UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The tariff reform movement in Great Britain, 1895-1914 Swainson, Neil Alexander 1952

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"THE TARIFF REFORM MOVEMENT IN GREAT BRITAIN, 1895 - 1914" by N e i l Alexander Swainson A Thesis submitted i n P a r t i a l Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of HISTORY The University of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada A p r i l , 1952 Abstract The T a r i f f Reform Movement i n Great B r i t a i n , 1895-1914. Joseph Chamberlain and the T a r i f f Reform Movement i n Great B r i t a i n are inseparable. Free Trade had triumphed i n 1846 and remained the dominant politico-economic theory i n the United Kingdom u n t i l the closing years of the nineteenth century. After 1870 serious challenges to B r i t a i n ' s i n d u s t r i a l and commercial supremacy came from Germany and the United States. Attempts at T a r i f f Reform were made i n the early 1880's by Lord Randolph Churchill and others, but they came to nothing. Joseph Chamberlain was at t h i s period a r a d i c a l reformer, but i n 1886 he became a L i b e r a l Unionist i n opposition to Home Rule. He was not yet a T a r i f f Reformer. In 1895 Chamberlain became Secretary of State f o r the Colonies, and also an ardent Imperialist. Although s t i l l nominally a Free Trader he began to interest himself i n imperial preference. The Unionist party, however, was s t i l l staunchly Free Trade i n sentiment. By 1902 the combined issues of protection and imperial prefer-ence were raised i n Parliament. The Education B i l l of- that year, • sponsored by Lord Salisbury's government, was most unpopular and the Unionists were looking f o r a new issue. Lord Salisbury r e t i r e d , and Arthur Balfour became Prime Minister. Chamberlain, s t i l l at.the Colonial O f f i c e , was now veering towards T a r i f f Reform. I t was his v i s i t to South A f r i c a i n 1902-03 which c l a r i f i e d his views on t h i s a l l important subject. In 1903 he launched his T a r i f f Reform campaign and resigned from the cabinet. A r i f t i n the Unionist ranks soon became apparent. Even the Prime Minister was unable to heal the breach. From 1904 to 1906 Chamberlain campaigned hard f o r T a r i f f Reform. He was successful i n capturing the L i b e r a l Unionist "machine" - 2 -and also obtained a strong following among the Conservative Unionists. But the L i b e r a l party, hitherto s p l i t , closed ranks on the Free Trade issue, and secured the support of Labour. Balfour attempted, unsuccess-f u l l y , to hold the various sections of the Unionist party together, but, at length he tendered his resignation on December 4, 1905. The L i b e r a l s , under Campbell-Bannerman were triumphantly returned to power i n January 1906. In the same year Joseph Chamberlain suffered a stroke and was never, thereafter, able p u b l i c l y to lead the T a r i f f Reform campaign. The campaign, however, continued with varying success. Balfour, as usual, would not declare himself, but T a r i f f Reform s e n t i -ment was growing. In 1908 the t i d e seemed to be turning towards T a r i f f Reform and i n the next year i t reached i t s height. But Lloyd George i n 1909 introduced the People's Budget, and i n the controversy which ensued and which culminated i n the Parliament Act of 1911, the T a r i f f Reform issue was sidetracked. The 1910 elections showed the strength of Free Trade. Balfour was forced to resign as Leader of the Opposition i n 1911. Bonar Lav/, the new leader, was not enthusiastic over T a r i f f Reform and did not favour Balfour's proposed referendum on that subject. The i n t e r n a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n a f t e r 1911 went from bad to worse and 1914 witnessed not only the .outbreak of the F i r s t World War, but the death of Joseph Chamberlain. Chamberlain had accomplished much with his T a r i f f Reform League and'his research schemes, but he was not able to overthrow Free Trade. I t was not u n t i l the early 1930's that Great B r i t a i n changed her t a r i f f p o l i c y . C O N T E N T S Chapter Page I An Introduction - to 1895 1 I I T a r i f f Reform and the Unionist Party, 1895 - 1906 42 I I I T a r i f f Reform and the Unionist Party, 1906 - 1910 I l l IV T a r i f f Reform and the Unionist Party, 1911 - 1914 170 V T a r i f f Reform and Imperialism, 1895 - 1914 202 VI T a r i f f Reform and Industry, Labour and Agriculture, 1895 - 1914 . 257 VII Conclusion . . . 297 Bibliography 304 ACKNOWLEDGMENT This study was designed to supplement Benjamin H. Brown 1 s "The T a r i f f Reform Movement i n Great B r i t a i n 1881 - 1895, (New York, Columbia Univer-s i t y Press , 1943). With the exception of the a d d i t i o n of a rather lengthy introductory chapter, the same general arrangement of m a t e r i a l has been fo l lowed. 1 CHAPTER 1. An Introductory Survey to 1895 "In every country i t always i s and must be the in t e r e s t of the great body of the people to buy whatever they want of those who s e l l i t cheapest." 1 The Wealth of Nations Few issues i n the history of modern i n d u s t r i a l B r i t a i n have excited more active popular debate and p o l i t -i c a l argument than the r i v a l merits of Free Trade and Protection. Few more c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e the t r a d i t i o n a l process of government i n B r i t a i n — f o r i n both cases lengthy discussion preceded r a d i c a l change, and i n both the unex-pected or chance development played a not inconsiderable r o l e . In few may evidence be more c l e a r l y found, on the one hand to augment the claims of the supporters of long range planning, and on the other to j u s t i f y Lord Grey of Falloden's contention that "... i n great a f f a i r s there i s much more i n the minds of events ( i f such an expression 2 may be used) than i n the minds of the chief actors." 1. Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, London, W. Strahan & F. Cadell. 1784, Book IV, p. 244. 2. Wight, Martin, Power P o l i t i c s , London, Royal I n s t i t u t e of International A f f a i r s , 1946, pp. 37-38. 2 One of the most notable c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the popular a g i t a t i o n which led to the events of 1846 was the extent to which i t was based on a t h e o r e t i c a l case which had been created by the economic philosophers, and which had found widespread approval amongst leading statesmen, some time before i t entered the f i e l d of p o l i t i c a l controversy. The foundations of the case were l a i d as f a r back as 1750 i n 3 the writings of David Hume i n England, and Turgot, Ques-nay and the Physiocratic School i n France. They were devel-oped and expanded a quarter century l a t e r by the celebrated genius of Adam Smith, who assailed the way i n which f o r centuries "Each nation has been made to look with an i n v i d -ious eye upon the prosperity of a l l the nations with which 4 i t trades, and to consider t h e i r gain as i t s own l o s s , " and who put forward instead the revolutionary concept of the d i v i s i o n of labour on an in t e r n a t i o n a l scale. Smith's heresy soon became orthodoxy—as i t found widespread accept-ance amongst those thinking along economic l i n e s . For a short while i n the 1780';s, indeed, i t appea-red that theory might almost immediately be converted into practice, as P i t t reduced the tea duties, consolidated the various sections of the Customs and Excise Departments, and negotiated his famous treaty with France (26 September 1786) 3. " P o l i t i c a l Discourses," 1752. 