Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

7 erthygl ar y dudalen hon



jORD RANDOLPH CHURCHILL AT KING'S LYNN. THE AGRICULTURAL VOTE IN THE COMING ELECTION. FREE EDUCATION AND PAYMENT OF SCHOOL FEES. A MIDDLE COURSE SUGGESTED. Lord Randolph Churchill visited Lynn on Mon- day nigh,t for the purpose of addressing- a meeting in support of the candidature of Lord Henry Bentinck, who is contesting the North-Western Division of the County of Norfolk in the Conser- vative interest against Mr. Joseph Arch. On arriving at the railway station shortly before six o'clock in the evening, his lordship was received by Sir Lewis Jarvis, whose guest lie will be during his stav in the neighbourhood, and by a number of other prominent Conservatives. A considerable crowd had assembled on the platform and in the vicinity of the station, and his lordship was heartily cheered as he walked to the carriage in waiting; the horses had been unharnessed from Che conveyance, which was dragged to the resi- dence of Sir Lewis Jarvis by a number of Lord Randolph's admirers amid cheering renewed again ind asain along the streets en route. A meeting was held in the Corn Exchange, which was decorated with bunting and appropriate mottoes for the occasion. Lord Walsingham pie- aided. and amongst those on the platform were the Earl and Countess of Romncy, Lord Henry Ben- tinck, Sir Lewis and Lady Jarvis, Mr. Amherst, M.P., the Hon. R. Bourke, M.P., Mr. C. S. Read, M P.. Captain Fellowes, M.P., Mr. Green, M.P., Sir Dighton and Lady Probyn. Mr. S. Hoare (Con- servative candidate for the Northern Division of Norfolk), Mr. Aiiwyn Fellowes (Conservative can- didate for Mid-Norfolk), Sir Robert Buxton, M.P., Ladv Rosamond Fellowes, Mr. A. Weston J irvis, and Mr. P. H. Bagenal, the election agent. Lord Randolph Churchill entered the building at. half- past seven, and he was received with loud and pro- longed cheering. The town crier, who was in attendance with his bell, having called for silence, the noble chairman introduced Lord Randolph in a lengthened speech, which was occasionally inter- rupted. Lord RANDOLPH CHURCHILL, who was received on rising with loud and prolonged cheers, said: My Lord Walsingham and Gentlemen,—It is rather a common observation now-a-days that, we are passing through exciting times, and I think that the fact of so large and so representative a gather- ing.having come together to-night in this town of Lynn shows that there is an enormous public interest developed in the issues which have in he decided in the course of the next few wwks. (Hear, hear.) Gentlemen, I said that I believed I this great gathering was a representative gathering, and I imagine I am correct. 1 assume that there are here to-night, pot only those who have been for some time the support of tne Tory party, but that there are also, perhaps, many who have hitherto supported the Liberal party. ("Hear. hear," and cheers.) I rejoice that it s so, because I am certain that the issues of the ;ime are so grave, the results which depend upon he national decision are so enormous, that even those will be impressed by the magnitude of the issues which they have to consider, and they will give even to a stranger like myself a quiet and an indulgent hearing—(cheers)—while I endeavour, to the best of my ability, to place before them my views as to the nature of the course which the British electorate ought to take. DUTIES OF THE BRITISH KLRCTORATE. 1 said that these were exciting times, but 1 think that you will agree with me that there are •ertain classes of the community at the present moment who are entitled to our commiseration. In the first place, there is the unfortunate Minister who is nightly held up by enthusiastic politicians as a monster of immorality. (Laughter.) Well, he can defend himself, and a good many people say that they don't pity him because he is paid for it. (Renewed laughter.) However, there are those ot another class who are entitled to our pity, namely, th« candidates who are so anxious to get into Parliament, because night after night .hey have to address large meetings at which they have to repeat the same old story and the same Vid arguments. (Hear, hear.) There is also another I class who are to be greatly pitied, and these are the voters, who have to listen to any amount of conflicting opinion, any amount of opposing statement of fact, and who, no doubt, to a great extent, wander for a time irresolutely, not know- ing the way they should turn. (Hear, hear.) Hut there is a section of the electorate entitled to jspecial sympathy and commiseration, and that is ;he agricultural labourers. (Renewed interruption and cries of "No.") I will tell you why; because the agricultural labourer (Renewed confusion ind cries of Joseph Arch.") I was going to say that the agricultural labourer is in some way entitled to your pity and commiseration. (" No.") RADICAL WOOING OF THE AGRICULTURAL LABOURER. I will tell you why if you wiil give me a chance. These voters are now the object of an excessive amount of attention. The most cordial and the most unusual civility is exhibited towards them from persons who, up to this time, have never seen the agricultural labourer before, and who are occupied with attempts to impress him with the fact that they have always been his friends—(laughter)—although they never set eyes on them in their life before. They have endeavoured to persuade the labourer that the persons among whom he has lived all his life, and whom he has had an oppor- tunity of observing closely, whose actions and whose motives for years past he has been able to scrutinise and judge, that those persons are his most bitter and deadly foes. I think that is a most ditlicult position for the agricultural labourer. I will endeavour to prove to you, gen- tlemen, what I mean when I say there are a great number of total strangers to the rural districts who are endeavouring, at the present moment, to persuade the agricultural labourer that they are his oldest friends. (" Oh," and interruption.) Mr. Chamber,lain- (Renewed interruption.) MR. CHAMBERLAIN'S INEXPERIENCE OF AGRICULTURISTS. Now, gentlemen, there is a public man whose .lame I daresay you have heard of before-Mr. Chamberlain. (Groans.) He made a speech in Wiltshire the other day. He was very angrv in ,hat speech because he said Lord Salisbury had railed him a Cockney, and that very much dis- composed Mr. Chamberlain's usual equanimity, ..nd made him make some very bitter remarks. But as a matter of fact, Mr. Chamberlain in the very first sentence of his speech justified Lord Salisbury's appellation. (Cheers.) Because in the very first sentence of his speech he said, This is the first time I have ever had the pleasure of addressing a purely agricultural, audience." Now, gentlemen, Mr. Chaml>t, has been a very long time in public life, and although he lias only been for some eight or nine years in Parliament he has been for many years connected with politics. Is it r.ot, thun, a curious thing that all these bubbling and hmstiag emotions of Mr. Chamberlain's on behalf of the agricultural labourer should for a period of nearly twenty years have been closely confined, restrained, and Kept in his own breast, ? (Hear, hear.) How is it ¡hat these tremendous sympathies for the agricul- tural popular ion have never made their appearance before? It is a curious thing, also, that Mr. Jesso Oollings, whose name is very familiar to you, has only within the last eighteen months made that surprising discovery of that scheme for the distribution of land which is to bring happiness to every agricuttural labourer. Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Ceilings have both of them j spent it long time in political life, and is it not pity, is it not to be deplored, that for twenty years or more these twogroat sympathisers with the agricultural population should have kept all those plans of theirs concealed, and should have wasted all this time ? (Hear, hear.) If they had only pro- duced those plans before it is impossible to say what might have been the it ate of improvement to which the agri- cultural labourer might now have attained. It would be very wi-onl, and very improper to say hat the sympathy of Mr. Jesse Collings and Mr. Dliamberlain for the agricultural labourer is Only developed because the agricultural labourer has a vote. That would be a very ill-natured and, I daresay, a very improper remark, but, still, it is a very curious thing that this bursting emotion of which I have spoken should only nave exploded at the vary moment when the agricultural labourer obtained a vote. (Cheers.) After some further interruption, Lord Randolph Churchill said: Having pointed out to you how great a stranger Mr. Chamberlain is to agricul- tural meetings, and how per feet, a stranger Mr. Jesse Collings is to agricultural affairs, I was going t.o endeavour to point out to you that, although I am to a great extent a stranger to the county of Norfolk, I am no stranger whatever to rural audiences. (Cheers.; I have attended a great many agricultural meetings. (Renewed interruption.) They are aOOflng some of my most pleasant and most enduring reminiscences. My present Parliamentary constituencies are all of them II,Clr;cuIturists-( hear, fieur)-and, really, if it were not that I have had sonv- opportunities of studying agricultural ques- tions I should not venture, like Mr. Chamberlain does, to address a. purely agricultural audience. Now, 1 cannot but fe61 very great interest in the contest which is now going on in this division of Norfolk, and I may say that you have been very fortunate in securing such a can- didate as Lord Henry Bentinck. (Cheers.) His candidature particularly attracts me, as also does that of another Conservative, Mr. Aelwvn ¡"Howe. who is contesting an adjoining division. because these gentlemen are going through on a larger scale what I did on a small scale in the way of election experience. THH CONSERVATIVE OUTLOOK- I know there are a great many Conservatives— no", I will not say a great many, but I will say there He some Tories—who are gloomy, and anxious, and depressed—(Cries of "No"—about the results of ihe Conservative cause in the counties, and they say that the agricultural labourer is perfectly certain to casting vote amongst the Liberal party. (Crirs of No/*) Well, I am glad to hear that indication Of your disagreement with the state- ment, but it is an expression of opinion 1 have Heard more than once before. For uiy own part, 1 do not believe there are any grounds for those apprehensions, and [ have two reasons for that opinion. The first is found in my own experience with a purely agricultural constituency, in which the agricul- tural labourer has had a vote since 1863—a con- fttitMency which is typical of English rural life, which has a scattered population resembling in its nature a little county— I mean, of course, my own constituency of Woodstock. When 1 stood for Woodstock, in 1374,1 occupied very much the same positionas Lord Henry Bentinckand Mr.Feliowej do now. When I stood fur the agricultural borough of1 Woodstock, where the agricultural labourer already had a vote, and where he was securely protected by tho ballot-I had then never addressed a political meeting in my life—I was opposed by one of the ablest candidates whom the Radical party could possiblv find, Mr. George Broderick, who was supported at the time by a swarm of professors from Oxford, all very learned man, and a swarm of emissaries from the Reform Club of London. There was no promise at that time that Mr. Broderick and his eupporters did not make to the agricultural labourers of Woodstock if they would give him their votes. THE THBKE-ACRE-AND-A COW CRY Ii Had not been invented at the time. (Laughter and cheers.) But the promise to the agricultural labourers, made by the Radical party, was that every agricultural labourer, if they would only re- turn a Radical for Woodstock, should almost im- mediately afterwards possess a beautiful, newly- built cottage with a slate roof and a boarded floor that this cottage should be surrounded by a fertile garden; that he should hold that garden rent f-ee. That was tho alluring promise made in 1874. At that time there had been an agricultural labourers' strike, and their union was in great strength at Woodstock. The Radicals were perfectly certain that they had got the borough; they had mot a doubt about it. What with their candidate and their promises and the circumstances of the time, they made sure that they would carry off the borough. But somehow of other it did not go down. With all Mr. Broderick's eloquence and ability be was quite unable to persuade the agricultural labourer in Oxfordshire that he was able to perform the pro- mises he made, and the final result of the election was that Mr. Broderick and the Radical party were defeated by a very large majority. (Cheers.) Then there came the election ot 18bU, and again the Radical party made a tremendous effort to win the agricultural labourers in the county of Oxford. At that time the circumstances were still more favourable the harvest had been bad, employment had been scarce, wages had fallen, and they had a candidate who, though he was not a clever and intellectual man like Mr. Broderick, was a very sharp electioneer—(cheers)— in fact, I think he knew almost as much about the underground working of elections as Mr. Schnad- horst. (A laugh.) He was about as good a candi- date as they could have found, and they made per- fectly certain that the whole agricultural body would go with them. But again they were dis- appointed, again the agricultural labourer distrusted them, although they sent their emissaries from the Reform Club and their professors from Oxford. This time, too. certain emissaries from Birmingham came—people with black coats and tall hats and black bags—odd kinds of creatures to see going about a rural dis- trict. They were full of promises; there was nothing that they were not going to do and that they were not able to do for the agricultural labourer. The Radical party left no stoue un- turned; they made perfectly certain they had won the borough of Woodstock, and again, as in 1874, they were defeated by a large majority. (Cheers, and a Voice Rotten borough.") That is just what it was not. I was perfectly certain the exclamation would come. I was waiting for it. (A lausrh.) I have always observed that the Radical party denounce as rotten and corrupt every single constituency in England that is not prepared to return Radical candidates. (Hear, hear.) But why should the borough of Woodstock be more rotten or corrupt than this division of Norfolk ? (Hear, hear.) It has exactly the same population. (A Voice: "Bribery.") Evidently the gentleman in the crowd who interrupts me has certain ideas as to how an election ought to be carried on. (Laughter.) His mind works