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Speech Archive

Leader's speech, London 1897

Lord Salisbury (Conservative)

Location: London


Lord Salisbury’s address of November 16th 1897 (the day after the birth in Tredegar of future oratorical legend Aneurin Bevan) took the form of a mass meeting at the Albert Hall. The building was, according to The Times, “filled in every part with an enthusiastic audience, who were entertained during the interval of waiting by an organ recital and other music, both vocal and instrumental”. The paper continued: “Round the balconies were hung banners representing the metropolitan Unionist constituencies and bearing the names of the members of Parliament and their majorities at the last election…The front of the platform was decorated with flowers and foliage, and the whole scene was exceedingly effective.” The newspaper further noted that “there were many ladies present.” As Lord Salisbury and other party leaders processed into the hall the orchestra played Rule Britannia, there was much cheering and “the National Anthem was sung with striking effect.” On stepping up to the platform Lord Salisbury was “received with loud and prolonged cheers, the audience rising to their feet and waving hats and handkerchiefs, singing ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’.” At the start of the speech Salisbury refers to a “great industrial conflict”. This reference (perhaps now obscure) is in fact to a major lock-out and strike in the engineering and shipbuilding industry that began at Barrow-in-Furness in the summer of 1897 and continued into the next year. It was an important moment in the development and expansion of trade union conflicts. In view of the struggles between capital and labour that that were to come Salisbury’s patrician dismissal of the issue as barely worthy of comment from a Prime Minister is perhaps one of the most revealing parts of the speech. There is much discussion in the speech of varied foreign and imperial policy issues. All year India had experienced terrible famine (at the time of this speech there was much publicity about the collection and distribution of donations of relief aid) exacerbated by plague and feeding uprisings and ‘sedition’. The references here are, we presume, to conflict at the Northwestern frontier and specifically to the siege of Malakand in which British garrisons had clashed with Pashtun tribesmen. Salisbury also defends recent policy decisions regarding Tunis, Siam and Madagascar (there had been dispute with France over the region) and the conflict between Greece and Turkey occasioned by the Cretan uprising and in relation to which the government had been accused of pursuing self-interest rather than a proper concern for just principle. Evidence of the degree to which the speech was designed for the consumption of its immediate audience is the extent to which it discusses the issue of London municipal government. Salisbury rejects calls for a single London government, justifying this in part by referring negatively to experiences across the Atlantic. The New York Times of November 17th reported this speech under the head line “Salisbury to his Party…Greater New York a failure”. The end of the speech is reserved for a rousing of the party, in the face of bye-election results, and a peroration affirming commitment to the “Empire which we all cherish”.

My Lord Derby, my lords, ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very heartily for the reception you have given to me, and I congratulate you most sincerely upon the great meeting which you have had in London and which I am told exceeds in the numbers and influential character of its constituents anything that since the foundation of this association has been experienced (cheers); and it is not unfitting that at this time you should assemble in your numbers to give expression to your feelings and views upon political affairs and to combine in your strength to guide the nation in the right way (cheers); for though strictly technical politics seem to be sufficiently quiet, owing to the temporary paralysis which appears to have fallen on our opponents (laughter), yet the situation is not destitute of elements of disturbance, and even of apprehension, either in this country or abroad.  I do not wish to refer to the great industrial conflict which is dividing us at this moment.  It is well that such an event, lamentable though it is, should be kept as much as possible out of political discussion.  (Cheers.)  All we can say is that, in view of the vast commercial and industrial interests which depend upon the union of classes in this country, we hope that this division may before long cease.  (Hear, hear.)

