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.THROWING AT TRAINS. I

I WIRRAL EDUCATION MATTERS.I

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ISKETCH OF HIS CAKEER.

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I SKETCH OF HIS CAKEER. The unfortunate events of 1880 left the Conservative party in Chester in a feeble con- dition, and there was a general disinclination to fight at the next election. However, several younger members of the party were averse to the idea of making the Radicals a present of the seat, and a request was sent to headquarters for a candidate. Several gentlemen came to Chester and explained their views, but it was not thought ] they were likely to carry the Conservative flag to victory. Finally Mr. Robert Yerburgh came on the scene, and expounded his views to a very small deputation. The effect on his hearers was electrical, and after Mr. Yerburgh had left the room they unanimously decided to recommend him to the party. Mr. Yerburgh, who had then been Conservative candidate for Grimsby for two years, waa afterwards enthusiastically adopted as the champion of the Constitutional cause in Chester, and the exciting incidents of the cam- paign of 1885 are still fresh in our minds. We all remember the characteristic vigour with which Mr. Yerburgh threw himself into the fight; how his magnetic influence inspired confidence among his supporters, and how his rousing speeches caused dismay in the opposition camp. The election resulted in the defeat of Mr. Yerburgh by Dr. Foster by only 300 votes, and the result was considered very satisfactory by the Con- servatives. Then came the historic election of 1886, and with it Mr. Yerburgh's opportunity. The Radicals, recognising that they had a foeman worthy of their steel, fought their hardest, but had to succumb, and Mr. Yerburgh became member for Chester by the narrow margin of 66 votes. In 1832. when he met Baron Halkett, he increased this majority to 620; in 1895 he was not opposed, and in 1900 lie defeated Mr. Howell ldris by 729. Mr. Yerburgh is the third son of the Rev. Richard Yerburgh. rector of Sleaford. Lincoln- shire. and afterwards of Higher Bickington, North Devon, and on January 17th next will be 53 years of age. though from his youthful appear- ance one can scarcely credit it. He was educated at Harrow and University College, Oxford (B.A. 1877), and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1380. He joined the norther circuit, of which his uncle was the leader. Mr. Yerburgh was private secretary to Mr. Akers-Douglas when Secretary to the Treasury, in 1885-6, and was afterwards private secretary, in the House of Commons to the late Mr. W. H. Smith when Leader of the House. The hon. member is fond of hunting, is a good shot, and latterly has been strongly bitten by the golf craze. He is J.P. and D.L. for Lancashire, and J.P. for Kirkcudbright- shire. Mr. Yerburgh is eminently a busy man, and it may not be out of place to glance at a few of the movements with which he is connected. In the first Place,, he is President of the Navy League, a strictly non-party organisation, the object of which Is to urge upon the Government and the electorate the paramount importance of an adequate Navy as the best guarantee of peace. The excellent, work of the League is too well known to need any praise at our hands. An incident may be mentioned as shewing Mr. Yerburgh'* practical interest in our first line of defence. When a Committee was sitting to enquire into the question of Navy rations, he and Mr. Arnoid-Forster were visiting the Mediter- rane-an fleet, and for a day they lived on the rations supplied to the ordinary seaman. Mr. Yerburgh's verdict was not favourable, and there is no doubt, that his and Mr. Arnold-Forster'a action served a useful purpose in directing public attention to the matter, and making it certain that the Committee's recommendations would be carried out by the Admiralty. Then Mr. Yerburgh is President of the Agricultural Organisation Society, and there are few parts of the country he has not visited for the purpose of -expounding the objects of this excellent institu- tion. It was the National Agricultural Union, with which the late Lord Winchilsea was asso- ciated, that constituted the first real effort to organise British agriculturist. on a national basis; and it was the British Produce Supply Associa- tion, founded by the same gentleman, that attempted to create a direct bond of union between farmers and consumers. In 1900 Mr. Yerburgh became President of the Union, and on his sug- gestion the members decided to enter on a new field of action. His scheme was, in effect, that the Union should adopt the teaching and methods of agricultural co-operation already so successfully followed in Continental countries, abandoning both politics and risky speculations, and proceed- ing upon strictly practical lines. The title of the British Agricultural Organisation Society was then adopted. Affiliated to that society are .107 registered Co-operative Agricultural Societies in England and Wales. The principal objects of these local societies are to aid the farmer in pur- chasing his requirements to the best advantage, and to enable him to secure the best market for the sale of his produce; to open up remote districts by