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TOUR IN WALES.
the labourers on the land if it is to be a measure pressed in that spirit, it will not succeed in the object aimed at, and there will not be the result which is desired from it. If there is a feeling that justice is being done to all, and done impartially, then I venture to think that we may expect better results from this sort of legislation. But here again is just one of those questions on which so much turns upon the administration. The value and importance of such legislation as contained in the Land Act does now greatly depend upon the method of its administration. It sometimes reminds me of the figure which was seen by the king in his dream, and which was expounded by the prophet—the figure which hàd feet partly of iron and partly of clay. The Land Act seems to me to rest on such a foundation, the question being whether you have got an iron and permanent footing, or a clay footing which will be carried away. So far as it is a measure of justice and equity, it rests upon iron; so far as it rests on injustice, it is a foot of clay, which will in time be carried away."
When once the Irish expedition was over, Sir Stafford's next task, following almost without a break, was a tour in gallant little Wales.
"Oct. 22 (Monday).—Evening meeting at Carnarvon. Drove there. Enthusiastic reception; but of course tame after Ireland. Spoke in the Pavilion to about 5000 or 6000. Thought to have done well and to have avoided treading on the toes of the moderate Liberals and Dissenters. There is a very up-hill battle to fight in Wales, but something to be done by showing the people what Conservatism is. No Conservative of Cabinet rank had ever spoken in North Wales before, nor any one (except myself at Brecon) in South Wales. My own good reception was of course largely due to civility to a stranger; but Mr Douglas Pennant was warmly welcomed too, notwithstanding his having been told that no Welsh audience should ever listen to him again, on account of some remarks of his reflecting on the national character.
“ Oct. 28-30.-Reflected on my expedition. I think it may fairly be called a successful one, though I do not share the enthusiasm with which some of our friends regard it. The amount of loyal feeling displayed in the north of Ireland was mainly due to causes unconnected with my visit, such as the growing irritation of the Orangemen, who thought themselves abandoned by the country to which they wished to remain united, the boastful language of the Parnellites, the Monaghan election (Healy), and the 'invasion of Ulster' at Dungannon and elsewhere. My presence was of the sort of use that a lightning - conductor is. It gave a comparatively safe means of escape to the electric fluid with which the air was heavily charged. I did what I could to direct the energies of our friends to the registration courts and the organisation committees. How far I have succeeded time must show. As regards other matters, it is possible that my visit may have added a little to the excitement, but it let off more steam than it generated ; and a good deal of zeal was expended in cheering me which would 1883.]
LORD RECTOR OF EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY.
otherwise have gone to breaking heads and discharging revolvers. On the whole a good stroke of work has been done, in showing England and the world that there is a party in Ireland heartily loyal to the Union.
“ Nov. 3.—Elected Lord Rector of Edinburgh University, against G. 0. Trevelyan and Professor Blackie. This seems to excite our friends very much, and I suppose it has a good appearance, which is a good thing for the party.”
Whether the appointment was or was not a good thing for the party, for the University of Edinburgh it was a good thing. The rectors of the Scottish universities have not, as a rule, very much to do. They are represented by an assessor in the councils of the College, and their chief functions are to give a prize, to utter a speech—and, above all, to be elected. The constituency is the students, and they get an extraordinary amount of entertainment from the struggle. There is usually a Liberal party, a Conservative party, and an Independent party among them, but the latter seldom carries its man. The others select some celebrated persons, often not unconnected with letters, and they canvass, and intrigue, and expend their wealth on printing pamphlets and squibs. Many meetings are held, much young rhetoric bubbles over, and not infrequent peas and other missiles are thrown about. But the essence of the election is usually political, though it would be difficult to name the party which Mr Carlyle, for example, represented. The rectorship gives eminent men a title not to be disdained, and brings them pleas
antly into contact with the young. During Sir Stafford's tenure of this office he had far more work to do than commonly falls to Lord Rectors, for the Tercentenary of Edinburgh University was celebrated in the spring of 1884 with much festivity, and in the presence of many distinguished aliens. The Principal, at that time, was the late Sir Alexander Grant, editor of the 'Ethics of Aristotle.' He had just written a history of the University, the youngest in Scotland. In the Rector and the Principal this Alma Mater was peculiarly lucky, for no two men could have been found better qualified to grace the ceremony and to please and charm the visitors from abroad. But this is anticipating. Sir Stafford went to Edinburgh on January 29, 1884, and it is understood that he grumbled less than Mr Carlyle did of the discomforts attending the journey. The collar of his shirt may have been blackened in the train, as Mr Carlyle complained in his own case with much vigour of invective. The new Lord Rector did not think it necessary to mention this detail; but he did “expect fun from the symposium tomorrow.” He was warmly welcomed by the students, on this or another occasion, at a social gathering, where he told some of his Devonshire stories. In his rectorial address he discouraged the tendency of literary persons to abstain from political life. The students in Scotland do not carry to that pitch their exclusive devotion to letters, “With us the object of the University is not merely to protect scholars, but to form citizens.” Turning to the studies of the place, he denied that the time spent on the 1884.]
classics was time wasted: “No doubt there have been many young men who, when they came to compete in the examination halls, or still more in the actual walks of life, with contemporaries prepared upon a different system, have felt an inferiority in practical and directly useful knowledge, which has placed them at a considerable disadvantage. But for all that, there is in the old learning a charm which carries us away from the bonds and fetters of the workaday world, refreshes us when we are weary, elevates us when our aims are sinking, cheers us when we are despondent, calms us when we are agitated, moderates our minds and thoughts, alike when we are in prosperity and in adversity, sets before us high examples of courage and patience and wisdom and unselfishness, and does us, too, the inestimable service of renewing in our own hearts the memories of our nobler though probably less practical selves—such as we were when we began to look eagerly forward to the race in which we had not yet engaged, and which we have since found so absorbing of our energies.”
He ventured on a defence of Greek literature; not unnecessary, for apparently universities will soon need to be told that screws, iron plates, chemistry, and the development of the electric light of the streets, are not the only things worth study—that the best words and thoughts of an age which cared for none of those things are also worth attending to. Greek is in a tottering condition, not for lack of the best of teachers at Edinburgh, but because Greek is thought, here, as in America, not to be “prac