in the direction of corruption. (Renewed laughter.) GROUNDLESS RADICAL CHARGES. Again I would point out to you that the Radical party always assert that if Tory principles, by any possibility, get the upper hand in the electorate it can only be by the force of money. (A laugh.) That is their idea, and you cannot put it out of their head, and, therefore, there is no arguing with them on that point. (Hear, hear.) All I can say is, the borough of Woodstock, to my mind, is say is, the borough of Woodstock, to my mind, is a very fair type of an English country district. In that borough all the agricultural labourers were enfranchised, and all were as much protected by tho ballot and were as independent as any elec- tors in this division of Norfolk. (Hear, hear.) RADICAL EFFORTS AT WOODSTOCK. I have told you the result of the elections of 1874 and 1880, but we had another election there the other day, when I had the honour of taking office. (Cheers.) At that time the Radical party thought they could win the borough of Woodstock, and pay olf old scores against me—(a laugh)—so they went in for a tremendous contest. All the emissaries from London and the Reform Club, the professors from Oxford and the emissaries from Birmingham—the black- coated and tall-hatted gentry—(laughter)—ap- peared again like a swarm of crows. They settled down upon Woodstock. There were no promises they did not make, and they had a very good chance, for they were able to say to the people that I had done very wicked things since 1380. I had opposed Mr. Gladstone. (Laughter and cheers.) I had opposed the Reform Bill, and I had said that the agricultural labourer was not desirous of the franchise. All these accusations were brought up, and they made everything they could out of them. They thought they had the election safe because I was prevented from going down to conduct the con- test personally. And again the Radical party were defeated by a crusher. (Cheprs.) Well, that is my experience of a rural district, in England. You experience of a rural district, in England. You may jeer fit the district as being corrupt, you may call it rotten, you txu y ea.11 it a pocket borough, or what you like, but it is in my experience of that district that I formed my belief that the agricultural vote will not go solid for the Radical party —(cheers)—and I have no doubt that there are agricultural boroughs in England the members for which could give you very much the aamesort of story. There is the borough of Wilton in Wiltshire, in the neighbourhood of which Mr. Chamberlain went the other day. No less a per- son than Mr. Joseph Arch — (cheers and groans)—contested the borough of Wilton, which is full of agricultural labourers, is con- trolled and dominated by agricultural labourers. What was the result of the contest? Why, Mr. Joseph Arch was rejected by the agricultural labourers—(cheers)—and defeated by an enormous majority. I advise some of you here who think of carrying on arguments with the Radical party in this contest to ask Mr. Joseph Arch how it was he was not supported by the agricultural labourers of Wilton. Get him to tell jou the story of that- election, and to explain how it was he did not at that time win the confidence of the! agricultural labourers. (A Voice, "He won't answer.") I know he does not like to answer questions. (•'Hear, hear," and laughter.) That, gentlemen, is one reason why I always argue against those Tories who take gloomy views of the prospects of our party in country districts. MR. BRIGHT AND THE AGRICULTURAL LABOURER. My experience is in a rural district, and, curiously enough, that reason is supplied to me by a very high authority, by no less a person than Mr. Bright. (Hisses and groans.) I hope nobody will groan at the name of Mr. Bright. (Hear, hear.) If the Radical party of the present day were only like Mr. Bright I should feel very little fear about the future of the country. Mr. Bright made a speech the other day in Somersetshire to an agricultural audience like the present. It was in a rural district, and he made a very interesting speech. I am not one of those who are tired of reading Mr. Bright's reminiscences. His speeches always deal with the past, but, at any rate, they tell the story of the past in an interesting and in- structive manner. Now, Mr. Bright made a very eloquent speech, and almost the whole of it went to show that the condition of the agricultural labourer had enormously improved since the days when lie first took up political life. He proved that the agricultural labourer was better housed, better clothed, better fed, better employed, and that his children were better educated than they were a generation ago. (Cheers.) That Mr. Bright proved by figures, and by facts, and by history. Having shown that. Mr. Bright used these words, to which I would ask your attention. He said: "I think we have advanced so far in political reformation in the country that it is not now a patriotic thing to tell ] the working classes that they are an enslaved class, that there are laws which make them less than free men, and that there are countries in which they would be more free than here." RADICAL DIFFEIZEICCES. That view contrasts with the opinion of Mr. Chamberlain, and that was one of the great diffi- culties the English people have to deal with- the sharp divisions in the ranks of the Liberal party. One section of the Liberal party say one thing, and another section say another, and the confusion is worse confounded in the sharp divi- sions that we see among the Radicals themselves. (Hear, hear.) I have told you what Mr. Bright said as to the agricultural population. When speaking in Somerset and in Wiltshire, a county adjoining Somerset, Mr. Chamberlain said that it is still true of the agricultural labourer as it was at the time of the Corn Laws, and he quotes the word:! of the pout to describe the agricultural labourer as Ls miles;, joy!es», restless, hopeless. Gasping still for bread and breath. To their graves, by trouble limited, Aloions' lie;lots toil till death. ( Hear, hear." and loud laughter.) I want to ask you if the agricultural labourer is now joyloss and hopeless. (Cries of" No.") Are they "gasping still for bread and breath"?— (loud cries of No ")—and are they going to their graves "trouble hunted"? (Renowed cries of No.") Then the last line is applied bv Mr. Chamberlain to agricultural labourers. Albion's helot is a Greek word which described the most contemptiblo kind oi' slave among the ancient Greeks. Now, that is the idea that he entertains of tho agricultural population. But he is met by Mr. Bright, who describes such a statement of the position of the agricultural labourer as unpatriotic. But it is an utterly untrue statement. (Hear, hear.) Mr. Bright's opinions are far more likely to be received with approval by English audiences than those of Mr. Chamber- lain, because Mr. Bright is more disinterested than Mr. Chamberlain. But we may .assume that Mr. Bright's statement of the position of tho agricultural labourer is the correct statement; that the improvement ho speaks of has taken place. What I want is to direct your attention to the effect of this statement of tho improvement that has taken place. It shows that it could not have taken place if the squire, the farmer, and the parson were the wicked and immoral lot that Mr. Chamberlain desired to represent them. (" Hear, hear," and laughter.) THF. EFFECTS OF FREE TRADM. Now, Mr. Bright attributes all these improvements to the introduction of Free Trade and the abolition of the Corn Laws. No doubt these may have had something to do with it, but it is impossible that all the cottages and all the schools that have been erected, that all the now farm buildings, and all the money expended in the improvement of land have not contributed largely, together with tho introduction of Free Trado and the abolition of the Corn Laws. And don't you think that all those improvements to which I have referred have had their full effect in working the present improve- ment in the condition of the agricultural class? IMPROVEMENT IN THE CONDITION OF LABOURERS. I was recently turning over a report of the present Land Commission-the body that used to act as the old Enclosure Commissioners—and I found that since 1847 the squire-I call him by that title because it is a title familiar to you all-has, expended in the erection of cottages, schools, farm buildings, and roads no less a sum than fifteen millions of money.