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RADICALISM AT FRODSHAM. LORD CREWE ON THE CRISIS. MR. HALDANE AND HOME RULE. lBY OUR OWN REPORTER.] A demonstration under the auspices of the Eddisbury Liberal Association was held in the Drill Hall, Frodsham, on Saturday evening. The Earl of Crewe presided over a crowded gathering, and was supported on the platform by the Right Hon. R. B. Haldane, K.C., M.P., the Hon. A. Lyulph Stanley (adopted Radical candidate for Eddisbury), Sir John Brunner, Bart, M.P., the Rev. W. H. Moseley, the Rev. S. Waterhouse, Messrs. S. Moss, M.P., J. J. Crosfield, A. R. Norman, Francis Boston, T. A. Rigby, J. S. Mois, E. Rhodes, J. B. Isaac, C. S. Bate, Percy Carter, G. S. Frith, James Pritchard (Runcorn), T. Earlam, J. G. Brandreth, W. D. Ringroee, F. Blain, R. A. Chrimes, Peter Booth, R. Proud, J. H. Davies, J. Norcross, T. Sansom, W. Little- more, E. Alderman, S. Woodward and W. D. Woodall (joint organising secretaries), and others. Lord Crewe, in opening the proceedings, an- nounced a telegram ironi Mr. Herbert Gladstone eg follows:—" best wishes for the .success of your meeting and your candidate. Government in a most pitiable condition." His lordship said all eyes were fixed at the present moment upon the struggle which waa now taking place, accom- panied by a good deal of scuffling which was hardly intelligible, between the different, sections of the Government. One fact that stood out clearly was that the country demanded and meant to have an early dissolution of Parliament. The country would not now be satisfied with the mere resignation of the Government; what was demanded was that the sense of the country should be taken, and that those should be re- turned to power who really represented the feel- ings of the country. The crisis had arisen, as it was bound to arise, out of the characters of the men most prominent in the recent Fiscal agita- tion. Mr. Chamberlain was conducting his cam- paign on the lines that he had conducted his previous campaigns. In the well-known phrase of the French Revolution, he was the man who said, "Swear eternal brotherhood with me, or I will break your head." (Laughter.) The character of Mr. Balfour was also involved. Mr. Balfour had succeeded for an almost impossible time in ap- parently holding diametrically opposite opinions on the most important subjects of the day; but he had broken down at last, and that was how the present crisis had arisen. Among those who were to blame that the present position had lasted as long as it had were, first and foremost, the more moderate members of the Conservative party. Those who looked with dread and dislike on Mr. Chamberlain's campaign might have brought the matter to a very clear issue long ago. Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Balfour were going to be had up as culprits before that bench on which John Bull sat as magistrate; but the charge brought against these two gentlemen would not be the same. The charge against Mr. Balfour would be for obstructing the traffic on the high- way the charge against Mr. Chamberlain would be for driving to the common danger. (Laugh- ter.) Neither of those gentlemen could plead for the benefit of the First Offenders Act. For years past Mr. Balfour's cart had been obstructing t/ie road. while Mr. Chamberlain had ever since he entered political life been rampaging about the highways and byeways to the terror of pcacc- ab'e citizens, who walked along them. (Laughter.) Above all other charges, a charge would be brought against not only those two penile men, but against the whole Government, of reckless extravagance. They had spent t ie country s money like water, for It was not the war expendi- ture to which they objected, but the peace ^"The'Right Hon. R. B. Haldane, the principal speaker, referred at the outset to the impend ng dissolution, and urged that the political cris s had arisen through Mr. Balfour's failure to put bofope t'he country his policy in definite and unmis- takable language. A statesman, he said, might be bound for the moment to be obscurcd. It might not be expedient that he should say yes or no upon some delicate question about foreign affairs which might, involve the nation but on a broad and vital issue of domestic policy, where the only reason for silence was to hold hip party together, the nation would never forgive the man who for two and a half years did not say yc-s or no because he was confronted with a powerful leader of a split in his party. This great issue before the country was whether we were to abandon our Free Trade policy, and on that issue they wanted the judgment of the nation. We must know distinctly the lines upon which we were to conduct our trade and commerce. No graver issue had been brought before the nation for many a year. Liberal statesmen might devise policies, but unless the nation gave the Liberal party an enthusiastic impulse and a large majority it was not. possible for that party to do much in the way of constructive legislation. What it could attempt depended upon its strength, and what its strength turned out to be depended on the voices of the electors. Therefore, to his mind, it was vital that the Liberal party should not frame its policy until first it knew what electoral strength was behind it. The General Election would be taken upon the broad issue before the country at the present moment, but it was essential if good was to be done that the Liberal party should have in their rrunds some clear con- ception of how they intended to set to wck in the event of their obtaining a majority. There were many people who talked as if the Liberal party had nothing to do but to obtain a majority and set to work. Unfortunately the situation -was very different from that. l'n almost every quarter of the political horizon there were signs of trouble. For the moment foreign affairs were ,quiet. Lord Lansdowne, who was a moderate .and reasonable statesman, had fortunately in- fluenced a policy over which they could have a warm sense of the desirability of making it con- tinuous. (Hear, .hear.) Proceeding, Mr. Haldane said there was no greater delusion than that they could leave THE IRISH PROBLEM out of sight. (Hear, hear.) He had said before what was his deliberate conviction, and he would repeat it—that we understood the Irish very little, and they understood us very little. In Ireland one found