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Sheridan had signed the roll at the opening of a new Parliament, he was unable to pay the fee and that he borrowed the necessary sum from William Pitt, who had either signed the roll before him or was waiting to do so after him. Were fees ever exacted on such an occasion 1 If they were not, then the story is as false as are two-thirds of those about Sheridan. Yet, even if fees were pay- able, the height of improbability is reached when a reader is asked to believe that Sheri- dan borrowed money from Pitt, and that Pitt lent any to him. FRASER RAE.

The Reform Club.

"CONSERVATIVE" AS A POLITICAL TERM. (See 8 th S. vi. 61, 181 ; vii. 356 ; xi. 494.) I can now supplement my note at the first reference at both ends. In the * Spirit of the Public Journals' for 1800 (vol. iv., 'Bona- parte's Letter to the King,' from the Times, p. 29) there is the following passage :

"And as a firm proof of the sincerity with which we

make this gracious offer, we have been graciously

pleased to command our Institute to invent the form of an oath which we have never violated, and which is so constructed by the skill of our philo- sophers and s<?avans that it is physically and meta- physically impossible for the person taking it to become forsworn, or for any decree of any Con- sulate, Tribunate, Conservative Body, Legislature, or any other lawful authority to abrogate, invali- date, or set it aside, in all time to come. '

My last sentence was :

" He [Hookham Frere] subsequently said, how- ever, that a Conservative was a Tory who was ashamed of his name (I am relying on memory)."

I can now give an early quotation for that epigrammatic remark, and, as the whole para- graph is a valuable contribution to party history, I venture to give it in full :

"Conservatives, Whigs, and Radicals all lay claim to disinterested views, and all seem possessed of some ground for their pretensions. The Radical has to plead the extent of the past corruption of our Institutions for desiring to alter them. The Whigs may contend that their aristocracy is the most honest and alone fit to be trusted by a liberal population. The Conservatives distrust their honesty, and professing equal liberality expect equal confidence. It is manifest that the Whigs can advance, in their own favour, the services of a long political life. While the Conservatives have tc remove the impression made by their services, and to ask permission to open an account on a new score. The Radicals have been untried for nearly two centuries. Their reputation as Reformers is not good, for they think little of rebuilding, while they are pursuing their work of demolition. This party has therefore received from the Public the name of Destructives. The Conservatives are more accurately described by the name of Conformers, foi they are in fact Tories, who have taken up a gooc name, to which they have no title, in order to covei a bad one, of which they were ashamed, The

iVhigs, if they bear out their Professions, and eform, so far, as is consistent only with the ixistence and improvement of the established nstitutions, will then be the true Conservatives, and doubtless be so considered by the country." British and Foreign Review \ ii. p. 674, from article State and Tendency of Parties.' The date is April, 1836.

I may also warn the reader that my quota- tion in the same note from Lytton's ' England and the English' is not from the original edition, but from a later and revised reprint. [ do not think that Lytton could have given

Chartist " in 1833. * J. P. OWEN.

72, Comeragh Road, W.


WE must request correspondents desiring infor- mation on family matters of only private interest DO affix their names and addresses to their queries, in orderthat the answers may be addressed to them direct.

" OWING TO." We want early examples of this as a mere prepositional phrase= u in con- sequence of, on account of, because of." The construction out of which this arose appears as early as the seventeenth century, when we find the Earl of Manchester writing in 1636, " But as opinion is owing unto reason, so is faith owing to religion "; and Dr. Lester in 1676, " a rare experiment which is owing to Borrichius." In these instances, and even in the more recent "He looks ill at this moment ; but perhaps it is owing to some temporary cause" (C. Bronte), /'owing" can be construed as a participial adjective, in con- cord with a substantive in the sentence, and can be changed to due : the opinion is owing ; the experiment is owing ; it, i.e., his looking ill, is owing or due. But when we come to "Owing to the unfavourable weather we were unable to proceed," there is no sub- stantive in the sentence with which " owing " is in concord, and "owing to " must be treated as a rare prepositional phrase. It is true that in such cases we can alter the form of the statement, and introduce a substantive ; thus " Owing to my illness I was absent from the meeting " can be changed into " My absence from the meeting was owing (or due) to my illness"; and this, no doubt, shows how the merely prepositional use came in. The latter we have not yet noticed before 1839, but suppose it must be much earlier. Will friends of the ' Dictionary ' help us to look for earlier instances of this absolute "owing to," and send us any which they find 1