—(cheers.)— and that they are still going on, even in these bad times, borrowing at the rate of £400.000 a year for the purpose of rural improvements and de- velopment. There are two things to be re- membered about that outlay. In the first place, that outlay has been 111f1.cIe by a comparatively small number of people. Without doubt the owners of land in England are comparatively small in number compared with the great bulk of the population. Moreover, that outlay has been made at a very high rate of interest, averaging, I should say, something like 7 or 8 per cent. Whenever you borrow from the land courts you not only pay interest at 4 per cent., but pay back year by year instalments of the capital. That brings up the interest to 7 or 8 per cent., so that these wicked landlords and these wicked parsons and these wicked farmers have been going on year by year, under all the disadvantages latterly of bad seasons, steadily spending money in the development of the resources of the country, in improving the condition of the agricultural labourer. These things you require from time to time to be reminded of, because from the language of the Radical party and from the language of the persons whom they employ at public meetings you would imagine that the owners of land, and the occupiers of the land, and the parsons were a set of people utterly unworthy of the name of British citizens. It is necessary that it should be pointed out what these people have done for the land and Mr. Bright is altogether in error in attributing the greater part of the improvement in the condition of the rural population to the operation of Free Trade or the abolition of the Corn Laws. BAD CONSEQUENCES OF FREE TRADE. You ought to remember this about Free Trade— that although it, as established by Sir Robert Peel, and the abolition of the Corn Laws have made the necessaries of life very cheap and thereby conferred a great blessing on the people, still, at the same time, as there is no rose without a thorn, the disad- vantage of Free Trade to agricultural interest has been that it has diminished employment in agricultural districts. (Cheers.) There is one thing which neither Mr. Jesse Collings nor Mr. Arch can possibly deny, and that is that owing to the introduction of Free Trade and owing to the importation of foreign corn arable cultivation in many parts of England has become almost im- possible. (Cheers.) Every year you will tinci that the acreage of the land under corn crops shows a very large diminution, a diminution, I think, very nearly at the rate of a million acres a year. You must also remember that this diminution cannot possibly stop under our present system it must go on, and the diminution of the area of land under com crops means a continually-increasing diminution of agricultural employment. It also means emigration of tii3 agricultural population either to our largo towns, our colonies, or to America. (Cheers.) That has buen the result of the importation of foreign corn. It has un- doubtedly given to our people the blessing of cheap bread, but at the same time it has largely diminished the resources of the farmers for the employment of labour on the land. (Cheers.) A STRONG ARGUMENT. Now, gentlemen, I don't want you to think tha.t I am saying all this for the purpose of blaming the abolition of the Corn Laws. or in order to induce you, either directly or indirectly, to turn your minds in the direction of Protection. All I wish to prove is this, that the ameliorated condition of the agricultural classes cannot possibly be entirely attributed to the abolition of the Corn Laws. (Hear, hear.) And that if the landlords and thetenantsancl the parsons—whom you, or whom the agricultural labourer at any rate, is now told to look on as his deadly foe—had not done their part, and done it nobly and generously on the whole, by the people with whom they had to deal, Mr. Bright would not be able at the present moment to point so trium- phantlyas he does to this great amelioration of the condition of our rural population. (Hear, hear.) I believe the majority of the rural voters know this quite well, and those who do not know it only need to have it pointed out to them, and those who have forgotten it only need to be reminded of it. But, having before me these two reasons, viz., mv own experience of an agricultural population, extending over twelve years, and this great and convincing testimony of Mr. Bright to the improve- ment of the condition of the agricultural classes, I disbelieve altogether that the great majority of the agricultural labourers will vote solid for the Radical party. (Hear, hear.) These are my reasons for telling those connected with the con- duet of elections on our side and the candidates who are endeavouring to support the Tory cause to cheer up and be certain that if they only work and put those things before the people,and take the trouble to explain them and put the people on their guard against strangers who come amongst them with interested motives, they need not be in the least alarmed as to the way in which the common sense of the agricultural districts will go. (" Hear, hear," and cheers.) GKNTLBMKN FROM THE TOWNS. Now, gentlemen, I must admit that those new friends to whom I alluded earlier in my remarks, those gentlemen who come from tho towns with their black coats and their tall hats and black bags, are making wonderful promises to the agricultural labourer. They are at their old game. (Laughter.) I have gone through it myself and as far as the making of promises goes I quite admit before you that the Tory party cannot possibly com- pete with them. (" Hear, hear," and cheers.) If human happiness could be secured by the making of promises I myself would at once retire from the struggle—(a laugh)—but, gentlemen, there is a great difference, as perhaps some of you know, between the making and fulfilling of a promise. (Hear, hear.) The Liberals have shown themselves to you in two attitudes very strongiy. they have shown themselves wonderfully clever and possessing an immense superiority over their oppo- nents in the making of promises—(a laugh)—and they have shown themselves equally clever and possessing an equal superiority over their oppo- nents in the breaking of promises. (Laughter and cheers.) Therefore, I think it would be as well if those who have to give a vote at the election were to place a very