himself almost in a foreign country, 60 different was the outlook as regarded politics there; and yet that country sent over a hundred representatives to the Parliament at Westminster. They might say with great force that it was impossible to bring any large and sweeping organic changes within the purview of the next Parliament. The matter had not been argued out. They were under obligations of good faith to the electorate, and those obligations would prevent any attempt at very extensive measures of establishing an independent Parlia- ment, or even a statutory Parliament—an execu- tive upon a large footing. But there was another reason besides good faith why they could not do that. If any such Bill were brought in it would be said, and with great force, "You ought to have argued this out for years past as you did before the Bill of 1893, and as you have not done so it is not the business of Parliament- to consent to its passage." And the House of Lords would in- evitably reject. the Bill with more show of consti- tutional ground than that body sometimes had at its back. Those reasons seemed to be fatal to any attempt to deal on a large scale with the legislative relations between Ireland and this country; but they were not reasons which in the least degree affected what ought to be their general attitude towards the Irish question. There were some who after much study came to the conclusion that it was not possible for this country satisfactorily to govern Ireland when the question was raised more than ten years ago. Speaking for himself, that conviction had not altered. In the end it would come to control by the Irish of those domestic affairs which con- cerned them and not us. (Applause.) What he wished to emphasise was that they had to educate the people to that view, and that they could only educate them by getting a certain co-operation on the part of the Irish leaders themselves upon the subicot. It was a question of confidence. Did any, sane person who knew politics doubt that if there had been greater eonfidcnce on the part of the people over here in the way in which the people of Ireland would use the powers which their leaders asked to be entrusted to them, -the Irish people would have had Home Rule by this c time? He did not doubt, it. It. was only a ques- tion of the Irish coming to understand us a little better, just as we had to understand them; then by degrees the people would become oonvinced that the wise and liberal course was to place re- sponsibility where power virtually was, and so to leave the people of Ireland to educate themselves in the administration of their own affairs. That was an object which lay beyond the next Parlia- ment, but an object which ought to guide their policy in the interim. There was a vast- amount of work to be done in Ireland if only they were allowed to do it. At present it was governed in the interests and under the domination of a small clique. (Hear, hear.) Should the Liberals come into power the first thing the people of this country had to do was to insist that the govern- ment of Ireland was, in Lincoln's favourite phrase, for the people, through the people, by the people. (Applause.) If they could not do that .directly, they could do it indirectly. They could see to it that the voice of the majority prevailed in the administration of affairs as they were carried on at the present time at Dublin Castle; that those large industrial and economic ques- tions. which were more and more taking up the attention of the people of Ireland, were matters in which the Government and the people were co- operating. The Irish question was certain to bulk very largely on the political horizon if a Liberal Government came into office. In the remainder of his speech Mr. Haldane dealt at some length with the Education Act, the land question and the unemployed. Sir John Brunner moved a resolution of confi- dence in Mr. Haldane and his colleagues, and condemnation of the legislation of the Govern- ment and the threatened departure from the national policy of Free Trade. He urged that it ww for the benefit of the country at large that our commerce should be as free and unhampered as we could possibly make it. It was in the matter of personal liberty, in the first instance, that he was an upholder of Free Trade. The tin- plate trade, which Mr. Chamberlain said some two years ago was either going or gone, had since been more prosperous than it was ever known to be before. Those who were buyers of iron and steel knew that during the last few weeks those goods had enormously enhanced in price. Only that day he read in the "Times" that the hosiery trade of Leicester was now completely revolu- tionised, the demand being greater than the manufacturers could supply. So they would find everywhere throughout the country that people in business were slowly recovering from the effeota of Mr. Chamberlain's war. In some matters we had not yet recovered from the war. We had in our prisons to-day a larger number of people than we had had for a great many years past. On the 1st of January last there were no fewer than 103,000 more people in receipt of poor relief than there were on the 1st of January, 1901. That war was described as. a feather in Mr. Chamberlain's cap. He thanked God that he had no share of responsibility for the increase of the number of people in prison and those who were subjected to the shame of contact with the poor-law. He remembered well how Sir Edward Ciarke cross-examined Mr. Chamberlain in the House of Commons, and dragged from him the admission that President Kruger had given way as to nine-tenths of his demands, and that it was for the one-tenth (the subject of votes to the out- landers) that we went to war. Two hundred and thirty millions sterling had Mr. Chamberlain's policy taken out of their pockets, and not a blessed vote had an outlander got to-day. If they allowed themselves to be misled by Mr. Chamberlain again, he declared there was no pun- ishment that could be invented which was too bad for such dunderheads as they would be. No moip stupid idea had ever been invented than that we could make any set of people in the world pay our taxes for us. Mr. S. Moss, M.P., and Mr. A. Stanley supported the resolution. A vote of thanks was passed to the chairman on the proposition of Mr. J. J. Oroafield.


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