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THE BATTLE.

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THE BATTLE. The adoption of Mr. Yerburgh as the Unionist candidate for Chester on Thursday evening may be taken as a declaration of war. The meeting was a gathering of workers, hastily convened, for the purpose of setting the ball rolling by the adoption of the candidate, but the enthusiasm displayed proved that the party are in good fighting trim and full of life and spirit. The question naturally arises why Mr. Yerburgh, after an unbroken representation of the city for almost twenty years, should be opposed now, and we believe the member hit the nail on the head, when he gave the explanation that it was because the Radicals fancied there was a split in the Unionist camp on Fiscal reform. Had it not been for this idea in the minds of the Radical leaders, Mr. Yerburgh would have had a walk-over, as in 1895. Those who attended Thursday night's meet- ing and those who are in touch with the Unionist party locally know that there is no split. A difference of opinion certainly exists as to how far Tariff reform should be pushed at the present moment, but as Mr. Bal- four pointed out the other day, this difference of opinion has existed in the Conservative party for sixty years, and it is a point upon which all Unionists agree to differ. There have been always an advanced wing and a moderate wing of the Conservative party on this question of Free Trade, and the party have been none the worse for it. Mr. Yerburgh maintains the same position on this matter as he enunciated two years ago. He is a loyal follower of Mr. Balfour. He emphatically declared himself against all forms of food taxation. To the superficial observer, who does not take the trouble to go deeply into political problems, it may appear that there is no difference between Mr. Balfour's Free Trade and Cobdenite Free Trade. No one who listened to Mr. Yerburgh's lucid exposition of the matter, however, can remain in any doubt. There is a world of difference be- tween the two policies. Mr. Balfour would move with extreme caution, but he desires the power to retaliate upon foreign nations which may be injuring this or that British I industry. He does not believe in taking it lying down." When a foreign rival draws a revolver on us, Mr. Balfour believes in I having a weapon handy for self defence. The meek and mild Cobdenite, however, will countenance no such measures of self- preservation. To him Free Trade, as be is j pleased to misname it, is a sacred thing, the I Ark of the Covenant. Whatever betides, whoever stands or falls, the Cobdenite article of faith, ''Thou shaft not retaliate," must be I preserved. The Cobdenite has made the I mistake of confusing politics with religion, and has elevated Cobden to the rank of a deity. It is all very well for the believers  in this or that form of religion to content themselves with "simple faith," but faith with- I out knowledge and without reason is fatal in I politics. Unless Cobdenism can justify itself by facts and arguments at the present day, I it is fit only for the scrap heap, be the idol never so well polished and attractive in appearance. It is a false god, therefore I must perish. I Mr. Yerburgh follows Mr. Balfour in his scheme of retaliation and in his proposal for a Colonial conference. As Mr. Churton put it, the Fiscal reformers in the party agree I with Mr. Yerburgh on nine points out of. teu, j c of supreme folly to throw him over for a candidate with whom they disagree in toto, on ten points out of 1. ten 1 The actual situation is even stronger than Mr. Churton described. On all points of general policy, say nine out of ten, the advanced Tariff reformers are in full agree- ment with Mr. Yerburgh. The only debate- able matter is the Fiscal question, and upon that question Mr. Yerburgh and the ardent Tariff reformers go three quarters of the way together. The result is that upon nine and three quarter points out of a total of ten Mr. Yerburgh and his supporters are abso- lutely agreed. Where, therefore, would be the wisdom of quarrelling over a fraction of a point, which is insignificant in comparison with the vast interests of Imperial and domestic policy involved in the Unionist programme Having thus cleared the air, and made his position on the Fiscal question once more plain to the slowest apprehension, Mr. Yerburgh gave a rough sketch of the Unionist achievements in the past and their programme for the future. In the forefront he metioned Home Rule, which has been dug out of the grave by the present Prime Minister, at the bidding oi his Irish task- masters, the Nationalists. Cestrians would do well to remember that it was upon this very question of Home Rule that Mr. Yerburgh was placed in Parliament first, in 1886. The electorate of Chester felt so deeply upon this proposal to cut Ireland adrift that they dismissed their former Radical representative, Dr. Foster, and installed Mr. Yerburgh in his place, where he has remained without interruption ever since. At that time all that was best in the old Liberal party rallied to Mr. Yerburgh as the preserver of the unity of the Empire, and we have no doubt all the moderate and cautious members of the Radical party will support .Mr. Yerburgh at the poll in January, on this -fundamental question of maintaining the -Union with Ireland. It is simply throwing dust in the eyes of the electors to pretend that the Radical programme is a milk and water form of local self-government for Ireland. We have it on the authority of the present Prime Minister that he encourages the Nationalists to strive for Home Rule, which to them means separation, and that if they cannot carry the entire scheme, they should accept so much on account as an instalment of the "larger policy." If there were no other issue in the field at the present moment, Mr. Yecburgh might appeal with confidence to the .electors of Chester on this Home Rule matter alone, and would not appeal in vain. One word to the Unionists at the opening of the campaign. The fight will not be won by attending meetings and laying new hats on the sitting member. Work is wanted, canvassing and organisation. No time must be lost, and we feel sure we shall not underestimate the patriotism and loyalty of the Unionists as a body when we ask them to bestir themselves during the next few weeks, to ensure Mr. Yerburgh's triumphant return once more, with an increased majority.

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I LOCAL & GENERAL NOTES. J

LOCAL NEWS. -I

IYERBURGH FOR CHESTER. I

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.

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