Indian Policy

But abroad our attention is drawn more than anything else to the splendid example of patriotism and devotion which is being set before our eyes in India.  (Cheers.)  There have been greater issues tried on that soil, there have been greater dangers confronted; but I doubt whether at any period in the history of the connexion of this island with India such splendid devotion to their Sovereign and their flag has been exhibited, not only by those who belong to this country, but also by the loyal and splendid races who inhabit our dependencies.  (Cheers.)  It is a great subject of congratulation that, when so many influences combine to tempt men to an easy and inglorious life, when there are so few of those exciting causes which draw forth the heroic qualities from men, at such a crisis as this we should be able to show a display of the highest virtues of a nation of which at any time Great Britain or India would have been proud.  (Cheers.)  I feel bound, specially in the circumstances of the time, to pay a tribute of respect and admiration to the statesman by whom these great operations are being conducted in India.  (Cheers.)  As you know, Lord Elgin is not a partisan of ours.  We speak of him with all impartiality so far as political preference might tend to bias us, but we feel that in a moment of great difficulty and of sudden danger he has shown great courage and resolution and has acted worthily of the great crisis in which he was placed and the splendid position which he occupies.  (Cheers.)  I am glad to be able to say this because I think there are some critics of his in this country who hardly reflect upon the bearing of their words when they attack him.  (Hear, hear.)  There are men, apparently, upon whom the influence of the existing struggle presses so much more than the recollection of past comradeship that they accuse Lord Elgin of having broken the faith which he himself, with his own hand, deliberately passed, and, by that act, of having brought the present war upon this country.  That is an accusation which men do not make in these calmer days against even their political opponents, and it seems somewhat strange that it should be made against a political friend.  (Cheers.)  I will not attempt to go into the minute, hypercritical details of verbal criticism by which this charge is attempted to be substantiated, but I will only invite your consideration of this - that Lord Northbrook, a former Viceroy, thoroughly acquainted with all the circumstances of India and all the features of this case, and not concurring with us in the expediency of the policy which we have adopted, has yet pronounced in the most formal manner that there is no pretence or foundation for this charge of a breach of faith.  (Cheers.)  Now, a charge of breach of faith, when it is made against your own country, when it is made in the face of 200 millions of men, many of them of the same race and religion as those with whom the breach of faith is alleged to have been committed - such a charge as that should be made gravely and with circumspection and with a due consideration of all the responsibility which it involves.  (Cheers.)  The responsibility is enormous, and it is hard to measure the condemnation which is due to those who in the mere hurry-scurry of party welfare are not ashamed to cast this slight upon their country, upon the Queen’s officer, or to set up this subject of difference between the races whom it is our highest privilege and desire to keep together.  (Cheers.)  Perhaps I may note, as I am passing, other incidents in the controversy of the moment as applied to foreign affairs which show the same vehemence of imagination betraying the judgement of our opponents.


I see only this morning that Mr Bryce has been criticising the conduct of the government, and one of his causes of censure is that we have concluded a treaty with France which is injurious to the cotton industry of this country.  Mr Bryce might have read the treaty to which he refers.  The essence of the treaty is that for 15 years it fixes 5 per cent instead of 8 per cent as the duty to be charged upon cotton goods imported into Tunis.  (Hear, hear.)  But the treaty is important to us for another reason, and I hold it on that account, so far as such matters can be dealt with as important, to be of considerable moment.  As you are no doubt aware, under international law a treaty only lasts as long as the Powers who make it last, and we have a treaty with Tunis which is, no doubt valuable in its provisions.  But the regency of Tunis is a very remarkable political structure.  It is entirely at the disposal of France, and a decree could at any moment bring its national existence to a close.  I am not saying that France ought to make such a decree, nor am I for a moment suggesting that she will under her present enlightened Government.  The only important point is this – that if there was a system of life insurance for States, as there is for individuals, Tunis would be an uncommonly bad life (laughter), and no decent office would undertake its insurance.  (Renewed laughter.)  Under these circumstances, I hold it to be a matter of considerable importance that we have now a treaty with France which will last as long as France does, instead of a treaty with Tunis which would only last as long as Tunis does, and, at all events for the next 15 years, the cotton trade of this country will be very much the better for that operation.  (Hear, hear.)

