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EXIT SIR JOHN. Sir J. D. Rees is to relinquish his repre- sentation of the Montgomery Borough. On personal grounds many will regret his decision. Few can be surprised. It is but the inevitable evolution of a political mind fastened to circumstances which restricted the scope of its independence. Sir John is confessedly an indifferent party man." My fellow countrymen/' he says, are my constituents." Hence the difficulty of adapt- ing his singular open mindedness to the principles and policies of Liberalism. Occa- sional dashes of Liberal waywardness we ascribed to the judicial habit, and to his particular conception of things born of administrative experience in other countries and under quite different conditions. His personality reflected the exotic it ap- peared absolutely unrelated to the emotion- al race from which he sprung-sentiment he has repeatedly declared is the sworn foe ef business"—and this alien manner ac- counted for the difficulty he felt in ingra- tiating himself even with the Liberals of these Boroughs until riper acquaintance produced a mutual understanding. But these considerations apart, Sir John was never a robust Liberal. He struggled to be one and failed. His memorable Welshpool deliverance showed a disquieting instability on the principle of Free Trade, a loveless attachment to a party of progressive Social- ism, and a marked degree of respect for the House of Lords, which his constituents by no means appreciated. These striking de- partures from party principles brought him to book, and his explanations, which protested a misconception of his real meaning, only partially assuaged the very natural feelings of disappointment with the representative of an advanced Liberal constituency. He had disturbed the Liberal confidence, and it is not too much to say that his victory in January last was due more to party loyalty than to a liking for his somewhat shaky hold of Liberal policy. The constituency will welcome the opportunity at this election of fighting for the return of a candidate in fuller sympathy with its views and aspirations. We are grateful to Sir John for the fidelity with which he discharged his Parliamentary duties, and the various Boroughs are ap- preciative of the personal attention he so willingly gave to the advancement of their particular interests. Let us now proceed to a consideration of the reasons given by the Borough Member for his retirement. Never an admirer of Mr Uoyd George, nor a professed disciple of his democratic doctrines, Sir John now pours the vials of his scorn upon the Welsh Chancellor. This will, doubtless, bring him redief while hurting nobody.. Our Member was always most oratorically brilliant in oafitigation, and least inspiring in the treatment of questions upon which his countrymen are enthusiastic. We prefer to pass by this personal detraction with the single remark that it is hardly worthy of the retiring member. Sir John's main reason for deserting the Liberal party is his assumption that a single Chamber and a Home Rule election is to be rushed." Upon what does he found this assumption ? Oan he justify it by the utterance of any Liberal leader ? Is it warranted by any semblance of suggestion in the Veto Reso- lutions ? On the contrary, is it not an established fact, known to every intelligent person, that no thought of abolishing the Second Chamber has ever been entertained or expressed by responsible members of the Liberal party ? The Irish members will, of course, demand Home Rule, as they have done at every successive election, but the idea of a single chamber election is a mere phantasy of Sir John's imagination. The suggestion is neither just to his own intel- ligence nor generous to the Prime Minister. On the question of the House of Lords, Sir John has somersaulted completely. A House which has "played an honourably part in the history of our country should not, he declares, "be prevented from re- ferring a Finance Bill to the country, for it is evident that a Budget may be packed with politics, or may for other reasons be such as the electors should expressly approve." Let us turn to Sir John's election address with which he courted the confidence of these Boroughs in January last. Therein we read that he regrets the rejection of the Budget as a violent departure from well- established precedent, whereby the financial supremacy of the House of Commons is over- thrown. I regard the present claim of the House of Lords to be wholly at variance with the spirit of the Constitution,. and consider that a reform of the Second Chamber is an imperative necessity." If he had added but I cannot trust this re- form to the Liberal party," he would have to-day saved himself the trouble of tender- ing his resignation. What he now regards as a reasonable claim he denounced as H sophistry to his constituents, and volun- teered to "fight it to the death." "I am for untaxed food," he concluded in that address, "religious equality, social reform, and the constitutional position of the House of Commons." If he had explained that his conception of social reform was opposed to that of Mr Lloyd George, he would have spared us the unrequited trouble of voting ier him. "This has been a great triumph for Free Trade it has also been a great vindication of the rights of the House of Commons we Are not to have our food taxed." These were the shouts of Sir John, the victor, from a balcony in Newtown, in answer to the cheers of his loyal supporters. Where does he stand to-day in regard to the rights of the Commons, to Free Trade, to Welsh Disestablishment ? He has turned his back upon them all. Although repudiating Free Trade as a heaven-sent system, he regarded it as the best suited to our exceptional con- ditions. Now he would experiment by cautious gradual taxation of manufactures, and by giving reciprocal preference to our Colonies, without, however, raising the price of food for the masses," believing em- ployment to be more important than cheap- ness. What an astonishing transformation of attitude in the short time that has elapsed since last election! Defending his Welfihpool speech-which he said had been mirted-he repeatedly affirmed the view that Free Trade was essential to the commercial prosperity of this country, whatever benefits it gave to others; he opposed Tariff Reform chiefly because it could not be adopted without a protective tax upon agricultural products, which would mean dearer bread, and, to quote his own words, he had told his Tariff Reform friends that he could not see how their policy would wash." As for increased em- ployment under Protection, he scouted that idea in his election address, which stated: "I cannot consent to a certain increase in the cost of the necessaries of life, in exchange for which the consumer is offered the vague promise of more certain employ- ment, which both theory and experience disprove." Where now, too, is his vaunted enthusi- asm for Welsh Disestablishment, in the cause of which he never allowed us to for- get that thrice he voted against the Govern- ment in order to protest the desire of Welshmen for that long delayed measure ? Favoured by the ballot, he even ventured to force Welsh Disestablishment upon the House against its rules. He was all for equality in the sphere for religion" out of the conviction that it was as important as equality before the law," and promised that if elected he would adhere to the same policy." Recall his words: "I con- tinue to think that the Free Churches should occupy in no respect a position of inferiority as compared with that of the Established Church in Wales." But now his ill-restrained ardour for religious equal- ity in Wales has been damped by the re- port of the Welsh Church Commission. His views are under reconstruction. What remains to be said of our Mem- ber's renunciations ? Following upon the party inquiry into his disquieting speech at Welshpool, we wrote that If from these great causes there was any attempted re- trogression on the part of the Borough Member we should instantly assail him. Mr Rees has fully assured us of his un- swerving attachment to Liberalism and of his fixity of faith in Free Trade, and there- fore he is reasonably entitled to claim our continued confidence and support. But we must give him plainly to understand that in these Boroughs the slightest wobbling on Free Trade or divergence from distinct Liberal principles will not be permitted." That assurance has not long endured, and now we bid him good-bye.