4. Smith, Op,. C i t . , p. 243. 3 The onset of war i n 1793, however, forced P i t t and his suc-cessors to so completely reverse t h i s p o l i c y , to r a i s e and multiply revenue t a r i f f s and excise duties on a vast scale, that the year 1815 found B r i t a i n with an economy f a r more r i g i d l y protected and controlled than i t had been i n 1789. Furthermore, t h i s year found one h a l f of the country s t i l l 5 e s s e n t i a l l y a g r i c u l t u r a l , and r u r a l representation s t i l l predominant i n parliament. As a consequence, the only im-portant change i n the nation's f i s c a l system i n 1815 was a p r o t e c t i o n i s t victory—namely the passage of the famous Corn Law B i l l . Designed to ease the suffering i n farming areas which had followed a dr a s t i c collapse i n the price of 6 grain, t h i s measure banned the importation of a l l corn, f l o u r and meal u n t i l the domestic price of wheat had reached 80s. a quarter, allowed i t free entry thereafter and extend-ed a p r e f e r e n t i a l l e v e l to B r i t i s h North America of 67s. i n 7 wheat, and correspondingly lower figures for rye and oats. The debates i n both Houses of Parliament which preceded the passage of t h i s b i l l were b i t t e r and lengthy. They were noteworthy for the extent to which Whig spokesmen at t h i s time were prepared to put forward Free Trade as an 5. Hansard, Parliamentary Debates, (cited hereafter as Han-sard) ( F i r s t Series), Vol. XXIX, February 17, 1815, c o l . 833. 6. Page, W., ed., Commerce and Industry, London, Constable and Company, 1919, Vol. 1, p. 22. 7. Hansard, (1st Series), XXIX, February 17, 1815, c. 807. 4 8 economic panacea. They were remarkable also for the extent to which they aroused public i n t e r e s t , eventually r e s u l t i n g i n a flood of petitions demanding repeal from a l l sections of the country, but p a r t i c u l a r l y from the manufacturing d i s -9 t r i c t s . The significance of t h i s opposition to the Corn Law B i l l can hardly be overemphasized, f o r i t marks one of the f i r s t steps i n the process of making the taxation of food a predominant question, as i t was for over a century, whenever B r i t a i n ' s f i s c a l p osition was seriously considered. I t was not u n t i l the early days of the reign of George IV that the government proceeded to recast the nation's t a r i f f structure. By t h i s time the prime minister, Lord 10 Liverpool, was himself a convinced Free Trader, and his chief lieutenants, Wallace, Robinson and Huskisson were w e l l known as champions of the p r i n c i p l e . As the new reign open-ed, p e t i t i o n s c a l l i n g f or a d r a s t i c reduction i n the nation's t a r i f f s were forwarded to Westminster by the merchants of 11 London, Huddersfield, Manchester and Glasgow. Undoubtedly the most important of these requests was that from the cap-i t a l c i t y i t s e l f — d r a w n up by Thomas . T o d l c e , and presented to parliament by Alexander Baring. Parliamentary i n q u i r i e s 8. I b i d . XXIX February 17, 1815, c. 815-818. XXXV, March 15, 1817, c. 1004-1044 9. Ib i d . XXX, March 6, 1815, c. 1, 2, 3, 6, 8. 10. Brock, W. R., Lord Liverpool and L i b e r a l Toryism. 1820-1827, Cambridge, At the University Press, 1941, p. 189. 11. eg. Hansard (New Series), I , May 8, 1820, c. 165-182 May 15, 1820, c. 424. 5 were launched, and a Commons' Committee reported i n favour of " ...the a b o l i t i o n of many of the existing r e s t r i c t i o n s 12 on trade, and of a l l monopolies." Swift action followed, especially during the years 1822-1825 with Robinson at the Exchequer and Huskisson at the Board of Trade. The budget of 1824, for instance, "... the f i r s t to contain proposals of 13 avowed free trade...." used a surplus to reduce some tar-i f f s and eliminate some bounties. In"the following year, the whole customs system was overhauled; great consolidation was 14 effected as a new statute replaced some three hundred e a r l i e r laws. The 1825 budget went further, reduced the ta r -i f f on a large number .of items, and set the maximum l e v e l of the protective duties on foreign manufactures at t h i r t y per cent. Meanwhile, i n 1822, Robinson and Wallace had pro-duced the f i r s t great relaxation i n the Navigation Acts. Huskisson continued t h e i r work, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n a statute of 15 1823 ; which offered complete equality of treatment i n the B r i t i s h import-export trade to the ships of those nations providing reciprocal concessions. At the same time, the 16 trade of the colonies was almost e n t i r e l y freed. Indeed, t h i s l i b e r a l trend was challenged at the time i n one di r e c -12. Page, op. cit-. . p . 56. 13. Brock, OJJ. c i t : p. 193. 14. Statute 3 George IV, cap. 41-3 15. Statute 4 George IV, cap. 77. 16. Clapham, J . H., "The Last Years of the Navigation Acts," English H i s t o r i c a l Review, v o l . 15 (July and October, 1910), pp. 480-501, p. 483. 6 t i o n only, when Parliament refused to accept a fixed duty on imported corn (as recommended by Huskisson and Peel), and adopted instead a s l i d i n g scale. This general process of f i s c a l reform by i n s t a l -ments was severely checked by the f i n a n c i a l c r i s i s of Nov-ember 1825 and the succeeding depression (as i t was to be both accelerated and delayed af t e r s i m i l a r developments i n the future). Indeed, while parliamentary attention during the next f i f t e e n years was centered on the more pressing issues of p o l i t i c a l reform and sound l e g i s l a t i o n , compara-t i v e l y l i t t l e progress was made i n t h i s sphere. Free Trade views c e r t a i n l y continued to spread, but on the other hand there c e r t a i n l y was "... not much dogmatic objection to i n -terference (ie.on the part of the state i n matters economic) i n the mind of the average l e g i s l a t o r . " Both economists and members of parliament were quite prepared to modify the application of such an abstract p r i n c i p l e as Free Trade i f circumstances warranted i t . They remembered c l e a r l y Adam Smith's reservations i n such a vein; for example, his pref-erence of defence to opulence. Thus Malthus and Ricardo never dropped t h e i r b e l i e f i n the necessity of a duty on imported grain. I t was not u n t i l a l a t e r and more enlight-ened age that economic doctrines were regarded as i n f a l l i b l e dogmas. 17. Clapham, J . H., An Economic History of Modern B r i t a i n , Cambridge, At the University Press, 1930, (cited here-a f t e r as Clapham), v o l . 1, p. 335. 