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Free Trade at Barry. o


Free Trade at Barry. o Speech by Mr. F. H. Lambert, J.P., of Penarth. LEAGUE FORMED IN THE DISTRICT On Thursday evening in last week, not- withstanding numerous counter attractions, there was a fairly large attendance at a public meeting held under the au-spices of Penarth Free Trade League at the Masonic Hall. Mr W. Graham, Barry Island, pre- sided, and was supported on the platform by Mr F. H. Lambert, J.P., Penarth, the well- known authority on the fiscal system, Coun- cillor W. R. Lee, and Dr W. Lloyd Edwards. The audience were each presented with a booklet containing Mr D. Lloyd George's and the Colonial Premiers' speeches on the question of preference, and other statistics of an interesting character relating to trade being also circulated, thanks to the 1,4 generosity of Mr Lambert and the Manches- ter Free Trade Union. Mr Graham, in his opening remarks, said that since the General Election there had been a little quietness in regard to the ques- tion, but lately there had been a recrudes- cence of the agitation for tariff reform. Even that night at Birmingham, Mr Balfour—(a laugh)—whose attitude had annoyed his friends, and mystified his opponents, was perhaps, crossing the rubicon. (Laughter). They had on the one hand a large body of able men, who both in experience and wis- dom, formed the cream of the country, and who told them that for this nation to aban- don Free Trade and adopt the principle of tariff reform would be disastrous to the country :-that it would be committing suicide in a commercial sense was to commit j suicide in every other sense, for we are still a nation of shopkeepers. (Cheers). On the other hand, there were those who saw in tariff reform a panacea for every ill. Both these parties were in sharp conflict, and both were honest. Then there were those who sailed between the two and desired prefer- ence. The privilege of advancing arguments in favour of Free Trade belonged at that meeting to Mr Lambert, a gentleman who had a great claim on the Free Traders of Barry. (Cheers). Politically a Unionist, yet so strong were his feelings and convic- tions upon this question that owing to the philandering attitude of many of his friends on this question, he found it necessary to leave them. (Cheers). Mr Lambert also had a claim on the working-men of that town, because, as a shipowner-the member of a very large firm—on many occasions during the last few years, he had, like a sensible man, sent his ships to be repaired at Barry. (Cheers). SPEECH BY MR. LAMBERT. Mr F. H. Lambert, who was well received, dealt at the outset in a lucid and able manner with the fundamental points of difference be- tween Free Trade and Tariff Reform. It might be generally accepted that on# of the objects they least desired to tax was corn, yet this was the:one thing that Tariff Reformers wanted to do. As far as ho was concerned he would say Tax it and then everyone would be concerned in taking it off. Opponents of Free Trade said I I We have not Free Trade. All we have are free imports, and it is obviously unfair for them to tax our goods if we do not tax theirs in return The answer to that in plain terms was that W have tried it, and it didn't pay. While admitting the folly of the restrictions imposed by foreigners upon our good, there were only two alternatives :—either to meet them with hostile tariffs or continue the present system of free imperts. This country had Protection up to 1842, find there was a tax on no fewer than 1500 articles—far more than the most ardent tariff reformer would dare suggest to-day. At that time our imports were most disappointing, and in 1846 the abolition of the duty on corn resulted in the imports and exports increasing to such an enormous extent that last year our exports alone amounted to S375,000,000, of which Y,305,060,000 were manufactured goods. (Cheers). Taking ship-building and ship- repairing as an example of trade development, Free Trade had been the means of maintaining the position of Great Britain as better than that of Germany and America together, and if ever those countries adopted Free Trade they would only then be able to challenge our supremacy. (Cheers). Referring to the object of the meeting, Mr Lambert said that at Penarth there were no Tariff Reformers to contest the question with the Free Trade League, while, heaiing that there were a few at Barry-(A Voice' Not many' and laughter)—he had come down to see if a Free Trade League could not be formed here. (Cheers). They bad been fortunate in finding a secretary for them in Mr Herbert, of Camn-street, and several local gentlemen had consented to act on the committee. It was just possible that the present trade boom might r be succeeded by depression, and that would be the time for Free Traders to become active, for having Tariff Reform it would be difficult to go back to Free Trade. Ouce they abandoned the principle of levying taxation for revenue pur- poses only, then heaven help them There was no instance of a country, except Great Britain, which had bsen able to free itself from Protection, and even in our case it required the evil conditions of the times to do it, when millions of people were ou the verge of star- vation. The conditions were too severe to bear Protection, and trade harriers were removed, never, he earnestly hoped, to be again restored. (Cheers). QuestionR were invited, and in the course of a free interchange of opinion, Mr Lambert explained in an interesting and lucid manner the system of money exchange between this and foreign countries, and said that from the latest available returns England imported 51 millions sterling, and exported in the same period 45 millions. (Cheers). On the motion of Councillor W. R. Lee, seconded in an entertaining and convincing speech by Dr W. Lloyd Edwards, Mr Lambert was heartily thanked for his address, and a branch of the League was subsequently formed for Barry.




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