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CHRISTMASTIDE.

RADICAL MEETING AT CHESTER.

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RADICAL MEETING AT CHESTER. MR. HERBERT GLADSTONE ON FISCAL POLICY. CRITICISM OF MR. CHAMBERLAIN. A well-attended Radical meeting was held in Chester Music Hall on Monday evening in support of the candidature of Mr Alfred Mond for Chester. Mr. James G Frost presided, and the attendance included Mr. Herbert Gladstone, M.P., and Mrs. Gladstono, Sir Edward and Lady Russell, Mr. James Tomkinson, M.P., Mr. Ellis J. Griffith, M P.. Mr. Saml. Moss, M P., Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Mond, Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Lover, Mr. and Mrs. J. Allan Bright, Mr. Howell Idris, Mr. Edward Evans, junr., Mr. A. C. Humphreys Owen, &c. Air. Herbert Gladstone, who was received with loud cheers, said it was a duty to strengthen the hands of the Opposition, and far more to strengthen the Opposition in their efforts to maintain Free Trade. They were there in support of the candi- dature «f Mr. Mond, who, he was sure, would prove a candidate worthy of their confidence. (Applause). They were in a peculiar position, oec&u^e me sitting member, Mr. Yerburgh, had taken a line of his own on the fiscal q uestioll which did him great honour (applause), and many people might ask why should two Free Trailers oppose each otner. But Liberals were in a peculiar position, because it was clear that when Liberal candidates offered their services to a constituency they had to formu- late a policy. The pol cy of Free Trade was right and good, and if, as he believed, a great. majority of lrrootrader were returned to the House of Commons at the next ge,nerai election, they would be expected to carry out the verdict of tho coun- try, and they would have to carry it out in the d "rection desired by those who had sent there, to the House. Under those circumstance? they must say that they could not aonept tho Education Act as it stood. It was an Act forced upon tho coun- try, without consultation with Liberals or with Nonconformists. (Applause.) Liberals were compelled at the present juncture to ask where was the Prime Minister. The country was in the greatest turmoil over the great fiscal question, and it had been handed over apparently to Mr. Chamberlain. Not long ago Mr. Balfour told us that  that he wag the that he was Prime Minister, that he was the leader, and that lie intended 10 lead. ^augnter.j He (Mr. Gladstone) could net help remembering a picture in Punch some year* ago, which re- presented a gigantic fenude armed with a heavy broomsti'C-k, and stand ng over a I)ed, uiiclor which crouched the very small figure of her husband, I Come- out, Jimmy," sh& said. I will not, Maria," was the reply; "I will bo master in my own house." (Laughter and applause.) That at the present time represented tho be- tween Mr. Chamberlan and Mr. Balfour. (Ap- plause.) Free Trade had, in the main contri- buted to the great and astonishing wealth of this country, and Free traders maintained that this country acted as the agents, as tho bankers, as tne shippers, as the middlemen, so to speak, of a groat part of the world. Protection, or a system of preferential tar-Ss, would diminish imports, and by diminishing imports would diminish ex- ports, would diminish employment, and reduce wages. The que-tion of Free Trade required the closest study and reflection, and ought not to be treated with the language of the prize. ring. No man was competent to speak on it without long and anxious study, and without the advice of numerous experts skilled in the various branohes of the trade of the country. We must be guided by those who had studied he question. (Applause.) Mr. Ohamberlain called Free traders Little Eng- land'ers and Pro-Boers, and tr.ed to identify Pro- tection with patriotism. He implied that Free- traders were all knaves or fools. Mr. Chamber- lain, for 25 years of his political life, wag one of the most oonvinoed and outspoken of Free-traders, and he (Mr. Gladstone) thought with pain and grief of the horror and contempt with which Mr. Chamberlain himself must regard three fourths of his political existence. Alluding to the Govern- ment inquiry, Mr. Gladstone said the whole of the material was found to be on the side of Free Trade. The inquiry oomol dited the position of Free Traders, and made it c earer than ever that though Free Trade might not be a perfeot sys- tem, yet it was by far the best system available to us, and enabled this great country to get through a period of difficulty and danger in a far better way ihan any system that could be devisod. He (Mr. Gladstone) would not aoeept as gospel the hasty and inaccuraio statements that Mr. Chamberlain put forward, his perversions of his- tory, and his fallacious figures, for the purpo-o of shewing himself to be in the right and overybody else in the wrong. If Protection enme back to this country, he would not say they would be near civil war, but it would make civil war once more perhaps possible. If the members of Mr. Chamberlain's caucus committee at Birmingham wandered about Yorkshire and Lancashire trying to find out which trade wanted Protection t,pd- which did not, these men would require polioo protection, and their office would be comparable only to the office of referee