7 Two developments i n the 1830's warrant considera-t i o n i n t h i s h r i e f survey. The f i r s t was the publication i n 18 1830 of S i r Henry Parnell's "On F i s c a l Reform." In t h i s book P a r n e l l called for an end to a l l p r e f e r e n t i a l and d i s -criminatory duties, a l l l e v i e s on imported raw materials, and for the elimination, not only of many excise taxes, but also of at l e a s t the p r e f e r e n t i a l side of the imposts on coal and timber. Even though Parnell was s l i g h t l y ahead of h i s time, and Poulett Thompson at the Board of Trade was unable to produce more than a few minor t a r i f f reductions during the next decade, his arguments had a t e l l i n g effect i n l a t e r years. The second important development during t h i s period was the beginning of the f i n a l assault on the Corn Laws. As early as 1836 an Anti-Corn Law Association had been formed i n London under the domination of such parliamentary r a d i -cals as Molesworth, Hume and Roebuck, but a dearth of pract-i c a l organization soon wrecked i t , and a number of i t s suc-cessors. I t was not u n t i l October of 1838 that the founda-tions of the famous Anti-Corn Law League were l a i d i n Man-chester, and the way was prepared f o r those propagandist 'g-enius.es, Cobden and Bright. At least s i x outstanding c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the ensuing attack on the Corn Laws and protection i n general should be noted. Perhaps the f i r s t and most important was 18. Clapham, op_. c i t . . v o l . 1, pp. 495-6. 8 the way i n which the popular a g i t a t i o n succeeded i n r e l a t i n g the distress of the "Hungry F o r t i e s " to the general system 19 of protection, p r i v i l e g e and reaction i n the mind of the average Englishman. A second, was the extent to which the f i n a l or decisive change was made i n the face of a severe i n t e r n a l economic c r i s i s . I t i s at least open to doubt whether Peel would have adopted completely his f i n a l approach to imported grain had not the; s i t u a t i o n required urgent and dra s t i c action. The material prosperity of the nation was to play a s i m i l a r l y key role i n the l a t e r h i s t o r y of the Free Trade experiment. A t h i r d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c was the s k i l f u l way i n which the Anti-Corn Law League handled the issue of prices and wag-es. I t had been inferred by Charles V i l l i e r s , the Benthamite M. P. who was the leading parliamentary spokesman of the Anti-Corn Law movement u n t i l 1841, and by others, that as a re s u l t of appeal there could be expected a decline i n prices (and consequently, i n wages). Undoubtedly, a considerable portion of the openly displayed mill-owning support to the League was based on just such an assumption; Cobden himself • 20 recognized the owners' "pecuniary i n t e r e s t s , " but he and 21 Bright stoutly denied t h i s claim, and argued instead that with the re s u l t i n g expansion i n trade just the reverse would happen. "Whilst the inhuman law e x i s t s , proclaimed 19. Morley, J . , The L i f e of- Richard Cobden. London, Fisher Unwin Ltd., (1879) 1920, p. 13. 20. Morley," op. c i t . p. 663. 21. Ib i d . ; p. 320; 9 Bright, "your wages must decline. When i t i s abolished, and 22 not t i l l then, they w i l l - r i s e . " I t was on the basis of arguments such as t h i s , of course, that the League won over not only the urban workingman, but, remarkably, a large sec-t i o n of the r u r a l population. Naturally, other approaches as well were made to the tenant farmer and a g r i c u l t u r a l labour-er. Cobden, for instance, saw the shortage of c a p i t a l i n 23 r u r a l areas as a major cause of d i s t r e s s , and prophesied a rapid easing of this d i f f i c u l t y a f t e r repeal. Both Cobden and Bright made l i b e r a l use of the i n i q u i t i e s of the Game Laws. This two-fold approach to the country as well as to the c i t y must also be remembered—for i t had a rather p a r a l -l e l i n the Land Reform schemes of both major parties i n the years 1906-1913. A further c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the League's campaign was the extent to which i t was superbly organized, u t i l i z e d a l l of the media of influencing public opinion, and gave evidence of very considerable f i n a n c i a l resources. In many respects the T a r i f f Reform campaign of t h i s century was based on the breadth and magnitude of the appeal made i n those e a r l i e r days. Not to be overlooked, f i n a l l y , was the extent to which Cobden and Bright aroused, beyond pure s e l f i n t e r e s t , an appreciation of moral values. Both men foresaw a new 22. Trevelyan, S . M., The L i f e of John Bright. London, Constable and Company, 1913, p. 25. 23. Morley, op_. c i t . , pp. 319-320. t / 10 day, when the s p i r i t of Free Trade would "... pervade a l l the nations of the earth, because i t i s the s p i r i t of truth and j u s t i c e , and because i t i s the s p i r i t of peace and good 24 w i l l among men." The idealism and internationalism of Cobden, p a r t i c u l a r l y , made a strong impression upon the nat-i o n a l conscience. Sixty years l a t e r i t was s t i l l a not i n -considerable factor i n B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l l i f e . P a r a l l e l i n g the assault on the Corn Laws was a series of bold moves made against the general protective system.by Parliament i t s e l f . A Parliamentary Committee set up i n 1840 led off by sharply attacking the complexity of the t a r i f f , the high and protective duties, and the p r i n c i -25 pie of discrimination i n favour of the colonies. Peel's Government ref l e c t e d these views i n a series of outstanding budgets i n the years 1842, 1844, and especially i n 1845, when 430 out of 813 items on the t a r i f f l i s t were completely freed. Protection i t s e l f as a policy completely disappear-ed between the years 1846 and 1849, when the Whigs under Lord John Russell continued Peel's work—for example,'by ex-- 26 tending complete commercial freedom to the colonies, and, 24. Hobson, J . A., Richard Cobden. The International Man, London, F. Fisher Unwin Ltd., 1919, p. 39. 25. Page, op., c i t . , pp. 88. 26. August 28, 1846. By a statute passed i n 1850, the c o l -onies were forbidden to grant any preference to B r i t i s h goods, and, i n c i d e n t a l l y , to set up a system of i n t e r -c o l o n i a l preference. 