considerable dis- election were to place a. very considerable dis- count upon Liberal promises. (Hear, hear.) But now may I, with your permission, examine the two chief promises which they make to the agricul- tural labourer ? (Hear, hear.) THE FREE EDUCATION PROMISE. The first thing they promise is free education— that is Mr. Chamberlain's great boon. (A laugh.) He promises that if you place him in the posses- sion of power in the House of Commons, if you give him a majority, from that moment not one single person over the length and breadth of England shall ever pay one single penny more for the edu- cation of any child. That is Mr. Chamberlain's promise. Well, gentlemen, I think there is a good deal to be said about the education question. Mr. Chamberlain proposes that the extra cost of his policy should bo thrown upon the Income-tax until that most happy and joyful and long-looked-for day when ho shall be able to disestablish the Estab- lished Church and appropriate its endowments. But on the question of Free Education there is no need to use very hard language on either side. It is a difficult subject, and I will quite admit my own frame of mind corresponds very nearly to Mr. Gladstone's upon the subject as Mr. Gladstone so remarkably expressed it in that lucid address he put before the country. (Laughter.) But I think myself that Mr. Chamberlain, from interested motives, and for a purpose which he has pretty accurately calculated, exaggerates the hardships which the payment of school fees entails upon the population, and I think he also exaggerates the benefits which would be derived from the abolition of these school fees. I do not think it is the payment of school fees which tells so hardly upon the labouring class. I think it is the compulsory attendance of the children. (Cheers.) It is the compulsory atten- dance which is the hardship, and which deprives many a struggling cottage home of the earnings which might be afforded to it by the labour of a healthy boy or girl. (Hear, hear.) That I believe to be THE HARDSHIP OF OUR EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM, And not the payment of a penny or so in the week. It is, moreover, possible that if you admit, as you will all admit, that the hardship of sending children to school is a hardship which ought to be borne by the majority of Englishmen—if you admit that, then it is quite possible that "the payment of a fee stimulates the anxiety of the parent to secure that toe education provided by the State shall be of a good quality, and that the child should attend regularly in order that the period of his school attendance may not be longer than is absolutely necessary and that his labour may become more rapidly available for the sup- port of the family and the home. (Cheers.) On the other hand, I would have you remember that the Legislature has done much to mitigate the hardship of the payment of school fees, because it has pro- vided that in cases of poverty, exceptional or chronic, these school fees may be paid by the guardians, and that the payment of these school fees in such cases should not in anyway be con- sidered a mark of pauperism and should not carry with it the disabilities of pauperism. Mr. Cham- berlain says that all that is an insolent and unjust arrangement, and that it is an arrangement designed entirely in the interest of the wealthy classes. He goes on 10 say that the payment of school fees is an odious impost, and of course these words arc echoed by Mr. Arch and Mr. Jesse Collings. If I were to argue against that appella- tion of Mr. Chamberlain many in this room might think my arguments were worth very little, and that I was a very bigoted person, or some- thing of that kind. I do not argue, but I simply take his opinion that the payment of school fees is an odious impost. Again I draw your attention to the words of Mr. Bright in the same speech made in Somersetshire the other day, I wili say without hesitation that. I think as a burden upon parents the payment of Id., 2d., or 3d., whatever it may be, for a child for his week's education is not a burden from which any conscientious parent should shrink." MESSRS. BRIGHT AND CHAMBERLAIN ON SCHOOL FEES. Then Mr. Bright went on to say that there are very few labourers who pay more than the price of a quart-of beer in the week in school fees. C Hear, hear," and laughter.) Well, that is Mr. Bright's opinion, and I have given you Mr. Chamberlain's; and, as I have said before, Mr. Bright and Mr. Chamberlain are, on the question of the position of the agricultural classes, on this question of free r> education, in the sharpest possible conflict. Mr. Chamber- lain says that the Elementary School fee is an odious impost, and Mr. Bright describes it as a burden which no conscientious parent ought to refuse to pay. (Hear, hear.) I think the great majority of Englishmen will prefer to tain the opinion of Mr. Bright based on long experience to that founded on the new-fangled experience of Mr. Chamberlain. (Hear, hear.) But I would venture to point out to this meeting what my own opinion is. I have no doubt there are cases where a good deal of hardship exists, and I think that on this vexed question of free education a middle course might be adopted. I would ask vou whether it would not be a wise and a prudent thing to limit in every Elementary School receiving State grants the school fee to a penny a week, and by means of the State grant make up for any deficiency that might arise. (Cheers.) I cannot understand that a. penny a week could con- stitute a hardship, and it appears to me to be a payment which every agricultural labourer ought fairly to be called upon to make. (Hear, hear.) But, passing that over, I have given you my own opinion only for your consideration, because I find that men like Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Arch, and Mr. Jesse Collings are for raising the burdens on the rural population in one direction while they would decrease them in another. (Hear, hear.) THE LAST RADICAL BUDGET. Now, I will ask what was the nature of the Budget which Mr. Gladstone brought before the House of Commons on the 9th of June and tho rejection of which caused the fall of his Government ? (Hear, hear.) What was the natura of the Budget and the policy of the Govern- ment? It was to increase largely the burdens on land, to place a heavy impost upon the growth of barley, and to indirectly decrease the quality of the beer in use by the people by increasing the tax upon it. (Hear, hear.) Then what was the nature of the Tory Opposition which was successful in up- setting the Budget? It was not. a sub- stantial or unqualified opposition. On the con- trary, the position the Tory party took up was I that they would not agree to any fresh burdens being placed on tho land until they were told that the late Government had made full inquiry into the incidence of taxation, both local and Imperial, and until they had made an honest attempt to adjust the taxes on real and personal property. (Hear, hear.) That was the position taken up by the Tory party, and that position was financially so sound, so unanswerable were the arguments by which it was supported, that the Tory party secured a majority in the House of Commons, and 60 members of the Liberal party absented themselves deliberately from the division in order that that division might be successful for the Conservatives. (Cheers.) THR WAY TO MEET RADICAL