Siam and Madagascar

Then I see Mr. Asquith accusing me of having made surrenders of territory to France in Siam and Madagascar.  Really, the boldness of his imagination positively alarms me.  (Laughter.)  It is quite true that Siam has been despoiled or deprived of a considerable portion of her territory – all the territory on the other side of the Mekong, 20 miles of the territory on this side, and the temporary – so-called temporary – occupation of most important and valuable provinces besides.  Now all that has been done, no doubt.  The French Government have been allowed by the English Government – I do not say the English Government ought to have prevented it, but with the acquiescence of the English Government it has been done; but it was all done under Mr Gladstone (laughter and cheers), and it is too hard that I should be accused of making a surrender of Siam to the French, when all the time Mr Gladstone was doing this.  I, out of a respect for what I believe is the duty of statesmen in Opposition, carefully abstained from raising any public question on the subject.  There was, it is quite true, one matter left behind when I succeeded to office.  There was a territory far in the hills, small in extent, almost entirely destitute of population, and so unhealthy that during six months of the year the inhabitants themselves could not venture to mark out its limits.  This territory was claimed by France and by England.  The Sovereign of the territory was a judicious man, and in order to avoid disagreeable complications he sent assurances to Burma of his allegiance on one side, and assurances to Siam and Anam of his allegiance on the other; and as England claims through Burma, and France through Siam, it is obvious that on evidence which might have been thought somewhat similar France claimed this bit of territory and England claimed it too.  What was to be done?  First we thought of arbitration; but then we found that it was so desperately unhealthy that no arbiter would go there (laughter), and that if we sent for the people who knew anything about it and examined them in London or Paris we should have eaten up several times the fee simple value of the territory before we had got half through the case.  Under these circumstances, the French Ambassador and I, we resorted to a very vulgar plan very commonly known in commerce – we split the difference.  (Cheers and laughter.)  A great river happens to pass through this territory, dividing it into approximately equal shares.  England took the western share, France took the eastern share (hear, hear), and without any further expense the controversy was solved.  (Cheers.)  If you call that surrendering to France – surrendering to another country – I can only say I wish all the controversies we have with the various nations of the world could be settled so simply and so satisfactorily.  (Cheers.)  But Mr. Asquith did not stop there.  He accused me of surrendering to France in the matter of Madagascar.  That is the cruellest thing of all, because Madagascar was invaded, conquered, a protectorate was declared, its most valuable maritime portion annexed to France.  All this was announced to the English Government, and no protest was made.  That is all perfectly true, but it was all done by Mr. Gladstone (laughter and cheers); and so again, another expedition was sent two years ago which has resulted in the more complete absorption of Madagascar by France; but that expedition was announced and started while Lord Rosebery was Prime Minister.  (Hear, hear.)  Do not understand me to blame these statesmen for what they did in these matters of Siam and Madagascar.  But the question is a very difficult one and would require more argument from me than I can give it now.  I do not blame them for what they did, but I do blame them for saying I did it.  (Cheers.)  Well, these are the substance of the attacks you see made on our foreign policy.  They have gone on repeating the words Siam and Madagascar until they really believe they have a grievance against the existing Government.  (Laughter.)  I would entreat you not to exercise levity towards us, not to spare condemnation if we are wrong, but if you condemn us, do not accept the facts from the mouths of our adversaries, but ascertain the facts for yourselves.

Greece and Turkey

Well, there has been as you know, another very interesting matter of foreign affairs upon which condemnation has been levelled very freely at her Majesty’s Government.  The only satisfactory thing is that that condemnation has been levelled almost equally from two opposite sides of the question.  I am speaking of the condition of South-Eastern Europe.  I will not go into that, but I ask you to notice that we profess to be a British Government, that we profess that British interests and rights are the main objects of our policy.  (Cheers.)  We do not censure people who have a vehement passion for the Turks.  We do not censure people who have a vehement passion for the Greeks.  I know, without attempting to hold the balance between these two influences, I know very excellent persons on both sides of the question, but those persons must not act as members of her Majesty’s Government.  (Hear, hear.)  We are in the position, as we have said before, but it is so little accepted that I venture to say it again.  We are in the position of trustees.  Our business is to dispose of the power and the resources which are in our hands for the object for which the trust exists – namely, the interests of Great Britain and Ireland.  (Cheers.)  Though we may have the highest respect for those who have enthusiasms upon the Greek or the Turkish side we cannot admit that those motives can be allowed to weigh upon us in the slightest degree.  We should be exactly in the position of trustees full of philanthropic zeal who paid all the money of those who entrusted it to them to a hospital instead of spending it on the persons to whom the trust belonged.  (Cheers.)  It is not enough that your motive is noble, generous, beautiful; it must also be just (cheers); and that and that axiom is, I think, not sufficiently taken into consideration when the policy of England in the South-East of Europe is judged.  Our object was to maintain the peace.  (Cheers.)  If peace had not been maintained great calamities would have fallen on the world.  The result of the efforts of the Powers of Europe was that in respect of the Slavonic principalities and territories peace was maintained.  Everybody imagined that Macedonia and Bulgaria and Serbia and Montenegro would rise and add to the general confusion, and produce the shock of far greater and more important Powers.  But that did not take place.  Peace was maintained.  It was broken, unfortunately, in one instance by the Greeks against our most earnest representations.  They, and they only, have suffered by what they did; and I do not wish to press upon them the results of their unwise and unthinking conduct.  (Hear, hear.)  We did our best to restrain them.  I maintain that you have no right, or at least it is a very doubtful proceeding, to try and prevent a man from killing himself by killing him yourself (laughter); and with that limitation we behaved ourselves to Greece.  All that exhortation or representation, and even something like an apparent threat, could do we did; but we shrank before the possible danger that might come if we were found in a war between Greece and Turkey fighting on the Turkish side.  (Hear, hear)  Therefore, the concert of Europe failed to prevent this Greek war.  I hold that the responsibility is entirely with Greece (cheers), but in every other respect the concert of Europe has up to this time succeeded.  It has dealt with vast and important problems of the Turkish Empire without breaking that peace which in the present state of the world we all feel to be so valuable, without incurring the dangers of international war between other and powerful countries which might have brought about countless calamities to mankind.  (Cheers.)