11 i n 1849, by sweeping away the l a s t of the Navigation Acts. As a practice, however, i t was to continue on an increas-ing l y modest scale for another twenty years. Some doubts existed for a short while as to the p r a c t i c a l p o s i t i o n of the Tory party, but they were set at rest when Derby and D i s r a e l i made no move to rescind the e a r l i e r l e g i s l a t i o n during t h e i r short stay i n power i n 1852. D i s r a e l i , indeed, made i t very -clear that he no longer subscribed to his 1846 views, and sought to remove any p r o t e c t i o n i s t tinge from his party's platform. "The s p i r i t of the age tends to free intercourse," he declared i n the party's election manifesto, "and no statesman can regard with impunity the genius of the epoch 27 i n which he l i v e s . " ' I t remained to Gladstone, however, to f i n i s h o f f the work of Huskisson and Peel: f i r s t , i n his budget of 1853, when the t a r i f f was reduced on some 133 items and eliminated on 123 others; and l a t e r i n the budget of 1860, when the number of a r t i c l e s s t i l l subject to duty was reduced to a mere twenty-eight. He was then able to boast: There w i l l be on the B r i t i s h t a r i f f , a f t e r the adoption of these changes, nothing whatever i n the nature of protective or d i f f e r e n t i a l duties, unless we apply that name to the small charges which w i l l be l e v i e d on timber and corn, .... With that l i m i t e d exception, you have a f i n a l disappearance oi" a l l protective and d i f -f e r e n t i a l . duties, so that the customer w i l l know that every s h i l l i n g he pays w i l l go to revenue, and not to the domestic as against the foreign producer. You w i l l have a great extension and increase of trade,.... t ; 28 27. Monypenny, W. F.,-and Buckle, S. E., The L i f e of Ban-.jamin D i s r a e l i . London, John Murray, v o l . 3, 1914,p.369. 28. Hansard. (3rd Series) CLVI, February 10, 1860, C. 868. 12 The prosperity of the early ' s i x t i e s enabled him to go s t i l l farther i n reducing or abolishing a number of the revenue t a r i f f s . The levy on timber was ended i n 1866, but that on corn had to wait another three years, u n t i l Robert Lowe f i n a l l y removed the famous 2s. r e g i s t r a t i o n duty. Lowe obvi-ously f e l t that he had sealed the tomb of Protection forever when, i n describing t h i s levy he declared, " I t i s impossible to imagine any tax which combines more of the q u a l i t i e s which make a tax odious—that i s , i t i s a duty on an a r t i c l e that i s produced i n England with no countervailing Excise duty 29 upon i t ; I t i s therefore e f f e c t i v e as a protective duty.... " L i t t l e did he r e a l i z e as he thus expressed the o f f i c i a l Free Trade position how v i t a l t h i s small duty was to be i n B r i t -i s h p o l i t i c a l l i f e t h i r t y - f o u r years l a t e r . The t h i r d quarter of the Nineteenth Century was, for B r i t a i n , a period of unparalled prosperity i n a g r i c u l -ture, industry and commerce. There were interruptions i n the trend, of course, but i t can be safely said that i n t h i s period B r i t a i n ' s economy suffered "...no r e a l l y serious set-back; and even the years of the cotton famine i n Lancashire were a time of prosperity over the greater part of the 50 country." Her exports, f o r instance, soared from 29. I b i d . CLCV, A p r i l 8, 1869, c. 387. 50. Cole, G. D. H., B r i t i s h Trade and Industry.Past and  Future. London, MacMillan and Company Limited, 1932, p. -60. 13 31 £53,000,000 i n 1848 to £250,000,000 i n 1872-3—a tremendous increase, even when allowance i s made f o r a concurrent 32 fo r t y per cent r i s e i n the general price l e v e l . Her im-ports jumped from £152,000,000 i n 1854 to over £370,000,000 33 i n 1873. Huge exports of c a p i t a l , the interest on overseas investments, and returns from such services as shipping and insurance, more than made up the increasingly adverse b a l -ance of trade. The National Debt was lower i n 1875 than i t had been i n 1850; during the same period, the income tax 34 was cut from 7d. to 2d. i n the pound. I t was a gra t e f u l land which had raised £75—£80,000 as a National Testimonial and presented i t to Gobden aft e r Repeal i n 1846. I t was a much more prosperous one i n 1860, when not more than one hundred people contributed p r i v a t e l y some £40,000 to the same 35 cause. 4 Is i t any wonder, therefore, that the commercial p o l i c y which ushered i n this Era should have become so clos -ely associated with i t that large numbers of the populace i n a l l s o c i a l s t r a t a regarded i t as the major, and often as the only cause of the great increase i n national and i n d i v i -31. I b i d . , p. 62 32. Loc. c i t . . 33.. L o c . c i t . 34. Slater, G i l b e r t , The Growth of Modern England. London, Constable .& Co., Ltd., p. 419. 35. Morley, op_. c i t . , pp.'750. dual wealth? Not u n t i l a l a t e r day (much l a t e r i n the case of the ardent Free Traders) was i t r e a l i z e d that other f a c t -o r s — s u c h as the stimulating effect of improvements i n trans portation, the marked increase i n the gold supply, B r i t a i n ' s vast lead i n the i n d u s t r i a l process, and the great world-36 wide advance i n p r o d u c t i v i t y — h a d contributed mightily to the new prosperity. The unanimity with which the nation accepted Free Trade was remarkable. Perhaps John Stuart M i l l , the econo-mist of the age, rather overstated the case when he named Mr. H. C. Carey, an American, as the "...only writ e r of any reputation as a p o l i t i c a l economist, who now adheres to the 37 P r o t e c t i o n i s t d o c t r i n e — . , " but there was general agre-ement i n England with his r e j o i c i n g that few laws of a pro-38 t e c t i o n i s t nature " . . . s t i l l help to deform the statute-book. To many, indeed, Free Trade was more than a theory i n prac-t i s e ; i t was a p r i n c i p l e , a f a i t h , an a r t i c l e of r e l i g -39 ' ious conviction." Comparatively few remained aggressively Protectio-40 n i s t — l i k e the Tory M. P's. C. N. Newdegate and A. S. H i l l , and landlords l i k e the Duke of Rutland. The Prince 36. Cole, op_. c i t . . p 70 37. M i l l , J . S., P r i n c i p l e s of P o l i t i c a l Economy. New York, The Co o ial Press, (1848) 1900, v o l . 2, p. 424. 38. I b i d . . p. 417. 39. Trevelyan, op_. c i t . . p. 700. 40. .eg. Hansard. (3rd Series) CXCIV, March 2, 1869. c. 502. 41 Consort remained doubtful; and Lord Robert C e c i l ( l a t e r Lord Salisbury) was never more than "... a s c e p t i c a l Free Trader,—accepting the arguments upon which the case of Free Trade was based, but very dubious as to the actual advantages which i t had!secured.... (He) would never consent to treat 42 f i s c a l questions on either side as questions of p r i n c i p l e . " 43 D i s r a e l i also regarded Free Trade as an expedient; but i t was a happy one, and he dismissed protection with his i famous phrase, 'dead and dammed.' I t has already been noted that Cobden prophecied both a new day for B r i t i s h agriculture and the world-wide adoption of Free Trade p r i n c i p l e s . He c e r t a i n l y l i v e d to see the former prediction come true. In the ' f i f t i e s , the wheat prices were almost on the same high l e v e l as those i n the roaring ' f o r t i e s ; the price of land and a g r i c u l t u r a l r e n t s — b o t h key indices of r u r a l p r o s p e r i t y — r o s e s t e a d i l y ; 44 and a g r i c u l t u r a l wages showed continuous improvement. L i t t l e did the Free Trader r e a l i z e that t h i s happy s i t u a t i o n was only temporary—that war i n Russia and America, and the s t i l l undeveloped nature of overseas farm lands had put an e f f e c t i v e l i m i t on the amount of foreign grain a v a i l a b l e . 