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MR. BRIGHT AND THE UNITED STATES.
Letter from President Hayes to Mr. Bright: Invitation to visit the United States.
Mr. Bright's Reply. FOR many years there was an almost universal
desire on the part of American citizens. that Mr. Bright should visit the United States, where he would assuredly have received such a welcome as has rarely been accorded to any statesman by any people.
The visit, however, was never paid; but in connection with this matter, and as an interesting sequel to Chapter III. of this volume, we are enabled to publish the following hitherto unpublished correspondence between the late President of the United States and Mr. Bright. The first letter, from President Hayes, is as follows :
EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON, 'My dear Sir,
July 14, 1879. * The people of this country have from time to time indulged the hope that your public duties at home might admit of your paying a visit to this kindred nation across the sea, and that your personal inclinations might not dissuade you from gratifying VOL. II.
this hope. I need not say that at any time this many years your eminence in the public life of your own country would have ensured you a most cordial reception from our people. It will not, I am sure, seem either unnatural or displeasing to you that this title to our respect should be heightened by the appreciation of the great value to us of your opinions and their courageous maintenance during the stress upon our Constitution and free Government, through which we have now, it may be hoped, completely passed.
'I trust that an impression I have received that you are now entertaining the purpose of making this visit is well founded. It will give Mrs. Hayes and myself the greatest pleasure to receive you as our guest at Washington, at such time and as long as may comport with your own comfort and convenience;
will find in all parts of the country a disposition to make your stay with us in all respects agreeable to your own wishes in respect to the measure and the modes of our hospitality.
I am, my dear Sir,
R. B. HAYES. "The Right Hon. John Bright, M.P.'
The following was Mr. Bright's reply to this invitation :
ONE Ash, ROCHDALE, My dear Sir,
August 14, 1879. 'I have received your very kind letter of the 14th of July. The delay in acknowledging the receipt
of it, and in replying to it, has arisen from my wish not to write hastily what might be an unexpected if not an ungracious answer.
'I regret very much that I have not, in years that are gone, visited the United States; my public occupations, and the circumstances or conditions of my home life, have interfered with my wishes, and I have not been able to cross the Atlantic. And now, when your letter reaches me, I feel unable to avail myself of your great kindness, and to accept the great honour you offer me. I seem to have reached the age when voyages and travel have not only lost their charm, but are become burdensome even to the thought, and when I dare not undertake to meet the expressions of goodwill which I am assured would await me from my friends in your country. I have suffered much during the past year from the heaviest of all domestic bereavements, and I have lost, for a time, at least, the spirit and the energy which are needful to make a visit to America useful or pleasant.
• You refer to the course I took during the great trial through which your country passed from 1860 to 1865. I was anxious that your continent should be the home of freedom, and that, as respects your country and my own, although we are two nations, we should be only one people. Hence I rejoice now in your union, your freedom, and your growing influence and prosperity.
'I know not if I may ever visit your great country; I should be sanguine now to expect it. But whether
I do or not, I shall ever feel grateful for the kindness shown to me by so many of her people, and for the unexpected honour which your letter has conferred upon me.
May I thank Mrs. Hayes and yourself for the invitation to be your guest at Washington, and deeply regret that I am not able to accept the hospitality you so kindly offer me.
· Wishing you all success and honour in your great office,
With profound respect,
The President, Washington, U.S.A.'
Mr. Gladstone's Temporary Retirement from the Liberal Leadership. -Lord
Hartington elected as his Successor.—The Session of 1875.-Dr. Kenealy and the Tichborne Claimant.--Speech of Mr. Bright.—Dr. Kenealy's Motion against the Judges.-A Singular Division.--Mr. Bright on the Burials Bill.The Prince of Wales's Visit to India.—The Irish Franchise.—Elementary Education.–Women's Suffrage.—The Sunday Liquor Traffic in Ireland. The County Franchise. -Mr. Bright on Parliamentary Reporting.–Capital Punishment.-On Indian Famines.Settlement of the Burials Question. — The Management of King Edward the Sixth's Grammar School, Birmingham.
- Indian Debate in 1879.– The Bright Clauses in the Irish Land Act. --Mr. Bright on Agricultural Depression.—Motion on the Irish Franchise in 1880.Sir Wilfrid Lawson's Local Option Resolution.
SHORTLY before the opening of the session of
1875, Mr. Gladstone retired from the leadership of the Liberal party—though happily the retirement was only of a temporary character. Mr. Gladstone's decision, which naturally caused great regret to the party, was made known to Earl Granville in a letter dated the 12th of January. There were many who regarded it as a stupendous misfortune that Mr. Gladstone should thus retire from the service of the country which owed to him more than to any man living, and at least as much as to any Premier in her constitutional history. Warm tributes of sympathy and regard were paid to him on all hands; and the press, with remarkable unanimity, deplored