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Right Hon. Augustine Birrell…

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Right Hon. Augustine Birrell at Llandudno. Great Liberal Demonstration. Threatened Rejection of the Budget by the Lords. Sir Charles B. McLaren on Local Effects of Tariff Reform. Why Old Age Pensions were Established. The Right Hon. Augustine Birrell, M.P., the Chief Secretary for Ireland, received an enthusi- astic welcome on Friday night at LlandudnOs where he delivered an important address at the Grand Theatre. A demonstration in support of the Budget had been arranged by the Llandudno Liberal Club, and, thanks in. the main to the resource and energy of the Hon. Secretary, Mr. Robert Ro- berts, the meeting was a triumph of organisa- tion. It was, of course, much more than that; but the success achieved could not possibly have been brought about but for the weeks of careful planning and the close attention to detail on the part of Mr. Roberts and his colleagues. It had been intended to hold the meeting in the large Pier Pavilion, which would have been more spacious for the occasion; but as the Pavilion was not available, recourse was had to the Grand Theatre, which, though smaller than the Pavilion, is in every respect an ideal place for the purpose. The theatre, of course, could easily have been filled by Llandudno sympath- isers olne. But the Committee, with a catholicity of spirit which does them credit, decided not to let Llandudno monopolise the meeting, and de- cided that the neighbouring towns should also have an opportunity of participating in the rare oratorial treat which was being provided. Con- sequently, facilities were given for Liberals at Colwyn Bay, Conway, and neighbouring locali- ties to obtain tickets with the minimum of trouble to themselves. THE EXPECTED SUFFRAGETTES. At the same time, the utmost caution had to be exercised in the granting of these tickets, es- pecially to lady applicants The grim shadow of the militant suffragette cast a shadow of sus- picion over everything, with the result that no ticket was granted to a lady unless her husband or her sweetheart made himself answerable for her good conduct. And even that guarantee was not alone sufficient, for in addition the local Liberal Secretary in each town had to fill in the nélime and address of the holder upon the ticket. All these formalities were rigidly insisted upon and adhered to, the organisers being determined that nothing should pe wanting on their part to obviate the possibility of Mr. Birrell being an noyed by the polite attentions of members of the Suffragist camp. But despite all these precautions public curio- sity was tickled on Friday morning by the rumour, industriously soread, that no fewer than three hundred Suffragettes had invaded Llandudno with the determination of molesting Mr. Birrell. It was, therefore, with anticom- tions of lively times that people from the surrounding district journeyed to Llandudno, and in train and tram this was the chief topic of conversation. By the time, however, that they reached Llandudno, Dame Rumour had re- duced the number of interrupters from three hundred to fifteen, with a few Scotland Yafd 1 detectives thrown in to add. piquancy to the story. But whether they numbered three hun- dred or more ar less, not one of the Suffragettes succeeded in gaining admission, with the result that for once in a way Mr. Birrell was enabled to deliver his address in peace. That he him. self had expected trouble, and that he was grate- ful to the organisers and stewards for the im- munity he enjoyed, was evident by certaiii, of his remarks at the close of the meeting. THE AUDIENCE. Seven o'clock was the time announced for the opening of the proceedings, but long before that time the theatre was crowded in every part, and too much praise cannot be bestowed upon, the stewards, of whom there was a large number, for the way in which they carried out their duties. And in many respects it was an interest- v ing audience. It was an intelligent audience. It was an enthusiastic audience. And for the most part was a young audience. Its enthusiasm showed itself on frequent occa- sion. Its intelligence was proved by the readiness with which every point in the speeches was seized, and by the restraint 1 which prevailed when opponents were named and criticised. Mr. Balfour's name was men- tioned several times, yet not once was it greeted with hissing or booing or any other mark of animosity. The dominant note of the meeting was one of calm, quiet confidence in a moment of national crisis, and this was all the more re- markable because, as we have said, the audience was for the greater part a young one. These youthful Liberals of both sexes acted with the calm demeanour of seasoned veterans who had passed through many such a crisis before and were confident of ultimate victory. During the time the large gathering were as- ,semibling and taking their seats the curtain was kept lowered. Then, just after seven o'clock, it was raised, disclosing to view a not inconsider- able audience of men and women seated on the stage. Here were representative Liberal leaders and officials from all parts of Carnarvonshire, including the Boroughs, and also from West Denbighshire. Shortly afterwards the two audi- ences rose and joined m cheering the arrival of the Chairman (Mr. Woodall), Mr. Birrell, Mr. W. Jones, M.P. (the Member of the Division), Sir Charles B. McLaren", K.C., M.P., and Lady McLaren, Mr. Francis McLaren (the youthful candidate for the Spalding Division of Lincoln- shire), Mr. Ellis W. Davies, M.P. for South Car- narvon, and other members of the Bodnant Hall party. THE SPEECHES. The cheering was renewed and was continued for sime time when the silver-haired Chair- man rose to deliver his opening speech. Throughout, North Wales, Mr. Woodall is known, and admired for his staunch ad- herence to his Liberal principles and for the in-valuable assistance which he is ren- dering to the cause' at Llandudno and in the Arfon Division. Although he spoke with diffi- culty, he held the audience from beginning to end of his somewhat lengthy