41. Martin, S i r Theodore, L i f e o  the Prince Consort. London, Smith, Elder & Co., v o l . 5, 1882, p. 3. 42. C e c i l , Lady Gwendolen, L i f e of Robert. Marquis of S a l i -sbury. London, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1931-32 v o l . 1, p. 337. 43. Mo-rley, op_. c i t . . p. 332. 44. Fox, A. W., " A g r i c u l t u r a l Wages i n England," Journal of  the Royal S t a t i s t i c a l Society, v o l . 66 (June 1903), pp. 273-348. 16 Actually, the amount of wheat imported into B r i t a i n rose quite slowly u n t i l the 'seventies—from 4,850,000 quarters 45 i n 1850 to 8,611,000 i n 1870. I t was not u n t i l a f t e r 1870 that grain from abroad began to inundate the B r i t i s h market, and to drive the home farmer to the verge of r u i n . Cobden's second prediction, the dream of a Free Trade World never approached r e a l i t y . Admittedly for a short time i n the ' f i f t i e s i t seemed to be a p o s s i b i l i t y : Holland, Switzerland and Portugal had no protective b a r r i e r s ; Spain, Russia, Austria, Belgium and the Z o l l e r e i n States a l l made gestures towards lowering t a r i f f s ; and France under Napoleon I I I seemed to be working towards t h i s goal. The Anglo-French Commercial Treaty of January 25, 1860, which Cobden did so much to negotiate, appeared to further the trend. I t was no surprise to him, however, that the agreement met 46 strong opposition i n France, and that Free Trade made no further progress i n that State. In 1861 the United States •adopted the M o r r i l l T a r i f f , which was raised i n succeeding years u n t i l i n 1864 i t reached the general l e v e l of f o r t y -47 seven per cent. In the next decade France reversed i t s e a r l i e r stand; Germany likewise adopted the high t a r i f f programme advocated t h i r t y years e a r l i e r by Frederick L i s t . 45. Page, op. c i t . , v o l . 2, pp. 140-141. 46. Morley, p_p_. c i t . , p. 710. 47. Faulkner, H. U., American P o l i t i c a l and Social History, New York,. F. S. Crofts & Co., 1941, p. 356. 17 No encouragement was to be found i n the colonies overseas, where, led by Canada, revenue t a r i f f s came to have an i n -48 creasingly pr o t e c t i o n i s t flavour. These, however, were a l l remote considerations to the average Englishman, who, as long as the general prosper-i t y continued, seldom i f ever thought of questioning the nation's trading position. I t was not u n t i l a short sharp recession beginning i n 1867 appeared, that some doubts were 49 apparently expressed. In 1868 a number of pamphlets were produced c a l l i n g f or the adoption of a r e t a l i a t o r y t a r i f f programme—whereby B r i t a i n could force other states into r e c i p r o c a l Free Trade. In the next year appeared the Association of the 'Revivers' of B r i t i s h Industry, with i t s headquarters i n Manchester, of a l l places. Although i t 50 c a r e f u l l y renounced any desire to tax imported corn, and claimed, as did so many of i t s successors, that i t simply wished to use protection as a means to creating a Free Trade World, i t f a i l e d to win a following, and died within a year. A F i s c a l Reform League i n 1870, and a Reciprocity Free Trade Association i n 1871 had s i m i l a r l y b r i e f careers, as the business cycle once again resumed i t s upward surge. 48. Skelton, 0. D., The L i f e and Times of Andrew Tillo:ch, Gait, Toronto, Oxford University Press, 1920, pp.267-277. 49. Fuchs, C. J . , The Trade P o s i t i o n of Great B r i t a i n and  Her Colonies since 1860, London, MacMillan and Company Limited, 1905, p. 189. 50. Brown, B. H., The T a r i f f Reform Movement i n Great B r i t -a i n , 1881-1895, New York, Columbia University Press, 1943, p. 6. 18 I t was not u n t i l 1874 that the tide of prosperity-gave signs of having turned, and the nation entered on the 51 twenty-one year period i n which pr i c e s , i n t e r e s t and often employment moved steadily downward. The early years of the •Great Depression' appear to have been amongst the worst. "What employment s t a t i s t i c s are available f or the 'seventies c e r t a i n l y confirm a l l the other evidence which suggests a long dreary i n d u s t r i a l ebb from 1874 to 1879, that black year both: f o r manufactures and agriculture i n which so f a r as we know there was more unemployment than i n any year during the 52 second hal f of the nineteenth century except 1858." So widespread and severe was the d i s t r e s s that even Mr. Punch was c a l l i n g , i n January 1879, for a "... cessation of party s t r i f e to drive the wolf from the door," and was recommend-53 ing "... a voluntary curtailment of the luxuries of the rich'.' After 1879 economic conditions o s c i l l a t e d , with p a r t i c u l a r trades enjoying, on occasions, r e l a t i v e l y good years. A d e f i n i t e r e v i v a l set i n i n 1887; exports of United Kingdom produce, f o r instance, rose from £212,000,000 i n 1886 54 to £263,000,000 i n 1890. Unfortunately i t was short l i v e d , and when the increased a c t i v i t y of the above years tapered o f f i n 1891, the downward plunge was again resumed. Most 51. Clapham, op_. c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 12. 52. I b i d . , p. 6. 53. Graves, C. L., Mr. Punch's History of Modern England, London, Cassell and Company, Ltd., 1922, v o l . 3, p. 74. 54. Page, OJJ. c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 73. 19 prices reached 'rock bottom' i n 1896, and then rebounded ra p i d l y ; i t was not u n t i l 1899, however, that exports again 55 reached the 1890 l e v e l . I t was natural that under such circumstances, con-56 cern, though often quite unfounded, should be f e l t about the nation's in t e r n a t i o n a l trading p o s i t i o n , and p a r t i c u l a r l y about the competitive strength of the new i n d u s t r i a l states i n both home and overseas markets. Germany's economic pro-gress had come as no surprise, for i t had been c a r e f u l l y watched i n B r i t a i n , v/here indeed, u n t i l the 'nineties, Ger-57 man exports were the object of concern rather than of alarm. I t was> rather, the tremendous r i s e i n America's exports of manufactured goods which was "...to most Englishmen surpris-58 in g . . . . " and disquieteaing. Statesmen, business men, and p a r t i c u l a r l y men who v/ere both, became increasingly aware of v i t a l changes i n world trade as the economic stagnation at home continued. Not, however, u n t i l Joseph Chamberlain reached the Colonial Office were detailed steps taken to as-sess the implications of th i s new fa c t o r . Internal economic di s t r e s s produced a much quicker reaction i n another d i r e c t i o n . As early as 1877, the s e r i -ousness of the s i t u a t i o n was c a r e f u l l y described i n a l e t t e r to The Economist by a Liverpool Free Trader, William Rath-55. Loc". cit..-..:. 56. Clapham, op_. c i t . , v o l . 3,' p. 33. 57. I b i d . . p. 38. 58. I b i d . . p. 37. 