LONDON, Friday, January 23rd, 1874.
—An extraordinary thunderclap exploded this evening, after a long Cabinet Council: Parliament is to be dissolved at once! Various important elections during the recess have been going against Government, and the state of things ever since Dizzy refused to take office after the Irish University defeat has been very creaky and unsatisfactory ; Government greatly weakened. So what should Uncle William hatch as he coddled his cold but this spirited move! In bed he wrote a fine eloquent address to the Greenwich electors, which is to burst upon the astonished world to-morrow. F. told me on Wednesday that we were on the brink of a volcano, but not till just before dinner to-night did he tell me what was up. It was a complete dead secret and will take Liberals as much by surprise as Tories.