Mr. 4f>] A DIPLOMATIC MASTKHP1EGE 321
character has reached mo front a reliable source, which may render it necessary for me to widen, my position in these negotiations. It will ho remembered that during tho Hawardon communication tho one point of tho form upon which tho views of tho Liberal leaders wore not definitely and clearly conveyed to me was that regarding tho question of the retention of tho Irish members at Westminster. It was roproRentod to me that the unanimous opinion was in favour of permanently retaining a reduced number, thirty-four, as the symbol of Imperial unity, but not with a view of affording grounds, occasions, or pretexts for Imperial interference in Irish national concerns, it being held most properly that tho permanent retention of a largo number would afford such grounds.
* But from the information recently conveyed to me referred to above, it would appear that tlun division has been reconsidered, and that it in now most probable that tho Irish member** in their full strength will ho permanently retained. This prospect, following MO upon tho of the " Pall Mall Gazette **
that it muBt bo so, in ominous and alarming.
1 In 1880 tho second reading of tho Homo Itule Bill, as 1 can provo by documentary evidence, lost
tho Liberal leaders declined till too lato to to tha retention of any Irish members in tiny shape or for any purpose. This resolve was formed lH.ifuu.t8C! tha Irish patty from 1880 to 1885 have proved llunr indci-ponclenco, courage, and steadiness on ninny a hard-fought field, and it was felt mscessary to got rid of them at any cost. But tho majority of the party of to-day having lost their independence and proved their devotion to the Liberal loaders, it is considered desirable to keop them jwiiiaiicinily at Westminster for the
VOL. II, 1 on tlianlurt, than'it^ was a andry to nil} you