at a, football match. Ho (Mr. Gladstone) had endeavoured to point Gut to them that Mr. Chamberlain wa; not a heaven- sent authority. Mr. Chamberlain was not en- titled to the position he claimed, either by his own record or his own business record. His case h,id been riddled in argument. He dare not in tho House of Commons, repeat a great number of his statements, which had been absolutely pulverised by speakers on the other side. There was no half-way house in this matter. The flimsy sheHor Mr. Balfour had put up was a makeshift, and a sort of temporary shelter for a passing shower about which there was nothing solid. Were they going to give Mr. Chamberlain a blank cheque, and were they going to throw into the melting pot the intrioate and d ffi: ult methods of conduct- ing their fiscal, their oommercial, and their manu- facturing business? If they did, he said they would live to rue the day, and he did not believe they would do it. (Applause.) Mr. Alfred Mond remarked that Mr. Chamber- lain had usurped tho position of party leader, and had now usurped the privileges? of the Sovereign, having appointed a commission to be final judge J of the tariff which he h?ped to present to the Hou'se of Commons. He protested as an English monu- facturer against Mr. Chamberlain's hole-and- corner commission, and asked whether he ex- pected him (the speaker) to lay his bu^'ness secrets before a rival. The promises Mr. Chamberlain had made before he had not carried out, and his present promises would end .n the same way. He would advise the workingman to get the promise of higher wages from their own employers be- fore they believed Mr. Chamberlain. (Applause.) Mr. Chamberlain had pledged his honour that his proposals would not increase the cost of liv- ing, and this was not a question of honcnr but of arithmetic. (Applause.) He would not support a ohor?ie whc'h wouid lay an extra penny UDOn hard workingmen %nd ',heir families. The promised red uotions of the tax6g on ,oa and sugar they were already entitled to, as they were war taxes. (Applause.) The Liberal Budget would remit the war taxes. and it would relieve work- ingmen of nearly 4d. a week taxation without adding one penny to the pre-ent taxation on food. If the foreigner was going to pay the duties why make them so small? He agreed with Mr. Felix Schuster that to discuss the question of who paid import duties was to accuse an audience of wa,M of intelligence. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Chamberlain seemed to admire the political methods of America, but he hoped they would not be copied here. In the United States it was calculated that 1,000,000 people benefited by Protection, and! the EJtbør 79.000,000 paid for it. (Laughter and applause.) Mr. Chamberlain accused others of being Little Eng-landers, but he was the greatest of them him- self. Like a modern Jeremiah he {'asts é\Wf'3 on his head, and lamented dead or dying industries. (Applause.) He saw no prosperity but shut down furnaces on all hands. He did not inquire into the reasons why industries had been unsuccessful, but promised that Protection would stop all that sort of thing. They did not want his terrifying tit-b ts for timid Tories or his preferential pills for pale politicians, or any other quaek Birming- ham remedies for imaginary diseassi. (Laughter and applause.) John Bull might be a. little lethargic and stout, but he was sound in wind and limb, and, did not want the crutch of Pro- tection. Protectioniot,; profes<;2d to be anxious to 'get the labourer back to the land, but it would be in the old position as serfs. Liberals wanted to see them back on their own land. (Applause.) The r:diculous system of land laws required re- form. Were they satisfied with the Education Act? (Voices: "J\o.") Were they satisfied witJi their educational system? He said "No." Only t-he other day h& met- a most distinguished f For who had recently returned from America, where he had been on a commission to inquire into education, and t,he professor told him that America was far ahead of England as far a.s secondary education was concerned. 140, (Mr. Mond) would never be satisfied until they had a better system of education. They also wanted better hind laws, better drink laws, and better distribution of taxation, and if he had the honour of representing that ancient town—to which his curliest recollections, dated back as far as 187?— in the House of Commons these wero the ideas he should loyally advocate if they sent him there. (Applause.) On the proposition of Sir Edward Russell, rcoonded by Mr. Ellis Griffith, a vote of thanks was accorded Mr. Gladstn" aud on tits motion of Mr. Lever, seconded by Mr. Idris, a. similar compliment was paid to the Chairman. Mr. Idris rcmarked that that political meeting reminded him of the real, good time they had in Chester three years ago. It was a short time, and an unsuccessful time, but still it was a real, good time. The election in Chester went wrong then because some of them believed the misrepre- sentations made to them by Joe Chamberlain. He told them that the war was over, and that they could vote for the Conservative party with- out hurt to their Liberal principles and many other things of the same kind. They had now found him out, at least he (Mr. ldris) hoped so.

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