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Notes of the Week.


Notes of the Week. The Speaker's Retirement.—Amongst the many topics that have engaged the attention of the House of Commons—ranging from motor- cars to the illness of the Prime Minister, and from tobacco to the intended vote of censure -the most important and exciting was the announcement that Mr. Gully is resigning the chair which he has filled for the last twelve years. On the whole he has won golden opinions, though the new rules of procedure have made him appear arbitrary and too partial to the Party in power on few occasions, and though the calling in of the police in 1901 cannot be for- gotten, especially by the Irish Members. Mr. Frederick Harrison made a terrible attack upon him last autumn, and many people are surprised that he did not bring that article before the House as a breach of privilege. But his silence with regard to it showed his strength. The strain of these exciting times, however, has proved too much for him physically, and he has bid farewell to the chamber over which he ruled so long. His Successor.—We go to press before the election of the new Speaker comes about; but it is quite safe to prophesy that the choice of the House will fall on Mr. J. W. Lowther, who has been Chairman of Committees since 1895. According to all probability he will be elected without opposition, at least so far as official Liberals are concerned. Mr. Lowther may not possess all the qualifications of Speakers Peel and Gully, lacking the stately presence of the former and the impressive delivery of the latter. But his conduct as Chairman and as Deputy Speaker has given great satisfaction, and his decisions on points of order have never been seriously questioned. Moreover, he is on very good terms with the Irish Members, and that speaks volumes of his good qualities. But he will not have too easy time of it. Both parties in the House are just now very easily excited, one from consciousness that its power in the country is very much less than it is in the House, the other through annoyance at the clinging to office of those who have been condemned, by every kind of constituency in every part of the kingdom. But Mr. Lowther's popularity and his knowledge of men ought to enable him to guard the dignity of the House as well as any- body could do it under similar circumstances. That he failed to do, as Deputy Speaker, a fort- night ago, is no criterion that he will fail when Invested with complete authority. Bye=elections and Oratory.—Two bye-elections took place last week, and both in different degrees told the same tale as all the bye-elections since 1902 have told. In Whitby the Liberals captured a seat that had been Conservative since 1885, and where the majority in 1892, when the last contest took place, was 1,055, and did it by a majority of 445. But though Lord Edmund Talbot managed to keep his seat for Chichester, the result there is even more significant. No contest had taken place since 1892, when the Conservative majority was 1,875. Lord Talbot had never been obliged to fight for his seat before, he being returned unopposed on three occasions, and no doubt many electors were unwilling to take opportunity of his accession to office to vote against him now. But notwith- standing that he had never been ppposed during eleven years, that he was only compelled to appeal to his electors by a law which the Majority of politicians consider very unjust, and that the majority of his party in the constituency was always ranged between 1,800 and 2,300, he only managed to retain his seat by a majority of 412, and that against an opponent who had only been selected a few weeks ago. The result of ^ery bye-election is most satisfactory to the Opposition, and most galling to the Govern- n^ent The country is much more Liberal now *han it was in 1885 even. Of the 58 seats con- tested since 1900, 32 of them were Conservative in 1885 only 23 of them are so now. And this often-told tale has at last convinced the leaders of the Unionist party that the opinion of the country is against them. Mr. Balfour may not read the newspapers, but he lec it be known in the Albert Hall on Friday that he understands how matters are going. He frankly admitted that his party, "by the natural swing of the pendulum, is on the descending rather than the ascending grade of popular favour." Mr. Chamberlain, speaking at St. Helens on Satur- day, also admitted that "the tide was flowing at the present moment very strongly in favour of their opponents." The leaders could have only one object in view in making such admissions, and that was to prepare their party for a defeat at the election which cannot be much longer delayed. Reckless StilL-As the details of the great naval battle in Korean Straits come to hand, our wonder at the completeness of Japan's victory increases. It is impossible not to pity the poor Russians, who proved themselves so totally incapable to meet their enemies. The piedictions of six months ago as to what would be the fate of the Baltic tubs," when subjected to the fire of Togo's up-to-date vessels, were mild compared with the reports of what actually took place. But, according to the news from St. Petersburgh., the Czar and his advisers have not yet learned wisdom, whilst all the Powers of the civilised world, and France more than any, are telling Russia that her chances of retrieving her position are absolutely nil, the rulers of that unfortunate country are reckless enough to decide that the war must be carried on. The army of General Linievitch is to be sacrificed as the Armada of Rodhjestvensky has been to satisfy the insane pride of the Grand Dukes. One thing, however, is clear, the only hope of prolonging the present system of Russian govern- ment lies in speedy peace. The people will not stand this wilful recklessness much longer. We notice that some of the St. "etersburgh organs are endeavouring to win European sympathy and intervention, thereby enabling "Russia to wait and to obtain peace conditions which will not compromise the prestige of all civilised States The idea that the "prestige of civilised States depends upon bolstering up the tottering throne of the Czar is too grotesque to be enjoyed. Let not Russia deceive herself, she must eat the fruit of her own iniquity, however bitter. Lord Lansdowne spoke last Friday with no uncertain voice. Great Britain means to stand by Japan, and neither Germany nor any other autocratic Power will be allowed to rob her of the reward due to her valour and superiority, as was the case ten years ago.


Am Gymry Llundain.