20 bone. He argued that "...the country, as a whole, has been extravagant, and has overspent to an extent which i s reduc-.59 60 ing i t s c a p i t a l and eating into i t s savings." Retrenchment on a national and i n d i v i d u a l basis was his suggested remedy— t a r i f f s were not mentioned. A much more daring observer, however, was Lord Bateman, who, i n the same month i n a l e t t e r to The Times, l a i d the blame for B r i t a i n ' s economic i l l s 61 squarely at the door of "...free imports." This l e t t e r 62 " . . . l e t the floodgates down....," the topic was almost immediately revived i n a host of publications. "After 1877 63 protection was part of England's table t a l k . " During the next four years a v e r i t a b l e host of small p r o t e c t i o n i s t societies appeared. Such c i t i e s as Brad-ford, the home of the depressed worsted industry, became centres of the a g i t a t i o n . Numerous farmerst organizations became openly p r o t e c t i o n i s t . The movement received a d e f i n -i t e impetus from c o l o n i a l p r o t e c t i o n i s t s — n o t a b l y Gait, T i l l e y , Tupper and Macdonald—who made no secret of t h e i r 64 conviction that Free Trade i n B r i t a i n had f a i l e d , and that the Mother Land should adopt Imperial P r e f e r e n t i a l arrange-ments. By f a r the most e f f e c t i v e support for the t a r i f f re-59. Clapham agre s that t h i s was o f  the years 1875-77, and possibly u n t i l 1879. cf. Clapham, op_. cit.vol.3,p.23. 60. The Economist, November 24, 1877, p. 1396. 61. The Times, November 12, 1877—cited i n Brown, op_. c i t . p. 10. . 62. Brown, op_. c i t . , p. 10. 63. I b i d . . p. ,9. 64. I b i d . . p. 13; Skelton, OJJ. c i t . , p. 534. 21 form a g i t a t i o n , however, came from the manufacturers i n the export trades; and i t was from t h e i r ranks, i n 1881, that the leadership appeared for the newly organized National F a i r  Trade League. So vigorous was the campaign of th i s associa-t i o n during i t s ten year l i f e , that 'Fair Trade' and various forms of protection suggested at t h i s time became almost synonymous. This was the case, i n spite of the fact that large.numbers of active P r o t e c t i o n i s t s never joined i t s ranks, and of those who did many eventually l e f t i t . The Fa i r Trade League's programme was concrete, and, i n the l i g h t of l a t e r proposals, worth quoting at some length. ' I . . . . no renewal of Commercial Treaties, unless terminable at a year's notice, so that no entanglements of this kind.may stand i n the way of our adopting such a f i s c a l policy as the interests of the Empire—and the action of f o r -eign nations—may render us e f u l . I I . Imports of Raw Materials for Home Industries Free, from every quarter,.... I I I . Adequate Import Duties to be levied upon the Manufactures of Foreign States refus-ing to receive our manufactures i n f a i r exchange, to be removed i n the case of any nation agre-eing to take B r i t i s h Manufactures duty free. IV.' A very Moderate iDuty^to be le v i e d upon a l l A r t i c l e s of Food from Foreign Countries, the same being admitted free from a l l parts of our own Empire, prepared to take our manufactures i n reasonably free interchange.' 65. The reaction of the L i b e r a l Party to these sug-gestions, were, of course, an unqualified 'No.' Gait 65. Cited i n Fuchs, op_. c i t . , p. 195. Apparently taken d i r e c t l y from the League's p u b l i c a t i o n — F a i r Trade. 22 records that he found i t s e l e c t o r a l v i c t o r y i n 1880 generally interpreted as a popular re-endorsation of Free Trade- p r i n c i -ples, and amongst L i b e r a l ranks, only S i r Charles Dilke at a l l i n c l i n e d to the 'Reciprocity Heresy.' Gait added that Dilke "... quite laughed, however, at the idea of Gladstone's 66 consenting to anything of the kind...." John Bright took up the issue again, and re-asserted his conviction that "...the best defence we can have against the e v i l of foreign 67 t a r i f f s i s to have no t a r i f f of our own." The Conservative Party, on the other hand, was i n a somewhat d i f f e r e n t position. I t i s true that general prosperity and the popular appeal of the 'cheap loaf* had almost completely silenced p r o t e c t i o n i s t sentiment i n i t s ranks for nearly t h i r t y years. I t i s also true that numb-ers of Conservatives had become as e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y Cobdenite as any of the followers of Gladstone. Nevertheless, the average supporter- of D i s r a e l i , and l a t e r of- Salisbury, was much less r i g i d i n his adherence to Free Trade than was his L i b e r a l counterpart. When D i s r a e l i himself, f o r instance, faced Lord Bateman on the issue of Reciprocity i n the House of Lords i n 1879, although he described i t as a 'phantom' and 'dead'—because the p r a c t i c a l means of obtaining i t ( i e . t a r i f f s with which to bargain) had been given up—he 68 refused to disown i t as a p r i n c i p l e . "I hold myself free 66. Skelton, op_. c i t . , p. 534. 67. Trevelyan, opv c i t . p. 441. 68. Hansard, (3rd Series), CCXLV, A p r i l 29, 1879, c.192-5. 23 69 on that part of the subject," he declared. Furthermore, he went so far as to admit that some of the depression i n r u r a l England was probably the d i r e c t r e s u l t of action taken i n 1846. Thus i t was that for " . . . p r o t e c t i o n i s t s , F a i r Traders, and t a r i f f reformers of every description, every road led d i r e c t l y to the Conservative Party." As a r e s u l t , the stage was set for numerous Tories to embrace T a r i f f Reform i n the early 'eighties—none with more enthusiasm than Lord Randolph C h u r c h i l l , who espoused the cause i n 1881 "... with c h a r a c t e r i s t i c vigour and happy 70 i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . " Conservative, Lord Dunraven, became president of the F a i r Trade League. Another, Mr. W. Farrer Ecroyd, the head of a great firm of worsted spinners, and one of the organizers of the F a i r Trade League, was elected to Parliament i n May of 1881 on a straight P r o t e c t i o n i s t programme. Lord Salisbury, who was to dominate Conservative Party action and much of i t s thought on t h i s issue for twen-ty years, soon made his position c l e a r — b y 1883, "... an j':open-minded' reconsideration of the p r i n c i p l e s and r e s u l t s 72 of Free-trade" was one of his p u b l i c l y avowed objectives. The Cobdenite Economist, i n reporting t h i s observation, was able to add rather sourly that S i r Stafford Northcote, .the Conservative leader i n the Commons, had gone at lea s t as f a r 69. I b i d . , e. 193. 70. C h u r c h i l l , W. S., Lord Randolph C h u r c h i l l , London, MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1907,. p. 235. 71. This footnote omitted. 72. The Economist. A p r i l 14, 1883, p. 427. 