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I CAPT. CLIVE, M.P., AT LEDBURY. I Enthusiastic Gathering of N.C.L. I Trenchant Speech by the Member. Another most successful gathering of the Ledbury and District Lodge of the National Conservative League was held at the New Inn Hotel last (Thursday) night, when the brethren had the felicity of welcoming the Member for the Division, Captain P A Clive, M.P., to the lodge, and hearing from him an excellent address on the political-situation. The Worthy Master of the Lodge (Bro W L Pritchett) presided 6ver a capital attendance of members. He was supported by Captain Clive, M.P., the Deputy-Master (Bro J E Craddock), Bros H Cotton (Chairman of the Executive), E Godsall. E H Pritchett, R W Haoaar, H Cowell, G H Stallard, T Calder, G M Morgan, W G Fear, G Cobb, etc., etc. At the business meeting of the lodge six new members were elected. Shortly after the opening of the proceedings, Captain Clive arrived, and was greeted with a spontaneous outburst of applause. [ THE CHAIRMAN'S REMARKS. In opening the smoking concert, which followed the business meeting of the Lodge, the Chairman said that never in the history of the lodge had they met .when the political atmosphere was in the same condition as it was to-day, when the political situation was so critical and serious, and therefore it appeared to him a most opportune time for their member to explain to them exactly the position of the political situation at the present moment. (Hear, hear.) They always gave Captain Clive, when he came to Ledbury, a very hearty welcome-(applause)-and of all the welcomes he had ever had in Ledbury he was quite sure this would be as hearty as any one of them- (applause)-because not only was Captain Clive there to tell them all about the political situa- tion but he was there to tell them that a General Election was not far away—(applause) —and that it behoved every member of the Lodge to do the utmost for the cause he had at heart, and to do all he could to return Captain Clive once again for South Herefordshire with an increased majority. (Applause.) If there .was a word of welcome he could say that would be more pleasant than any other to Captain Clive it was that they were absolutely and perfectly satisfied with the way he had represented them in the House of Commons as the Member for South Herefordshire (applause)—and thtifc they could honestly assure Captain Clive that if all the districts of South Herefordshire were as Conservative as the Led- bury district he could say the South Hereford- shire seat was the safest seat in the House of Commons. It naust be a pleasure to him to know that he had such a number. of ardent supporters. Their Lodge numbered 346 mem- bers and they had thus far initiated 31 new members. All the more credit was due to the Lodge because quite a considerable number of them once belonged to the other political party. (Applause.) They were glad to know the illuminating light of Unionism had reached so far and wide, and Ledbury to-day was more Conservative than it had ever been in the history of the town. (Applause.) He asked them to join him in welcoming Captain Clive to their Lodge. (Applause.) CAPTAIN CLIVE'S ADDRESS. I Captain Clive was accorded an enthusiastic reception on rising to address the brethren. He said he thought their Worthy Master touched the right note when he said in his speech that they probably met on as grave an occasion as any that had brought them together. They had got to the end of another portion of this Session. They had had a Session as full of exciting moments, as full of crises as perhaps any period in Parliament that ho could remember, and he was getting to the status of an old Member of Parliament, and in spite of this critical moment they must all feel they had really got no further in the solution of the Home Rule question than they were last January. That was a very grave state of affairs. They had had now for two-and-a half years a portion of Ireland, Ulster, steadily arming, steadily training, steadily organising, steadily drilling, who only the other day com- pleted their armament by one of the most perfectly organised coups brought off by any body of men. They knew these men were determined, of that there was no doubt, and when they had a section of the community thus arming, and organising, and drilling, and they had failed to settle the great question towards the settlement of which they had armed and trained, and were prepared to settle by force of arms if necessary, which it must be the earnest endeavour of all to see avoided-(hear, hear)— then the position of affairs was very serious indeed. They saw now the Nationalists arming, though he might say that he had far less faith in their power of organisation than he had in that of those hard-headed men of Ulster. Only that night he was informed by a friend that arms were being imported into the West of Ireland, either with or without the connivance of the customs. When they got two bodies arming and a PERFECTLY INCOMPETENT GOVERN- MENT such as they had now looking on and contribut- ing nothing towards the solution of the problem then indeed he thought they must agree that this talk of civil war was no mere moonshine, that it was solid fact, and possibly, awful as it was to contemplate, becoming soon a reality. What had the Government done ? Let them see how much credit they could give them. Captain Clive then went on to review the history of the Home Rule question from 1906 down to the present day at some length. He pointed out that in 1906 when the Liberals had so large a majority that they could do what they liked in the House of Commons, and they were strong enough without the Irish vote, they were not so determined about Home Rule and it was not an immediate part of their programme. Their only attempt at that time to deal with the Irish ques- tion, so long as they were independent of the Irish vote, was by the National Councils Bill, and that Bill the Irish refused and it was dropped. Then came the first General Election of 1910, when their majority was reduced by some 200, and then they became dependent on the Irish Nationalist vote, and Home Rule