PROMISES. I would recommend to you when the Radical party are so free with their promises among you as they are now, and when they tell you of the great benefits that they are going to confer upon the rural population with their free education and otherwise, to ask them to explain to you their finan- cial policy. (Hear, hear.) Put it to Mr. Arch when he is talking of the labourers, put it to Mr. Jesse Collings, or to Mr. Chamberlain, when they came down to your agricultural meetings, and let them explain the nature of the Budget which they put before the country, a Budget which the House of Commons resolutely refused to adopt. MR. CHAMBERLAIN'S LAND SCHEME. Well, gentlemen, I turn to the only other Radical promise which I will venture to examine this evening. It is a. promise which is best embraced in Mr. Chamberlain's own language. He says if he is returned to power and allowed to have his way, supported by a majority of members in the House of Commons, he will confer upon local bodies compulsory powers for the purchase of land, which is to be let out in small holdings and allot- ments. Now, I want you always to observe that in any Radical proposals you will always find the word compulsory. There was never a Radical proposal yet that did not either wish to compel people to do something or other or to leave something undone which they particularly wished to do. (Hear, hear.) It is always compulsory legislation, and that is always against our ideas of individual freedom. Mr. Chamberlain wishes to give to local authorities compulsory powers for the purchase of land any- where they like and where they think suitable. That is a large proposal. The language vi hich defines it is very vague, and if it stood there we could afford to leave it. But Mr. Jesse Collings and Mr. Arch are more precise in their interpretations of this promise, and Mr. Jesse Collings and Mr. Arch interpret the promise to mean this (and you know very well it is interpreted so all over the country districts of England): If you only place the Radical party in power every Radical labourer from that day forth will enjoy the free and uninterrupted possession of three acres and a cow." (Laughter and cheers.) Well, there is no doubt whatever an impression has been made upon the agricultural mind by that promise and there are numbers of the agricultural com- munity who imagine that that. boon will be the immediate result of returning to office with a large majority the Radical party. Now, I am not pre- judiced against any proposals for improv- ing the condition of the people simply because they emanate from Mr. Chamberlain or because they may be supported by Mr. Jesse Collings or Mr. Arch. I have voted since I have been in Parliament on more than one occasion for projects emanating from the Radical party and the improvement of the condition of the people. Indeed, at times I have, I think, improved upon one or two of those projects, and, what is worse, by so doing I have incurred some blame and indignation from the members of the Tory party. There have been times when the members of that party have said I was a Radical in disguise, and there have even been times when I have been called a Radical without any disguise. (Laughter.) Take it on its merits. I have examined this scheme for con- ferring compulsory powers upon local bodies for the purchase of land, which is to be broken up into small allotments. Tho other day I worked it out as best I could, and I thought it might be inte- resting to-night if I applied that scheme to the great county of Norfolk. (Hear, hear.) HOW IT WORKS OUT. I will, therefore, ask your attention while I show you how it works out. I will make an enormous assumption, I will make a tremendous leap into the future, and I will assume that the local body has been elected and formed, that all its work has been allotted to it, and that all its duties have been taken over and are being discharged. That is a tremendous bound into the future, but we will assume all that for the purpose of argument, and that the local body in such a posi- tion proceeds to purchase land according to Mr. Chamberlain's ideas. Well, of course the local body representing tho county must treat all parts of tho county alike. they cannot pick and choose and say in such and such a village we will make small holdings, and in the other village we won't. They are dealing with the rates, and must treat all parts alike, as they cannot benafit the people of King's Lynn at the expense of, say, the people of Yarmouth. I find that by the census there are about 58,000 agricul- tural labourers in the county of Norfolk, and it will be a convenient average of holding if we take the three acres which have now become so com- mon as being advocated by Mr. Jesse Collings, because that is now a popular expression. It is said that some of the holdings may be 30 acres and some smaller, but the average is to be about three acres. Therefore we will, for the purpose of argument, assume an average of three acres. The local body will, therefore, have to provide 56,000 labourers scattered all over Norfolk with three acres each, so they will have to purchase 168,000 acres of land, which must, of course, be pur- chased in the vicinity of the different villages and towns, for it is no use giving them holdings along way removed from their cottages. Mr. Chamber- lain says he will give 25 years' purchase. No doubt there is agricultural land for which that would be a very fair price to realise, but, on the other hand, there is a great deal of land in the vicinity of towns and villages which, if you were to sell it compulsority at 25 years' purchase at £ 1 an acre, would be sheer confiscation and robbery. (Hear, hear.) However, let us take Mr. Chamberlain's figures, and drop any little details about confisca- tion and robbery. (Laughter.) I find that in order to purchase 168,000 acres at 25 years'purchase at the value of £1 an acre the county of Nor. folk will have to borrow the sum of four millions two hundred thousand pounds. (Laughter, and cries of Oh.") The local elected body will have to mortgage the rates of the county to that amount. Well, of course, you must add to the original outlay something for fencing and something for building some kind of little outhouses or sheds on each holding, and for making roads and path' ways. It is no use buying an agricultural labourer three acres, and expecting him to do all that. He has not the capital to do it. If you go so far as to purchase the land for him you must go a little farther, and place it in order for cultivation. So you must allow for fencing, out houses, pathways, and roadways, and things of that kind which must be made before the holding can be worked, £ 10 per holding, which I think a very small sum. That will add to the original purchase money £560,000, or a little more than half a million additional. Then there will be the legal expenses of purchase, for, of course, the lawyers will have to investigate the titles and prepare deeds and docurnentsof that kind; and I think it would not be at all unreasonable if you added to the purchase money, for legal ex- penses and land agency expenses, and that you will find will come to £130,000 as the total sum. If you add those figures together the total sum for which the local body will have to pledge the rates of the county of Norfolk in order to provide every agricultural labourer with three acres of land will be about £ 4,700,000. WHO WILL HAVE TO PAY. The ratepayers will have to pay the interest on that £4,700,000, and at the rate of 4 per cent.