24 73 as t h i s as early as 1881. During the next two years Lord Salisbury went s t i l l f arther: f i r s t , by speaking "...regret-f u l l y of our i n a b i l i t y to combat h o s t i l e t a r i f f s by the im-pos i t i o n of countervailing duties upon imports into t h i s 74 country..." and l a t e r , by asking "...why should we not im-75 pose d i f f e r e n t i a l duties i n favour of our colonies..." Nevertheless, he retorted to L i b e r a l charges that these sen-76 timents endangered the cheap loaf with " I t ' s a thumping l i e , " and reaffirmed his adherence to "Free Trade as i t issued from 77 the hands of o r i g i n a l teachers." This C e c i l i a n d i a l e c t i c ' was a personal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , of course, but i t also r e f l e -cted h i s ref u s a l to adopt prematurely a stand which he we l l knew would mean p o l i t i c a l suicide. P r o t e c t i o n i s t hopes must have r i s e n i n June, 1885, when the newly formed Conservative Government included s i x cabinet ministers known to be favourable to the cause. Possibly, only the dependence on P a r n e l l and the I r i s h vote delayed a bold move on t h e i r part. Gladstone himself wrote to Goschen at t h i s time: "... i n my opinion the r e l a t i v e prosperity of Toryism i n the English Boroughs has been due i n the main to the two Bogies of the Church and F a i r Trade, and c h i e f l y to the l a s t which i s the worst and i n every way 78 despicable." The Government did go so far as to appoint 73. Loc. c i t . • 74. The Economist. A p r i l 19, 1884, p. 476. 75. I b i d . . November 7, 1885, p. 1347. 76. Cited i n C e c i l , Lady G., op., c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 627. 77. The Economist. November 7, 1885, p. 1347. 78. November 26, 1885, cite d i n E l l i o t , A.D., The L i f e of  George Joachim Goschen, London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1911, v o l . 1, p. 314. a Royal Commission to inquire into the state of the nation's trade and i n d u s t r y — i n the face of strong opposition from 79 the L i b e r a l s , who feared a p r o t e c t i o n i s t p l o t . But while the actual formation of t h i s body le d to a series of p a r t i -san b a t t l e s , i t s report, issued i n 1887 aroused very few. I t acknowledged the existence of a depression, and described i t s causes as f a l l i n g p r ices, foreign competition, and over 80 production. I t made no mention of t a r i f f r e t a l i a t i o n , how-ever, and the disappointed F a i r Traders had to be content 81 with a minority report stating t h e i r case. In 1886 the Pr o t e c t i o n i s t s had the bad luck of f i n d ing t h e i r cause sadly complicated by the Home Rule issue, and the r e s u l t i n g L i b e r a l Party schism. The Unionist Government which came to power that year was e n t i r e l y dependent upon the continued adherence of the L i b e r a l wing under Hartington and Chamberlain—both, at t h i s time, outstanding Free Trade cham-pions. During the next year and a h a l f , however, i n sp i t e of t h i s deterrent, there was a steady d r i f t to f i s c a l reform as a p o l i c y i n Conservative ranks. Further set-backs appeared i n 1887—notably when Lord Randolph C h u r c h i l l changed his p o s i t i o n , and openly 79. Brown, op. c i t . . p. 63. 80. Fuchs, op., c i t . . p. 199. .81. The signatories of the minority report were a l l well known F a i r Traders: Farrer Ecroyd; P. A. Muntzj N. Lub-bock; Lord Dunraven. See Clapham, op_. c i t . . v o l . 2, p. 260. 26 declared, i n October of that year: The main reason why I do not j o i n myself with the P r o t e c t i o n i s t s i s that I believe that low prices i n the necessaries of l i f e and p o l -i t i c a l s t a b i l i t y i n a democratic c o n s t i t u t i o n are p r a c t i c a l l y inseparable, and that high prices i n the necessaries of l i f e and p o l i t i c a l i n s t a b i l i t y i n a democratic co n s t i t u t i o n are p r a c t i c a l l y inescapable. 82 In short, says his son, Lord Randolph had come to the conclu-sion "... that as a f i n a n c i a l expedient a complicated t a r i f f would not work, and he was sure that as a party manoeuvre i t 83 would not pay." Almost simultaneously, however, a new F a i r Trade champion appeared i n the person of Col. Howard Vincent, a S h e f f i e l d M. P., and an ex-Free Trader, army o f f i c e r , lawyer, and Scotland Yard o f f i c i a l . With a vigour f o r which he was noted, Vincent introduced a r e s o l u t i o n on the opening day of the Annual Conservative Party Conference at Oxford, i n November, 1887, c a l l i n g f or "...speedy reform i n the policy 84 of the United Kingdom as regards foreign imports...." He did t h i s i n spite of the well known insistence of Lord S a l i s -bury that the subject be not raised, and was delighted to 85 see the meeting approve i t by a vote of one thousand to twelve, The Prime Minister w e l l knew that the gathering "... served c h i e f l y as an opportunity for the more ardent young men to 82. c i t e d i n C h u r c h i l l , op..- c i t . . p. 692. 83. I b i d . . p. 695. 84. cited- i n Brawn, op_. c i t . . p. 69. 85. Jeyes, S. H., and How, F. D., The L i f e of S i r Howard Vin-cent. London, George A l l a n and Company Ltd., 1912.. to blow off steam....," and "...wisely enough, refrained from 86 s i t t i n g on the safety valve." When addressing the conven-t i o n himself, however, and praising.the two chief elements i n the Unionist ranks for t h e i r cooperation and abstention from contentious issues, he added t h i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n — " . . . O n 87 a l l present questions." He then continued: " I lay enor-mous emphasis on that adjective. I f you go to the questions which are i n the f a r past or the questions which are i n the 88 future, you may f i n d grave differences of opinion." A month l a t e r , while p u b l i c l y emphasizing his own lack of "...enthusiasm f o r the extreme s i m p l i c i t y of f i s c a l arrange-89 ments which i s due to Mr. Gladstone's introduction," he went further, and openly chided F a i r Traders for t h e i r lack either of precision or agreement. What had happened? B a s i c a l l y the explanation i s simple. Lord Salisbury had recognized that, while opposition to the established f i s c a l p o l i c y was widespread i n the ranks of his followers, i f i t was allowed to become a demand fo r action the c o a l i t i o n would disappear. Thus, he had c a l l e d a halt, and the Conservatives, as a party, followed him l o y a l l y . I t was no wonder that i n December, 1887, the Economist could r e j o i c e : "A:\word from Lord Salisbury, and the mighty e d i f i c e compounded of f a l l a c i e s and rhetoric that Mr. Howard Vincent has been busy blowing for the l a s t two months has melted into t h i n a i r . " 90. 86. I b i d . , pp. 215-216 87 - 88. C e c i l , Lady G., op., c i t . v o l . 4, p. 178. 89. I b i d . , v o l . 4, p. 181. 90. The Economist. December 24, 1887, pp. 1622-3. 