Hide Articles List

8 articles on this Page



THE PRIMROSE LEAGUE FETE, SPEECHES BY MR. BALFOUR. If any additional proof were needed of the popularity and widespread influence of the Prim- rose League, it would have been afforded by the magnificent reception accorded to the Marchioness of Salisbury, who, as President of the Norwood Dames Habitation, last Friday night paid a visit to the Crystal Palace, accompanied by her nephew, Mr Balfour, Chief Secretary for Ireland her sons, Lord Cranborne, M.P., and Lord E. Cecil, and her daughter, Lady Gwendolen Cecil. Over twelve thousand members of the League attended, and the result was an unqualified success. As the -time approached for Lady- Salisbury's arrival, people began to gather into the transept, wbich waaalready lighted by brilliantly-variegated -lampti, extending far down the southern nave, and presenting a very picturesque appearance. Speedily thie transept and the Handel orchestra filled, with the exception of the front, which was reserved for the guests of the evening, and which was adorned by banks of flowers, the great mass of which was clustered round a fine bust in terra-cotta of Lord Beaconsfield. All round the great semi-circle was a cordon of banners. Lady Salisbury and her party were received on their arrival by Mrs Henshaw-Russell, Dame President of the Norwood Dames Habitation, and Mr R. Gofton Salmond, Ruling Councillor of the Crystal Palace Habitation, and was conducted by them to the Alhambra Court, where a Primrose page, Master Kenneth Gofton-Salmond, presented her Ladyship with a bouquet of Princess of Teck begonias, for which the Marchioness returned thanks. Announced by a flourish of trumpets, the procession passed up the north nave to the orchestra, where Lady Salisbury was received with loud cheers from the company, the Crystal Palace band at the same time playing a triumphal march, after which the entire audience sang Rule Britannia," led by the Beresford-Hope Choir. Mr Gofton-Salmond presented to Lady Salisbury a book of addresses from a large number of Primrose League Habitations. Mr Balfour, on rising to reply on behalf of the Marchioness of Salisbury, was received with load cheers. He said-My Lords, ladies, and gentlemen,—I come before you to-night to thank you and to thank all the members of the Primrose League for the addresses which you have just delivered to Lady Salisbury. The task of thank- ing you falls to my lot to-night, because, unfor- tunately, Lord Salisbury was not able to be present. I would that he had been with us (cheers) on this occasion, not merely because the duty that I have to perform would come better from him, but because I could wish him to have seen and to be present at this magnificent gather- ing (cheers). 1 flatter myself that I have a not inconsiderable experience of public meetings in this country. Never have I seen, never has it been my good fortune to address a more magni- ficent assembly than I speak to on the present occasion. If this be a specimen of what the Primrose League can do, I am not surprised at the abuse which it meets with from our enemies (laughter, and hear, hear). I do not believe that during the long history of political organisations in this or in any other country anything at all corresponding with the Primrose League, in magnitude or in character, has ever been estab- lished (cheers). Here we have, for the first time, an association drawn from every class of the com- munity, embracing every interest, representing every one of her Majesty's subjects, in which men and women alike join their forces together in order to support the great institutions of the country (cheers). And it seems to me as if this great organisation had sprung into being just at the moment when it was most required. Now, for the first time in the history of England, we see the honour and the safety and the unity of the Empire no longer in the keeping of both great Parties in the State, but voluntarily and wilfully surrendered by one of those Parties, and haadsd ovec to the keeping of the other Party alone (cheers). The Conservative and Unionist Party in England (cheers), and the Primrose League, which bears so large a part of the political burden in the Conservative Party of this day, will not be found unequal to the task thus thrown upon them (cheers;. On behalf of Lady Salisbury, I tender you sincerest thanks for the manner in which you have received her to-night, and for the addresses which you have presented to her (loud cheers, during which the right hon. gentleman resumed his seat). 1 O. J m KJVIUUVI oaunuerson, ivt. r., then proposed the following resolution That this meeting ex- presses its unabated confidence in Lord Salisbury's Government, and recognises with the utmost satisfaction the loyal support accorded to it by all sections of the Unionist Party." In doing so he alluded to Ireland, and contended that the Government had maintained those foundations upon which alone the prosperity of Ireland or any other country could exist (cheers). They had maintained in Ireland the authority and the It integrity of the law (hear, hear). They were accused by their opponents of trampling on the liberties of Irish people; but they had only trampled upon the liberties of those Irishmen who claimed to murder other Irishmen. They had trampled upon the liberty of those Irishmen who claimed to interfere with their neighbours j but as for interfering with the political liberty of Irishmen, he defied any of their opponents to show one single instance where the Government had interfered in the slightest degree with any rightful liberty enjoyed by any Irishman (cheers). All the Parliaments in the world could never force the Loyalists in Ireland to belong to any other nation but England. To bow to the authority of Mr Parnell and his friends was a position of degradation, which they for a moment would never consent to occupy (loud cheers). Mr Kenyon-Slaney, M.P., seconded the resolu- tion. The resolution was then put to the meeting, and carried amidst the utmost enthusiasm. Mr Balfour, in reply, said-My Lords, ladies, and gentlemen, I have already addressed you once to-night; but I cannot sit silent and hear a resolution proposed in speeches like those of my friends Colonel Saunderson and Colonel Kenyon- Slaney, and responded to by such a meeting as this-without some words of thanks on behalf of my colleagues and myself. I must not detain you to-night, as I understand that there is to be a hypnotic performance, in which all those who address you to-night will hear their speeches repeated to them by a gentleman in a state of trance. I have often been called to task for observations which have fallen from mein public; I have often had reason to repent of rash sallies of rhetoric but I cannot conceive a more painful method of bringing home to an orator his own shortcomings than that of reproducing him to himself half an hour after he has spoken (laughter). In order that my sufferings may be reduced to the smallest possible limit, I will com- press my observations to you on the present occasions to little more than a few words of thanks. Let me only say that if and in so far as her Majesty's Government have enjoyed any I measure of success in carrying out the great work entrusted to them, that suceess has been due, and has been due completely, to the cordial and enthusiastic support which they have received, in good times and in evil times, both from the Conservative and the Unionist Parties which sit in the House of Commons, and from the great mass of the Unionist electors in the country (loud cheers). Under such conditions the task of government becomes comparatively pleasant; and it is in the belief that we still enjoy the confi- dence which has been experienced by the two speakers this evening that we go forward with the task entrusted to us (cheers). That we shall be able to bring that task to a successful termination I cannot doubt. Our opponents show visible signs of disorganisation and disintegration. They belong by tradition to different Parties: they hold different opinions; they obey different leaders; they work through different organisa- tions, and all these elements of difference and disunion are making themselves apparent in their ranks; and neither in the House of Commons nor in England, nor in Scotland, nor in Ireland' do we see arrayed against us a united opposition front, but we see simply the horde of a disinte- grated army, owning no common leader, obeying no common words of command, and, therefore neither formidable in attack nor powerful in defence (cheers). It under these circumstances we fail at the next election, the failure will be due to us and to our laxity of effort; but if we are united amongst ourselves, if we keep cor j organisation efficilpt, if we keep before us above, all the great principles to which we are all pledged, how can we be of so little faith as to doubt that at the next election, and for ever after, the cause of patriotism and of truth and of on sense will filially prevail ? (loud cheers). The proceedings closed about eleven o'clock by the singing of the National Anthem.



[No title]


[No title]


[No title]