- because it will be perfectly impossible to borrow such a sum of money on less than 4 per cent. on such a security-that will be £190,000 a year. (A Voice: Where is the cow ?'' and laughter.) I am not surprised at the question, but I on' found on working it out with the cow that the calculation became so complicated and so monstrous that I was obliged to drop the cow. (Laughter.) However, I have got the land, and I have shown to purchase land for each to the extent of three acres in the County of Norfolk would cost about £ 190.000 a year. To that sum, of course, you must add the cost of certain repairs, the cost of collecting the rent, the cost of general supervision, and that, probably, you might reason- ably put at about £50,000 a year, so that the total gross increase to the annual rates of the County of Norfolk would be about £ 230.000 a year, or nearly a quarter of a million. In all these calculations I am assuming that all the rents of these holdings are paid punctually, that every- body is fortunate and is industrious, and, there- fore, from the quarter of a million I must deduct the rental of the holdings—that is to say, JE168,000, which would leave a net liability upon the rates of a little more than jE60,000, which will be an extra charge upon the ratepayers of the County of Norfolk, borne by all the ratepayers of all classes, and incurred for the benefit of a particular class. (Cheers.) Now, the present total of the rates of the County of Norfolk, if you exclude poor rates, are about £ 150,OCQ a vear. and therefore, if you carry out this scheme of Mr. Chamberlain you will have to increase your Norfolk rates more than one-third. I have assumed good years, but it would not be unworthy of sen- i sible people considering this prospect if they were to assume bad years. We know that sometimes in England we get a succession of bad years. There are sometimes such things as wet and cold summers we know that there are such things as frosty springs, and that there are such things as cattle disease, potato disease, and other agricultural misfortunes of that kind. Suppose you assume a series of three or four bad years such as we have had recently, Suppose you assume that some of the small holders are unable to pay the rent and the rates— for they would not only have to pay rent, but also the rates to which their position as copyholders would render them liable. Suppose one half of the small holders of Norfolk, owing to a bad season, or two or three bad seasons, were unable to pay their rents to the local body, you would have an enormous increase of the rates at once, for you would be liable for the interest on nearly a quarter of a million. And, mind you, small holders would no longer be able to do as the holders of allotments at present do, go to the squire, who is very much in the same boat as yourselves, and ask him to give you time. But he has got to do with a local body, a. corpora- tion, which, as people say, has got neither a body to be kicked nor a soul to be damned—(laughter) -whose only business is to collect taxes, and which would sell him out ruthlessly on the day that he refused to pay his rent, and this process of selling out holders would go on especially in periods of bad years, when the holders would be unable to pay. And not only those who failed to pay, but those who had been able to pay would suffer. (Hear, hear.) The more and the greater the num- ber of the small proprietors not able to pay their rents the greater would be the charge on the small holders who had endeavoured successfully to pay rents. (Cheers.) The poor rates would be increased, everything would have to be taken from the rates, and the holders would be dismissed from their holdings. Here in Norfolk the cost of out relief and maintenance in the workhouse would go up very largely and I imagine what would be the result, the reasonable prospect, which a sensible man would look forward prospect, which a sensible man would look forward to in calculating the risks and dangers of Mr. Chamberlain's proposals. (Hear, hear.) In a few bad seasons the burden of rates on the land- owners, the farmers, the clergy, and charity trus- tees would be so great that they could not exist or maintain their position on the land. This is how the scheme works out as applied to the County of Norfolk. You would require to borrow five millions of money to buy the land required, and this would represent an annual charge of nearly a quarter of a miilion, and then there would be the management of 163.000 acres of land—and every person must acknowledge the great work and trouble this would involve, and every reasonable person must, in my opinion, see the utter folly and absurdity of the proposal. (Hear, hear.) Where are you going to find your local body ? There are very few men who will be able to give up the time necessary to deal with large, difficult, and complicated affairs. If you take the men who serve on local bodies they are mostly tradesmen and farmers, who have their own affairs to look after, and they could not give all the time that would be required to the county business. Then what would happen would be this: the local body would consist of a numerous army of surveyors, agents, and lawyers. They would be placed all over the country in expensive offices and buildings, and there would also be an im- mense army of clerks and assistants in receipt of large salaries. This would lead to jobbery and corruption of the most unapproachable kind, be- cause corruption always crept in even where a large estate was managed with honest intention and constant supervision. (Hear, hear.) THE COST OF THE SCHEME. Now, I want to apply this view of the scheme not only to Norfolk, and Suffolk, and Cambridge- shire, but I will apply it to all counties in England; and if the proposal were carried out it would require and involve a loan of 50 millions, and this would increase the county rate by two millions or more, and this would be the outcome of a scheme of land reform which would be of the most expensive and corrupt kind. And this, gentlemen, is the landed scheme that Mr. Chamber- lain is ambitious to set up, in order to set aside that system which our forefathers and ancestors in the course of time constructed. (Hear, hear.) That is the landed system. Now, gentlemen, this is the point I wish to draw your attention to. Mr. Chamberlain is a very clever man. I do not know that there is anybody before the public at the present moment who has greater abilities for Par- liamentary or public life than Mr. Chamberlain. He is an extremely clever man, and he knows as well as I do, and better than I do, the utter and intense and inconceivable folly and absurdity of the landed scheme which he is putting before the public. I do not know whether Mr. Jesse Collings knows it; lie is an enthusiast and a fanatic, and I do not know whether Mr. Arch knows it, because I have been reading some of his speeches lately, which some kind friend sent me up from this county, and the im- pression on my mind is that Mr. Arch has not made a very profound study of the subject with which he professes to deal. But Mr. Chamberlain knows it perfectly well, and this shows you the intense dishonesty and the flagrant immorality of the modem Radical party. Their loaders are allowing-not only allowing, but