motor goods wagons; to hire or buy pedigree stallions, bulls, etc., for the use of members at small fees; to insure live stock and to establish I Agricultural Credit Banks. The steady progress that is being made in this beneficent work must! be very gratifying to Mr. Yerburgh. The hon. member also takes a lively interest in the Urban Co-operative Banks Association, of which he is President. This association has been reorganised with the view of making a renewed effort to induce working people in urban districts to establish their own popular co-operative banks, and to encourage deposits and advance loans for remunerative purposes at a moderate rate of interest. As Mr. Yerburgh has pointed out, these banks encourage wise saving and discourage thriftless waste; tend to abolish petty usury; and train working people in business habits. After the local societies are organised they are self- supporting, but the association continues its advisory services to those affiliated to it. Mr. Yerburgh is Vice-President of the Co-operative Small Holdings Society, of which the honorary treasurer is Earl Beauchamp. This society is accomplishing a valuable work by assisting to give a larger number of persons a direct interest in the soil and thus checking the deplorable rural de- population. Mr. Yerburgh is Vice-President of the Labour Co-partnership Association, and last year had the honour, under the presidency of Mr. Richard Bell, M.P., general secretary of the Amalgamated Society of Railway Servants, of delivering the opening speech at. the summer exhibition of the Co-operative Societies at the Crystal Palace. Mr. Yerburgh is a Vice-President of the Co-partnership Tenants' Housing Council, the object of which is to aid in the solution of the housing problem by encouraging and pro- moting the establishment of Tenants' Co-partner- ship Societies. The China League, of which the hon member is Chairman, is doing good service in keeping a watch on Briti&h interests in the Far East, and seeing that they receive proper con- sideration by the Government. Mr. Yerburgh is a member of the Executive Committee of the National Service League, of which Lord Roberts is President. This body advocates the principle of universal naval or military training, and urges the necessity of all young men, without distinction of class—duke's son and cook's son alike—being able to take up the rifle in defence of their country. Continuing the list of associations with which Mr. Yerburgh is connected, mention should be made of the fact. that he is hon. treasurer of the Balkan Committee, the object of which is to educate the public as to the real state of affairs in Macedonia. Then Mr. Yerburgh is Vice- Chairman of the Council of the National Home Reading Union, and hon. secretary of the Recreative Evening Schools Association. This is a formidable list, and shews, we think, that the member for Chester is a man of many parts. A sketch of this kind would not be complete without a brief reference to Mr. Yerburgh's Parliamentary work. His moderate views and courteous manner have gained him the respect of both sides in the House of Commons, and his speeches always receive careful attention. He made a name for himself in exposing the evils of usury, and largely as a result of his efforts we now have the Usury Act. Mr. Yerburgh also deserve, praise for the part he played in securing the passing of the Witnesses Protection Act. He is also entitled to the thanks of his foUow-countrv- men for causing the enquiry by an Agricultural Committee into the question of National wheat stores, at which much important evidence was given. The Committee, it will be romcmbered, recommended the Government to appoint a Royal Oommrssion to conduct an important inquiry into the whole subject of the National Food Supply in Case of War. In those and many other matters Mr. Yerburgh has always shewn a keen regard for the welfare of the Empire, and particularly in advocating the maintenance of our naval supremacy. The writer had the pleasure of a hurried inter- view with Mr. Yerburgh the other day, and found him most optimistic regarding the coming election. The hon. member never looked fitter in his life, and it was difficult to realise that twenty years have elapsed since he first made the acquaintance of the electors of Chester. He declared himself as strongly opposed to Home Rule as ever; on no account would he hand over Ireland to the government of the Nationalist party. He was also determined to resist, Dis- establishment, and the attempt to destroy the denominational schools and to prevent children from beng educated n the religion that their parents wished. He also advocated a small and I efficient army. and the encouragement of the Volunteer forces. On these and other ttIattèr.5 Mr. Yerburgh talked pleasantly, adding that he ghould soon take the opportunity of explaining his views fully to the electors. Asked ,then he thought the General Election would be, the hon. member said of course he did not know, but he should like it to be on January 17th. "Why?" the writer asked. Because," Mr. Yerburgh replied with a merry twinkle in his eye, that is my birthday, and I should ask the electors of Chester to give me a birthday present of 1,000 majority."

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