London Municipal Government

Now, gentlemen, you are here, no doubt, not entirely or mainly to deal with foreign affairs, and I owe you some apology for having dealt with them so much.  (Cries of ‘No’ and ‘Go on.’)  But there are other things which interest us besides foreign affairs, and they are things which concern our own daily and hourly well-being.  We live in the largest city in the world.  We necessarily make great claims upon the government of that city.  But we ask ourselves whether it is in all respects governed as effectively, as wisely, and as cheaply as it might be.  (Cheers and laughter.)  And that is a question which the inhabitants of London will be forced to answer.  My own belief, which is known to you – for I have expressed it before – is that in this matter the inhabitants of London, or perhaps I should rather say the statesmen of this country, have fallen victims to a common intellectual complaint of the present day, which I may name, as I see that Mr. Gladstone has consecrated the word, megalomania (laughter) – the passion for big things simply because they are big.  And in so doing they have departed from the traditions and the precedents of all other large municipalities, for London has a constitution wholly different from theirs.  We are very proud of our municipal genius in this country and the splendid results which the municipalities all over the country have produced, and we are not the less proud when we compare them with what happens in some other countries.  (Laughter and cheers.)  But in London you have not got a municipality; you have a little Parliament; and a little Parliament is not what you want.  (Loud cheers and laughter.)  We have a big Parliament to which we all pay the deepest reverence.  But we think that one big Parliament is enough for this island, and to double it by another little Parliament, which has less important matters to deal with, but which is hampered by all the difficulties which hinder the progress of business in its larger archetype – I think that is a proceeding destitute of wisdom and judgement.  (Cheers.)  Your so-called municipality is, I believe, something like ten or twelve times larger than any other municipality in the country, and the result is that you have ten or twelve times the amount of business to do.  But the day remains limited to 24 hours, and the human being remains limited to the amount of force with which Nature has endowed his brain and body.  (Laughter and cheers.)  And the consequence is that – though I desire to speak with the utmost respect of the members of the London County Council, and I reverence them very much for the amount of time and labour which they bestow fruitlessly upon the public good (loud laughter and cheers) – yet I feel that if our Legislature had condescended to look upon the precedents which we have all over the country we should have seen that we might have obtained a much more efficient machine, or some much more efficient machines, if we had been content to look upon London as what it is – not as one great municipality, but as an aggregate of municipalities.  (Cheers.)  Now, that is a problem which you will have to consider.  I hold that the limitation of the size of your municipality is one of the essential conditions of its efficacy and excellence, and for this reason – that you get working upon your municipalities the best men of the town or district which they inhabit, the men  who are well-known to their fellow citizens, who have themselves conducted their own businesses with great success and still continue to do so, but who can find some time in their day to give to the conduct of the municipality to which they belong, and who would be the best administrators.  (Hear, hear)  You cannot possibly find men not only of greater integrity, but men who, by their very education and by their daily experience, are taught to solve problems which come up for solution in their official capacity.  (Hear, hear.)  But if you overload them you will not get these men.  They cannot give you the whole of their time; some must be given to their own affairs, and, though I do not for a moment deny that you have excellent men on the London County Council, they are men of another type.  They are men who give themselves wholly up to this matter.  That is not so good, or anything like so good, as a Government consisting of men who are still conducting their own affairs of the same sort.  (Hear, hear)  What I am going to say I say with apology, for I should be exceedingly sorry if I were thought, for a moment, to cast a slur, which it would be most impertinent for me to cast, on the members of the County Council, but they are running a danger of becoming professional politicians.  (Cheers.)  And so you see that in their daily capacity there is almost as much waste of time as there is in the House of Commons.  (Laughter.)  In the House of Commons it is a necessary evil; it is one of the conditions on which we receive the inestimable benefit of representative institutions.  But we do not require to duplicate that phenomenon, and you will see if you watch the proceedings of the London County Council that they are overborne by the labour which they have to go through; that the committees they have to attend are endless; and the result is that their debates are adjourned from time to time, and are to an unfortunate, and, I fear, an increasing, extent devoted rather to abstract questions which concern advancing politicians than to those more prosaic and simple matters on which the happiness and welfare of five millions of people depend.  (Cheers.)

