General Election of that year, the Tories numbered

1 STATE OF PARTIES AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1832.

Date of Dissolution

Liberals

Tories

485
380

352 286

1832 1835 1837 1841 1847 1852 1857 1859 1865 1868

327

333 366 348 361

168
273
301
367
326 (161 Protectionists

( 165 Conservatives
320
287
305
294
265
349

393

1874

303 1247 Liberals

56 Home Rulers

348 Liberals 4131

but 168 against a Liberal majority of 485. At the ten General Elections which have taken place since then, the Tory party, like the Liberal party, have had their vicissitudes. But on none of these occasions have they showed in such diminished numbers as they do to-day.

What is especially remarkable is the Tory discomfiture in the county constituencies of England. The Liberals reached low water in the counties in 1841, and the tide went very nearly as far out in 1874. Their highest successes were in 1832 and in 1835. But since this last date they have never approached the position which they occupy in this Parliament. The following table shows how the English county seats have gone since 1832.

STATE OF PARTIES IN THE ENGLISH COUNTIES SINCE 1832.

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This change of feeling in the agricultural districts is of great significance. For the last half-century thę Tory party have maintained such power as they have enjoyed owing to the devotion of the farmers. They could always trust the agricultural vote. The farmers never forgave the Liberals for abolishing protection. They voted solid for the "farmer's friends, who always promised them everything they wanted, and never gave them anything but shams. At length they have awakened to their true interests. The Tory strength in the counties now rests for the most part upon the fluctuating suffrages of the villa populations outside the large towns. The Liberal strength rests on the more solid ground of the genuine agricultural franchise, and what makes the Liberal success in the counties all the more remarkable is this—that the farmers have supported the Liberal candidates under the knowledge that one of the earliest works of the Liberal administration must be the enfranchisement of the farm labourer. The farmers have given their votes with the full knowledge that this electoral reform must take place within the next five years. The county elections which the Liberals have won took place for the most part after the voice of the borough constituencies had declared that a Liberal administration, pledged to an assimilation of the county and borough suffrage, would displace the existing Tory administration. It may therefore be assumed that the farmers are not so hostile to the new measure of electoral reform as their Tory friends have constantly alleged.

If we enquire as to the localities in which the change of feeling returned supporters of Lord Hartington. The cause of this is not uninstructive, and it is of hopeful augury to the Liberal party. The borough overflow consists of stockbrokers, city men in a small way of business, clerks in counting houses, retired tradesmen, rentiers, and others of restricted means and no individual influence. These men, season-ticket holders for the most part on the suburban railways, have little time and less inclination to give to politics. Toryism they consider to be genteel, and such opinions as they hold are formed for them by the newspapers which they read in their railway journeys up to town in the morning and back from town to their villas in the evening. The leading London evening paper, shortly before the election, maintained the thesis that what the Stock Exchange think to-day England will think to-morrow.' And the villa residents outside London and the great towns believed their organ, and they have been disappointed. The votes of these people, which at best are shifty things, are just as likely to be cast on the Liberal side at the next election. There is nothing stable in them. They go with the fashion of the time.

But let us more particularly call the muster-roll, and see what we have gained and lost. The parties in the House of Commons stood as follows on March 24, and April 29, respectively :

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The position of the two great parties in the State is thus reversed. The Tory party has not met with such a signal defeat since 1832. After the General Election of that year, the Tories numbered

I STATE OF PARTIES AFTER THE GENERAL ELECTIONS SINCE 1832.

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1832 1835 1837 1841 1847 1852 1857 1859 1865 1868 1874

333

168 273 301 367

165 Conservatives

161 Protectionists 320 287 305 294 265 349

366 348 361

393

3034247 Liberals

56 Home Rulers

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