address, and he fired the audience with his own enthusiasm. There was much laughter when he at- tempted to read the signatures to an ap- peal he had received for funds in aid of the Tariff Reform movement. He man aged the names of the Duke of Devonshire and Lord Ridley well enough, but there was one signature which he could not negotiate. This," he said, is a gentleman, who hasn't learnt to write," whereat the audience was set rocking with laughter. Then Mr. William, Jones whispered something in Mr. Woodall's ear. Oh," said he, I- beg the gentleman's pardon. I am informed that he is Mr. Austen Chamber- lain." The laughter at the expense of the ex- Chancellor was renewed. When Mr. Birrell rose, the audience all stcoo up, and there was a veritable tornado of cheer- ing, which was continued for some time, and then a few young men attempted-to sing For fte's a jolly good fellow," but their efforts can hardly be described as successful. When, silence having been restored Mr. Birrell commenced his address, he made a shrewd hit at their vocal failure, and amid laughter, re- marked that they would, no doubt, have done much better had they chosen The Land of my Fathers." Both the critic- ism and the compliment were so neatly ex. pressed that they put the company in excellent humour. Then, in his own charming literary way, the distinguished statesman told of his as- sociations with Llandudno how fifty years ago he played on those shores, and there was some- thing extremely beautiful in the way in which he spoke of the Great Orme, the magnificent Conway Castle, the glorious river, and the mountains and lakes be- yond," all of which he knew so well. Who knew them if not I?" he asked, and there was a thunderous cheer in response, which was changed to laughter when he referred to the harmless piers of the North Wales Coast," which added point to his subsequent allusions to peers in another place." For upwards of an hour the Chief Secretary spoke with consum- mate skill, and at one time, when he apologised for detaining his hearers so long, there were loud cries of Go on," which revealed how delighted everyone was with his speech. Mr. Birrell, as is his wont, spoke with the utmost ease, and it was a supreme pleasure to watch and to hear him. He has few platform mannerisms, though in moments of passion both hands are brought into play. For the most part a vein of sly humour ran. through the address, but at times there was a note of scorn and defiance" whicti revealed the speaker's view of the seriousness of the political situation and his determination to resist what he regarded as the unconstitutional character of the step ,suggested for the House of Lords to adopt in regard to the Budget. His compliments to the Welsh Chancellor of the Exchequer and to Mr. William Jones were phrased in a way which pleased the audience all the better for containing not one word Oil. fulsome flattery. A North Wales audience can appreciate—none better—perfection of literary expression, and so the gathering had a speaker exactly after their own hearts. To literary charm were added a personal charm and a charm of manner, with the result that the company were delighted with both the orator and his oratory. One of the best hits of the evening was made when the Chief Secretary replied to the vote of thanks proposed by Mr. William Jones. The Hon. Member spoke of the success which had attended Mr. Birrell's administration of Irish affairs, and this necessitated an allusion to co- operative agriculture in Ireland. I know," said Mr. Jones. that he is angry with me tor praising him. He prefers criticism, to praise. He is one of those who prefer brimstone to treacle!" 'In responding, Mr. Birrell quietly remarked, Mr. Jones has not given us brimstone or treadle, but be has brought us Irish butter in, a lordly Welsh dish." Needless to say, the laugh- ter and cheering at this sally were loud and long. Following Mr. Birrell came Sir C'. B. Mc- Laren, whose condemnation of Tariff Reform created a profound impression, especially when he expressed the opinion that a return to the fis- cal policy of sixty years ago would be ruinous to the North Wales resorts. Sir Charles, as the chairman of very important coal, iron, and rail- ,rm way companies, is a great financier whose words on such a subject naturally carry great weight, and his pronouncement was regarded as specially significant. Mr. Ellis W. Davies and Mr. Wm. Jones aroused great enthusiasm, and then a great ovation, was accorded to Mr. Francis Mc- Laren, who looks so very young that it was difficult to realise that he had already entered upon his political career as an adopted candi- date. This young politician, for whom Mr. Birrell predicted a great future, has a most en- gaging platform style, and his voice has in it the ring of earnestness and sincerity. The meeting was orderly and harmonious throughout. THE CHAIRMAN ON THE CRISIS. The Chairman, said that from his earliest years he seemed to have heard it proclaimed from political platforms that never in previous history had the issue before the public been more vital to the interests of this great nation than that upon which the electors had then to deter- mine. Whatever there might have been of truth or fiction in these declarations in time past, he felt convinced that there was deep truth in the statement that such a crisis was upon us now. The majority of the Upper House were making the greatest possible efforts to effect an inroad upon, the privileges of the Commons. If they should succeed in their efforts in that direction, they (the Liberal party) might say good-bye to all they hoped for from Mr. Lloyd George's Budge,t-( cheers) ,-and they would suffer con- sequential injuries from which they might not recover for a century to come. Could they sur- render the liberties they enjoyed now that had come down to them from so many generations? (" No," and cheers.) The Rev. John Raymond moved and Council- lor David Davies seconded a resolution of con- fidence in the Government and of approval of the Budget.

--Mr. Birrell defines the…

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--Mr. Birrell defines the…