sud- denly assumed an importance in their eyes which even their best friends could not attribute to its merits, and which they had to realise was attributable solely to the fact of their depend- ence on 80 Irish votes, and not from any noble motive did they propose to break up that form of Government under which they had existed. for 110 years. At that time the Liberals were determined to stick to their places by any means in their power. And they passed the Parliament Act, which on paper looked a great performance. They no longer possessed a Second Chamber with the power to say to a Government that any particular question should be referred to the judgment of the people. (Applause.) That from time immemorial had been the prerogative of the House of Lords. (Hear, hear.) That power had been taken away from them and that was why they had THE PRESENT CRISIS. The Home Rule Bill had been three times before the House of Commons. Once it was rejected by the House of Commons, the second time the House of Lords threw it out, and the people confirmed the action of the Lords, and the third time the Government, by passing the Parliament Act, had taken away that power from the peopel. Now, whether the Lords accepted it or not, unless something happened in the meantime it would go to the King for his assent and would then become the law of the land. And that was why the men of Ulster felt that fehis question rested in their hands when it was likely to be passed by the sheer force of the Irish Nationalist vote, and there- fore the Ulster men, wishing to escape from that rule which they mistrubt, armed and organ- ised themselves against it. (Loud applause). What was to be the end ef it ? The Govern- ment were evidently getting nervous. They recognised that they had no force to deal with 120,000 men who were fully armed. They did to his mind a thing which was wholly improper. They began to sound officers of the Army on what they would do if they were ordered to shoot oa the men of Ulster. They had since admitted that that was an improper thing to do, so there need be no argumeut about it, and they had passed an Army Order that such a question was not to be put to an officer. It was wholly wrong that officers who were dependent upon their profession should be asked to answer a question as to what they would do if oertain difficulties arose. No more difficult problem could be set before an officer. There could be no more difficult choice for an officer to make, and for some of the Labour members, and even Radicals, to get up and say it placed before the country the choice of the Army versus the people, was the grossest mis-statement of fact, and the grossest attempt to mislead the people since they placed the Chinese bogey before them. (Applause). He must say that a more remarkable example of what the country thought of all this could not be given than the very REMARKABLE RESULT AT IPSWICH. (Loud and prolonged applause.) There they had Mr Lloyd George, breaking through the rule that a Cabinet Minister should take no part in bye-electiens, going down, and trusting to the force of his eloquence to get Mr Charles Masterman into Parliament by means of the electors of Ipswich. The Unionists were able to send down a man who stood highest in the minds of the people at the present moment, Sir Edward Carson. (Loud applause.) Mr Lloyd George said Look what I have given you, old- age pensions, the Insurance Act—(laughter)— which I and my friend Charles Masterman have given you ? Look how I have taxed the rich and given it to the poor." On the other hand they had Sir Edward Carson, not using the word I, but pointing over the sea to the men of Ulster, who were merely lfaying" We are loyal British subjects, and loyal British subjects we wish by the help of Y08 men of Ipswich to remain "(applause)--and to their lastiog honour the men of Ipswich refased the shekels of Mr Lloyd George and stoofi by the flag of Sir Edward Carson. (Loud cheers.) Some people thought they went too far in the House of Commons on Thursday last. (Laughter.) He confessed to having assisted in making that I noise-(hear, hear, fti>d applause)—by which they prevented the farce of discussion on the 3rd leading of the Home Rule Bill. He asked them to imagine the effrontery of the Prime Minister saying they hid to pass the Bill, but that was not the Bill that would become law. They asked him to tell them what the Amending Bill was. They asked to be told what it was to be. That was a matter which had been wholly withheld from them up to the present moment. The Amending Bill, if it ever saw the light of day, was fee see it first in the House of Lords. What would be done they did not know., If it did not pass they were committed to the polity which would END IN CIVIL WAR. 1 He did not believe Mr John Redmond cared. Men who could cheer defeats to British arms in South Africa must have a hatred of England, which he was afraii had not (lied down yet, and therefore would not object to a campaign agai nst the men of Ulster by the British Army on their (the Nationalists') behalf. While they express indignation that officers should suggest they would not obey orders, they insisted that that same British Army should fight their battles in Ulster. What more intolerable position could they have ? He frankly confessed he did not know what the end of it would be. They were advancing far faster than most of them in the country realised, far faster towards civil war jj~<han they thought. They coald not have a large Cody of men arming themselves and another body of men arming themselves, with a Govern- ment that was dependent on the vote of one of the parties to remain in oiffce, without giving rise to a serious position. The whole ground was prepared for an outbreak which had not occurred for 250 years..Nothing was impos- sible while this Government was in power. All they could hope for was that the Government, who undoubtedly were weakened, who were not the homogenous body they once were, would perhaps break down in some way they could not foresee, and they would have a General Election, perhaps in fchje month of July. (Cheers). He thought it was a possibility it was hard to say how