yKT. 39] THE CARNARVON CONTROVERSY 77
' My personal sympathies are, as you know, largely with you. I believe I might say the same of many of my political friends, though, as I have always said, I can only speak for myself; but I have come unwillingly to the conclusion that at this moment, in the very critical state of foreign affairs, with a general election close upon us, with a condition of parties which enormously enhances the great difficulties of the question itself, it is not practicable—or indeed wise—to attempt any forward step. And however strong your own wish is towards a different conclusion, I think you will agree that this view is not an unreasonable one.
' My belief is that till the General Election is over and both parties know their strength any attempt to settle this great controversy will not only be hopeless, but will distinctly prejudice the result; and if this is so, it is clearly one of those cases in which the best-chance of a settlement lies in patience and some—and not a very long—delay.
f I hope that you will believe that I say this from no desire to spare myself labour or anxiety. I appreciate too mxich the transcendent importance of the subject. But I have come slowly to this conclusion, and only after taking every means in my power to satisfy myself of the correctness of it. If you do not agree with me, I should yet like to know that you do not wholly disagree. Believe me,
* Yours very truly,
' Pixton Park, Dulvorton : March 18, 1885.'
I have kept copies of none of my letters to Lord Carnarvon, but I find this rough draft of my reply to the last note, which contains at least the substance of what I said to him :