Two Instances of Megalomania

And I would entreat you, if you have still temptations to megalomania, to look at two great instances of it in the world.  Do you wish to be governed as Paris is governed?  (Cries of ‘No.’)  Do you wish to be governed as New York is governed?  (Cries of ‘No.’)  And yet the result at New York, which was waited for with so much interest, and which so many people deplore, was adopted after an effort to amend the admitted defects of the municipality by enormously increasing its area and bringing a much vaster population within its range.  (Hear, hear.)  It failed – it failed lamentably.  It failed because it could not obtain the assistance and support and co-operation of the only class of men by whom municipal institutions can thoroughly, satisfactorily be conducted.  This matter will be commended to you.  I earnestly hope that it will be entertained by the County Council – though perhaps it may seem a suicidal course to recommend to it – in a wise, a patriotic and enlightened spirit; and I earnestly hope that our friends will do their best, even at some inconvenience, to furnish for this or the next election a sufficient number of candidates to enable this matter to be impartially considered. 

The Problem of London Government

I do not think, if you elected the best county council in the world, that you would have solved the problem of London municipal government.  You will not solve it until you seek to give a large portion of the duties which are now performed by the County Council to other smaller municipalities (loud cheers), elected in narrower areas, and having a full and real knowledge of the condition of the people for whom they are legislating.  You cannot tell me – unless we have a political omniscience which I cannot discern – you cannot tell me that Hackney knows much of what goes on in Putney, or that Hampstead knows much of what goes on in Greenwich.  But this matter, I have no doubt, will be pressed to the front.  I have very little doubt that some legislation on the subject will be introduced by the Government in the ensuing Session.  (Cheers.)  But, of course, that is not a matter for Government or for party majorities.  We must have the thorough sympathy and co-operation of the best and most enlightened; or the policy with which we are dealing, the enterprise on which we have embarked, will fail.

Recent Bye-Elections

And now, gentlemen, the only matter which, perhaps, I ought to refer to is a question which interests us all; and that is the movement of the pendulum.  (Laughter.)  Though we have made an exceedingly good fight there is no doubt that our numbers have in several constituencies declined.  I should be very sorry if that reflection caused the slightest discouragement to any person present.  It is an essential result of your system of Parliamentary representation.  When a general election comes, the electors have before them all the sins of the Government of the day, which are more numerous with one Government and less numerous with another (laughter), but I am afraid are present with all.  And they have that excitement which will induce them to abandon their ease and put aside their enjoyments for the moment in order to fulfil one of the most vital duties that rest upon them as citizens.  But when you come to a bye-election, matters are very different.  There is no general inquest on the proceedings of the Government, but there are a number of things the Government have probably done which affect the feelings of a limited number of persons, and it is a curious maxim of human nature that people of eccentric opinions are very intense in their feelings and convictions, and people of reasonable convictions are very much inclined to stay at home.  (Hear, hear)  I do not know, of course, the various cross currents that may have decided certain votes in some of these recent contests.  I only venture to go on information which I have received.  On the morning when the result of the contest at Middleton was declared I received a telegram from a body calling itself the National Canine Association.  (Loud laughter.)  They did not sign their names or tell me from where the information came, so this is the first opportunity I have had of acknowledging their courtesy.  (Cheers and laughter.)  They were very fully convinced that all the votes that told against us at Middleton were bestowed by people whose dogs had been muzzled, to their own great discontent.  (Laughter.)  I do not suppose that that is a solitary instance.  Of course, the dogs are very much to the fore, and you know all about them; but I am not sure there may not be a party of cats (laughter), and I have no doubt there are many small parties of that kind, and you may always be sure of the result that, in proportion to the smallness of the party is the intensity of the convictions that actuate them.  (Hear, hear.)  For these reasons you must not be surprised at the movement of the pendulum.  It moved during our last Government; when it concluded we were still in a majority in Great Britain and a very large majority in England.  But there was a body of opinion in which no pendulum moves which gave a majority the other way.  But it is not merely this motion which I may call the automatic result of the conditions of political movement in this country; but there is another special cause which produces indifference on our side, and might tend to cause electoral defeat, and that cause is the utter disorganisation into which our adversaries have fallen.  (Hear, hear.)  They profess, and I have no doubt sincerely, to deeply regret the retirement of Mr. Gladstone; but they have not so much cause to regret it as we have.  As long as Mr. Gladstone was on the front bench nobody on our side thought of muzzled dogs.  (Laughter.)  No petty considerations were allowed to thrust aside solicitude for the great interests which, in our belief, were threatened by Mr. Gladstone’s gigantic changes.  (Cheers.)  No follower to Mr. Gladstone has shown himself.  I do not know precisely who the leader on the other side is.  (Laughter and cheers.)  I wish to tender him my heartiest respects and to express a wish that he would withdraw the mask from his face and let me see what lineaments he has.  (Laughter.)  But the result is that the terror, that salutary terror which keeps eccentric spirits from wandering from the fold, has gone away.  People say, ‘Oh!  The Government has a large majority, and the idea that the country will entrust its destinies to Sir William Harcourt – well, it is not worth considering.’  (Laughter.)  Therefore, they give themselves freely to the pleasure of poking fun at their friends and revenging any little cause of irritation which they may have felt. 