encouraging— not only encouraging, but absolutely paying- speakers to go about the country to persuade the agricultural labourer that the result of placing the Radical party in power will be to give him three acres and a cow when they know perfectly well that such a pro- ject is utterly hopeless, utterly absurd, utterly ridiculous, and could not be undertaken with any more chance of success than a project for colo- nising the moon. (Loud cheers.) SUMMING UP THE RADICAL PRETENSIONS. Now, not only are the leaders of the Radical party immoral-I mean politically immoral—and dishonest, but they positively boast of their immorality, and in any Radical circle in London or any large town you will find the Radical party in a state of the greatest possible exultation, and it is every- where repeated, We shall smash the Tory party in the county because Mr. Jesse Collings has carried the labourer with three acres and a cow." That is Radical morality. For my own part, I have a much greater opinion of the intelligence of the agricultural labourer and of the rural popula- tion. I think it is a gross insult to the common- sense of English voters to imagine that you can take them in for long by such a frivolous and utterly ridiculous scheme. These schemes only require to be explained, to be worked out by some of you, gentlemen, who make yourselves so active and energetic in election contests before rural audiences, in order to be repudiated by the agricultural mind. I do not believe that the labourer will allow himself to be led into such a morass of political ruin by such a political" Will- o'-the-Wisp" as Mr. Jesse Collings. It may be said, "You find fault with Mr. Chamberlain's plans, and perhaps you are right, but what are your plans ? Do you propose to leave things exactly as they are?" Certainly not. We have our own plans which we place before you, but again, in order that the programme may come with greater weight to minds who do not look favourably upon the Tory party, I turn to my friend Mr. Bright—I hope he will not consider that I have insulted him by calling him my friend, but really this evening he has been a friend, because whenever I want to demolish Mr. Chamberlain's policy I find an arsenal of weapons in the speech of Mr. Bright. (Laughter and cheers.) TORY POLICY AND MR. BRIGHT. In Somersetshire the other day Mr. Bright said, "What I want with regard to the land" (and,remem- ber, Mr. Bright had been speaking on the subject for more than half a century)-" What I want," he savs, is not many or any new-fangled propositions." That is how he dismisses Mr. Chamberlain's three acres and a cow. (Laughter.) What Mr. Bright wants is not many or any new-fangled propositions, but to remove obstructions in the way of ;he easy transfer and distribution of land. (Hear, hear.) Well, but that is Lord Salisbury's programme. (Cheers.) That is the Tory policy, and to those who express their distrust of the Tory party, to those who say that the Tory party are not equal to it, or are not sincere in their wish to remove obstructions from the way of the easy transfer and distribution of the land, I point to the ex- perience of the past, and I say look at that great Act of Lord Cairns. It dealt with the whole system of land in England, and dealt with it in a manner which some people might almost call revolutionary. That Act was passed by the Tory party when they were in Opposition, and in a weak minority surely, if the Tory party when in Opposition, and when in a weak minority, dealt with such boldness and vigour as Lord Cairns showed in dealing with it, surely you may reason- ably expect that in office, and supported by a majority in the House of Commons, they will be able to carry out boldly and honestly their policy on the land which they set before you. (" Hear, hear," and cheers.) The simplication of titles and compulsory registration of all dealings in land, that the Tory partyis now pled ged to effect,ifyou choose to give them the power and chance of doing so. (Hear, hear.) If you place that on the top of the Government Act passed by Lord Cairns it cannot be doubted that before a generation has passed almost every acre of land in England will have changed hands. (Hear, hear.) Well, then, it may be said by some, Is that all you are prepared to do in the way of land legislation? Will you go any further ?" Well, I think I would be prepared to go a little further. I think that, with great care, much precaution, and many restrictions, it might be safe for the Legislature to allow local bodies, under certain well-defined circum- stances, to purchase land for the creation of small holdings, but always in each case under the control of Parliament. That is your security. There is no such thing known to tho law of England at the present moment as the right of compulsory purchase. Parliament, as repre- senting the State, is absolute owner of every acre of land in England; Parliament may change the nature of any tenure or holding as it likes. But there is no such thing as compulsory purchase by any individual or body known by the law of England except under the control or direc- tion of Parliament. If you choose to limit com- pulsory purchase to acts done with the consent of Parliament and after examination by Parliament, then I think you enormously diminish its danger. But there is no doubt of this. that it would have to be a very slow and very gradual process. You cannot create small holdings by the hundreds or by the thousands in a year or two as Mr. Collings would persuade you; that as Mf. Chamberlain knows perfectly well, cannot be done. If the tendency of the times, if the operation of trade, if the situation of the market is favourable to the creation of small holdings, then the State can assist, and possibly accelerate, the process but if the tendency of the times is unfavourable, if the operations of trade, or if the distance of the market prohibit the movement, then the State is absolutely power- less, no matter what anybody may say; and any attempt on th* part of the State to overcome the resistance of these great forces can only lead to utter loss and hopeless ruin. Well now, gentlemen, I quite admit that the pro- gramme of the Tory party, the legislative pro- gramme, is a modest one; but I claim for it a merit which the programme of the other party does not possess. I claim for the programme of our party that it is an honest one. (Cheers.) I have said over and over again, and others of greater authority than I have said it, too, that we will make to the country no great or grandiloquent promises, because what we desire above all things is this, that whatever we promise that we may be able to effectually perform—(cheers)—and we well know that the people, if they put their trust in us and repose confidence in us, shall not be by our action or by our shortcomings disappointed or misled. (Cheers.) No, gentlemen, if you want great promises, if nothing attracts you but gilded programmes, then 1 advise you to go to the Liberal party; but if, on the other hand, you desire from the Government patient administration, prudent progress, and united action, then I earnestly recommend the great landed interest of this great country to close up their ranks, to combine the political action of all classes to do as they have done before—support the Tory party. (Loud and prolonged cheers, during which the noble lord resumed his seat, having spoken upwards of an hour and a half.)