it wasto come. A Govern- ment in power that was living on mis-state- ments of facts, that mis tr us is each other and the people, were not such a strong and able body as to all outward appearances they might seem, and he would ask them to be ready for an election, at any rate in the Autumn, an election he felt certain which would result in the overwhelming defeat of the Government. It would be one of the most critical elections that any of them had ever taken part in, and unless they eould defeat them by a large majority, the whole subject would be reopened. The Irish Nationalists wanted Ireland to be a nation, an independent nation, but on terms. They wanted A LITTLE MONEY IN IT. I That was where the whole thing broke down. It seemed contemptible that they should say they wanted to be a aafeion, but wanted two millions with it. If they did break out then they would lose their two millions a year, and they were not prepared to govern Ireland with- out money. The Nationalists had got this one idea before them of Home Rule, but they had shown no competence or ability in governing themselves. They hai done nothing in the House of Commons for the betterment of. Ireland, and all that had been done in that direction had been done by the Unionists and partly by the Liberals. The speaker went on to instance various Acts of Parliament, and spoke of the wonderful work of Mr Horace Plunkett, who had established one of the most excellent systems of agricultural organisation the world had ever seen, and yet a man like Mr Arthur Lynch, who fought for the Boers against England, was preferred to him as a Member of Parliament. Home Rule was the subject on which the coming election must be fought. Nothing could go ahead until this matter was settled, and he sounded a note of warning against people saying they had better give Home Rule and have done with it, as they were then only at the beginning of the difficulty, as they would leave 40 men in the House of Com- mons who would continue to agitate grievances and for more money, and they would establish a new question in Ulster which would be a-very important one. He did not suppose that the Irish question would be fully solved in their lifetime, but it was not going to be solved by Home Rule. It would be solved, he believed, by the Unionist policy, inaugurated by Mr Arthar Balfour--(loud applause)—who as Chief Secretary for Ireland was the first Chief Secretary to travel about the country and see biIlgs for himself. They had had 25 years of hat policy and he believed another 25'years of it would solve the Irish question. (Applause.) The latter portion of his speech Captain Clive devoted to the I NEW BUDGET, in regard to which he said the object of relieving the burden of the rates was pretty evident. But it was like Home Rule-they were asked to pass the Bill without knowing the Amending Bill. They were first asked to pass a Finance Bill to enable Mr Lloyd George to raise ten millions of money a year, before they were even shown the measuce which would contribute that sum to the relief of the rates. They who lived in the country towns which were wholly dependent on agriculture rfiould be particularly careful how they watched the proposals of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who made one remark which filled him (the speaker) with alarm. Mr Lloyd George had get into the way of talking about 9d —(laughter)—and he said that 9d in the £ off the rate would not be much to give the people in a town where the rates were 11s or 12s in the E. He Eaid he would give more to the towns than to the country districts. Those people who lived in the towns had larger privileges for their rate8. They got things which justified the higher rates, things which people in the country districts could not get. Rates io. the country were levied not only on buildings but on land, whicii the farmer had to pay la part, aad he believed sifter all thioy wotirdfindl that this relief would go more towards the towns and not t. thp country. One other comment he would make. It was better to tax the rich man through his luiuries than throagh his income, j whibh was divided in wages among a large num- ber of poureg people. If they taxed his laxoriea he perhaps did with less luxuries, but if they taxed his income he passed it on retail to those under hitoi, and he would pass it oa to a large number of poorer people. Tax him on his foreign motor, his foreign wines and goods to the tone of 250 millions a year which were imported into this country, and he defied anybody to prove that it was going to come back en the poor people. (Applause.) That was why he was stiii convinced that perhaps orfe of the best friends of Tariff Reform is Mr Lloyd George, because by this wholesale method of taxation he rendered Tariff Refofta more eligible than it had been before. (Loud applause.) If they held with the policy he had se? before them, that this crisis in Ulster was the greatest thing in their lifetime, he hoped that they would go on as they had been doing, inviting fresh members to join the lodge, and that they would go on disseminating the truths of Unionist policy. In ooncluding a masterly speech he appealed to them to maintain the best traditions of the Brirish flag. REMARKABLE OUTBURST OF I ENTHUSIASM. At the conclusion ef his speech Captain Clive was the recipient of a round of applause which was particularly lengthy, during which he resumed his seat after having spoke ior an hour. A hearty vote of thanks to Captain Clive for his address, proposed in exceedingly happy terms by Bro John Preece and seconded by Bro Cotton, was received with a remarkable demon- stration of enthusiasm, to the singing of Foijhe's a Jolly good fellow," and round after round of cheers, to which the hon member responded briefly, in which he made fitting allusion to the Welsh Church Bill. An excellent programme of harmoay was contributed by Bros. D Smith, jun., E W Reed, H B Whyld, G F Palmer (songs), and E J Hall (piecolo solos), Bro E W Reed being at the piano. It was a meeting that will live long in the memory of those who were fortunate enough to be present. '—— ——



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