Home Rule and the Need for Vigilance

These are human passions – I may call them human failings.  They are natural in a party, and still more natural in a large party; but standing in the presence of the strongest organisation which the Conservative party has seen, and I think the strongest organisation any party in this country has seen (cheers), I would urge upon them that the correction and remedy of errors of this kind is precisely the service which a strong organisation should perform.  (Hear, hear.)  When we are in the flood-tide of success and everybody is thinking of politics, no doubt such a body as this is very useful; but it does little to influence a movement determined by higher and more potent causes.  But in a time of slack water such as we are in now, when a few eccentrics, by whom a contest may be decided, have their full opportunity and know it is their hour of licence, then is the time when an organisation such as the National Union should make itself a power and its utility felt.  (Cheers.)  Do not imagine that the cause for your exertion has passed away.  No doubt the history of recent times as it will be written is a very strange history.  No doubt the dismemberment of the Empire was undertaken under auspices that might well make us fear.  The whole organisation – and a terrible organisation it is – which the Nationalists are able to bring to bear, joined to the whole organisation of the Liberal party, the great prestige and long services of Mr Gladstone and the influence of his seductive eloquence – all these things, and many more, were joined together in order to assure success to the recent Home Rule movement.  They succeeded after many years of effort in procuring the assent of the House of Commons.  They delighted to indulge in menaces of the fate that would befall the House of Lords if they dared to stand in their way.  Their confidence was unlimited; they never believed for a moment that it was upon that stone that their undertaking would trip.  But the matter turned out differently from their expectation.  The House of Lords rejected the Bill by a contemptuous majority (cheers), and then they were told that their cup was to be filled and final condemnation was to be pronounced.  (Laughter.)  But, instead of that, the country has sent back a larger majority than has ever been returned in our time to support it.  (Cheers.)  No doubt it was a great victory, and no doubt the effect has been for the moment to silence the cry for Home Rule, so that you only hear it now and again in a stray election speech.  But do not imagine that the danger has passed by.  The elements are all there – all the elements of discontent; all the elements of the organisation by which the integrity of the country was threatened; and, I might add, all the elements by which the integrity of the Church of England was threatened.  (Hear, hear.)  All these things remain where they were.  What they want is a prophet to give life to the dry bones, a general to handle the troops which are ready to his hands.  The general has not shown himself.  (Laughter.)  But do not count upon his absence.  In this period of repose it is for you to perfect your organisation and to make your security undoubted.  (Cheers.)  Do not count that there will be always absent from the benches opposite you a man who can use the elements of discontent and subversion which have been handed down for his employment.  It is for you to prepare against that danger.  If you now use the period of repose; if you now foresee that this lull will not be permanent, but that the tempest will be on you again; you may again have the proud privilege which you had before; and it will again be said that it is due to your efforts and to that party which you organised that the Empire which we all cherish and value has been preserved.  (Loud cheers.)                 

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