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No. CXXV.-JULY 1887.


IN the month of September 1881, just before starting for the East, I took leave of the Elgin District of Burghs, in a speech the purpose of which can best be described by a sentence near its commencement :'To-night must be given to a review, as brief as I can make it, of the position in which the country seems to me to find itself at this moment, when a veil is about to fall before the eyes of one who has long been a deeply concerned spectator of the vast and varied field of our national activity.'

I remained more than five years in India, which I left on the 7th of December, 1886, and returning slowly, arrived in England on the last day of February in this year. During the whole of my absence, my friends did their very best to keep me acquainted with what was going on at home and abroad, but I found that the pressure of business was such as to make it utterly out of the question to acquire more than a general knowledge of the course of events outside India. On my homeward journey, more especially in Egypt and in Italy, I picked up some dropped threads, and as soon as I landed in England set to work to try and understand the present position of our national affairs, pursuing very much the same methods which I should have adopted if I had found myself, when I landed on the Kentish coast, in a region whose politics had been hitherto quite unfamiliar.

It has occurred to me that it might not be wholly uninteresting to some if, disengaged as I am from all the Parliamentary ties and combinations of the moment, I were to construct a sort of pendant to the speech alluded to, by summarising the impressions I have received as to the existing state of affairs.

VOL. XXII.-No. 125.


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