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all the discontent, and all the poverty of an unprecedented aggregation of five millions of people. The second was the Reform Bill of 1867. I well remember the introduction of that Bill, which was brought in by the noble and brilliant Prime Minister of that time, Lord Derby, who tossed it on the table with the exclamation: "My Lords, I bring you this. This is, after all, but a leap in the dark." We claim that this Bill is not a leap in the dark. We claim that it is a leap towards the light, a leap and a long stride towards a more generous Irish policy, towards the reconcilement of two great nations, too long connected and too long divided; and, furthermore, a considerable stride towards that adjustment and devolution of local business which will alone enable the British people to support the vast and various burdens of their Empire.


At the opening of New Municipal Buildings,
Battersea, 15th November 1893

I DO not think I ever received an honour which flattered me more than the invitation to be present here to-day, because it was an invitation, free and spontaneous, to one who is not a liver among you, but a stranger except by name. It is for that reason that, though I am hardly pressed for time, I had no hesitation in at once giving a promise that I would come to you on any day that you chose to name. I make one merit of that, and it is this that in the office which I hold, which is very much in reality too heavy for any single man 'to bear, one has to live almost a monastic life in the office which one administers; and eight hours as the maximum of toil seems to us only a dim, distant, and golden vision. Battersea, with all its 160,000 inhabitants, has not yet the power, perhaps will never have the power, to give its freedom to any man. But I consider that if any stranger has

a right to consider himself a freeman of Battersea, it is I. You asked me to help your free library; you asked me to open your bridge; and now, to crown all, you have done me this most distinguished honour of asking me to inaugurate your municipal buildings. These municipal buildings, ladies and gentlemen, are no mean thing in themselves. They are a noble and stately structure, which may form an honest source of pride to every inhabitant and citizen of Battersea. But they are, besides that, a symptom of that municipal renascence which is creeping over London. You have here now a free library; you have, or are going to have very shortly, a technical institute; you have a gigantic organ, and you must have a palace to put it in; and, last of all, you have this noble building. Well, why is it that we who are interested in municipal life welcome these things? It is not because they are unique, because other places have technical institutes, and other places have free libraries, and other places have town halls.

It is because it is a symptom of what I have contrived to call that municipal renascence which we welcome as a most hopeful sign in London for the present and the future. In London hitherto that spirit has been singularly dead. Within the City there has been, there probably is,

a considerable development of municipal spirit. But outside the City it has never existed. We have had plenty of political spirit in London. On one occasion, in a fit of political spirit, we cut off the head of our king. On another occasion, in a fit of Protestant fervour, and in the name of religion, we burnt down half London. And even within our own days we have not altogether fallen short of these lofty ideals, and in order to lower the suffrage we have pulled down the palings of Hyde Park. That, no doubt, is some time ago, though it is well within my memory. Although we have not been able to give any such signal proof of political spirit since then, there are few Sundays in the year in which we do not throng the streets and flock into the Park at the call of some great cause, from the spread of temperance down to the claims of Sir Roger Tichborne. Well, though we have political spirit in abundance, we have hitherto lacked the municipal spirit. While other dwellers in England and Wales have each been proud of their birthplace and their home, it was the Londoner alone who was not. The Yorkshireman was proud of being a Yorkshireman, the Birmingham man of being a Birmingham man, the Manchester man of being a Manchester man, but you never heard of a Londoner who was proud of being a Londoner until now. There was

nothing to boast of. London was a wilderness of houses inhabited by a multitude of men. But it represented to the dwellers of those houses simply their place of toil, their place of industry, their place of business, without any community of feeling or aim. I declare it is the greatest pride of this generation among the five millions who inhabit this vast city that all this should be changed, that London should be waking up, that London should at last be conscious of its greatness, that London should see in itself not a mere aggregate of houses more or less hideous, but a city which, as it is the first in the world in size, may become the first in comfort and the excellence. of its administration. Ladies and gentlemen, what are the two qualities that have been developed by this waking up of London? The first, I take it, is self-respect. London begins to feel respect for itself ever since the date when by a freely-elected body it has managed its own affairs as it is conscious they ought to be managed. Before then we were at the mercy of vestries more or less admirable, some of them, I believe, far from admirable. But on this occasion I gladly except the Battersea Vestry from any of the reproaches which may be directed against vestries in general. We were at the mercy of vestries; we were at the mercy of the shortlived Metropolitan Board of

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