28 Only Vincent and a few die hards remained unconvinced, arid . l i t t l e was heard of any variety, of t a r i f f reform during the. next two years. Not u n t i l 1890 was the ' u n o f f i c i a l ban' somewhat eased by the weakening of the opposition forces a f t e r the Gladstone-Pamell s p l i t , and by the gradual mellowing of the L i b e r a l Unionists i n t h e i r new association. Furthermore, 91 the impact of the McKinley u a r i f f , the shock of which "...did more than ten years of Free Trade a g i t a t i o n to bring 92 d i s c r e d i t to the Cobdenite school," strengthened the Protectionists' case. Their fervor r o s e , u n t i l i n 1892 Lord Salisbury openly endorsed the concept of r e t a l i a t i o n as a 93 means of obtaining a Free Trade World. F i s c a l reform thus played some part i n the e l e c t i o n of that year, but to what extent i t a c t u a l l y influenced voters faced with such ques-tions as Home Rule and Disestablishment i t i s impossible to say. Certainly, the unexpectedly narrov/ L i b e r a l v i c t o r y did have the eff e c t of convincing many a Tory that Protection was no longer the 'poisoned c h a l i c e 1 of days gone by^. The party's annual conference i n December thus once more approv-ed by a l a r g e majority a resolution c a l l i n g f o r t a r i f f reform. 91. Clapham points out that i t s ef f e c t on B r i t a i n was prob-ably exaggerated at the time. The trend which i t accen-tuated already existed. Clapham, op., c i t . v o l . 3, p. 8. 92. iBrxwn, op. c i t . p. 76. 93. I b i d . , p. 30. 94. I b i d . , p. 31. 29 I t i s somewhat paradoxical, to have to ref e r , f i n -a l l y , to an almost complete eclipse i n t a r i f f reform agita- : t i o n amongst the Conservative rank-and-file during the years between 1892 and 1895. A number of explanations can be o f f -ered: the necessity for compromise during the continuing ; fusion of Unionist ranks; the great concern i n the B r i t a i n of the 'nineties with imperial expansion rather than imperial preference; the pre-occupation of Parliament and the country with such domestic issues as Home Rule; and the apparent reversal of the pendulum i n the United States with Cleveland's r e - e l e c t i o n . Whatever the cause, during t h i s period the p r o t e c t i o n i s t movement f e l l l a r g e l y into a g r i c u l t u r a l hands; bi-metallism was proposed by many as a solution to the coun-^ try's i l l s ; arid Mr. Vincent was reduced to harassing the government on i t s purchases of foreign made supplies, arid on i t s allowing the importation of the manufactures of foreign prisons. A s i g n i f i c a n t feature of B r i t i s h l i f e during the l a s t quarter of the Nineteenth Century was the widespread repudiation, i n a l l walks of l i f e , of the pessimistic view of the future of colonies so long preached by the Manchester School. Early F a i r Traders, such as Ecroyd, Gait, and S i r 95. Brown, op_. c i t . . p. 95. 96. Hansard. (4th Series) XXV, June 15, 1894, c o l . 112-13 XXVII, July 30, 1894, " 1240 XXVIII, August 16, 1894, c o l . 1221 30 Frederick Young of the Royal Co l o n i a l I n s t i t u t e , were amongst the most enthusiastic supporters of the new imperial consci-ousness and frankly sought to associate t h e i r economic pro-posals with t h i s rapidly growing sentiment. I t w i l l be re-membered that the i d e a l of an Imperial Preference had been adopted by the F a i r Ticade League i n 1881, with the proposal 97 that a l l c o l o n i a l food be admitted duty free. When, there-fore, the Imperial Federation League was formed i n 1884, i t was no accident that Young, S i r Charles Tupper and Lord Dun-raven became three of i t s most active members. The attempt to associate these two movements, how-ever, was none too successful. Not only was the new imper-i a l i s m non-protectionist i n i t s inception, but, although i t came close to i t for a while i n the 'seventies, i t was the exclusive monopoly of neither p o l i t i c a l party. W. Ei. Forster, i. Chamberlain and D i l k e — a l l noted L i b e r a l Free Traders at the time—were 1 amongst i t s strongest supporters. Thus, the Imperial Federation League refused to become embroiled i n the f i s c a l question, and with c h a r a c t e r i s t i c stubbornness, main-tained t h i s p o s ition u n t i l i t s demise. There was a further reason f o r the f a i l u r e of these early attempts to combine Protection with the new i n t e r e s t i n Empire. I t was the wide-l y , and c o r r e c t l y , held suspicion i n England that " . . . F a i r Traders were, as a group, pr o t e c t i o n i s t s f i r s t and imperial-98 . : •'. i s t s afterwards." Many observers had the impression that 97. See page 21. 98. Brown, op_. c i t . , p. 90. 31 adherents of the F a i r Trade League "... were merely stowaways on the good ship Empire," as Brown puts i t , "because t h e i r 99 own p r o t e c t i o n i s t ship had l i t t l e prospect of making port." The f i s c a l reformers, nevertheless, persisted i n t h i s avenue of approach to t h e i r goal. Numerous attempts were made to have the Imperial Federation League define or plan i n d e t a i l i t s objectives. The Protect i o n i s t s strongly urged, for instance, that the concept of a Zbillv e r e i n was complementary to that of the widely advocated Kriegsverein, 100 or "... combination f o r defence." A l l f a i l e d . S i m i l a r l y unsuccessful were the attempts made i n 1886 to win the F i r s t Congress of the Chambers.o:f Commerce of the B r i t i s h Empire to 101 an endorsation of f i s c a l reform. Much more encouraging, however, from a protection-i s t point of view was the F i r s t Colonial Conference of 1887. Here the issue was raised, i n spite of the declared wish of Lord Salisbury that discussions on Imperial Federation and an Imperial Customs Union be put a s i d e — i n favour of the Kriegsverein idea, which he believed to be "... the r e a l and 102. most important business...." upon which the delegates were engaged. The c u l p r i t s on t h i s occasion were Jan Hoj^fmeyr of Cape Colony and S i r Samuel G r i f f i t h of New Zealand, who pre-99. I b i d , p. 89. 100. Hythe, Viscount, Problems of Empire—The F a i t h of a Fed-e r a l i s t . London, Longmans Green and Co., 1913, p. 18. 101. Brown, op_. c i t . , p. 92. 102. Jebb, R., The Imperial Conference, London, Longmans Green and Co., 1911, v o l . 1, p. 18. 32 sented the case for ' d i f f e r e n t i a l duties' i n able speeches. These e f f o r t s , and Hoffmeyr's adroitness i n suggesting that revenue thus raised be used f o r Imperial Defence notwithstan-ding, the Home Government quickly 'sat on' the idea, and for reasons already discussed, cut off any discussion of i t both at the Conference and amongst i t s own supporters i n the United Kingdom. During the next three years, consequently, i t was i n the Colonies rather than at- Home that the cause of Imperial Preference was most a c t i v e l y promoted With the r e v i v a l of P r o t e c t i o n i s t sentiment amongst B r i t i s h Conservatives between 1890 and 1892, a f i n a l attempt was made to win over the Imperial Federation League. To the 103 disgust of such 'c o l o n i a l ' enthusiasts as Sirc:Georg.ecDBriison, and such l o c a l stalwarts as Howard Vincent, i t also f a i l e d . The l a t t e r , therefore, took the lead i n 1891 i n organizing a new body, the United Empire Trade League, to promote the cause. Amongst i t s e a r l i e s t members were those ardent Pro^ "104 t e c t i o n i s t s S. Cu n l i f f e L i s t e r , J . Lowther, and D. Maclver; S i r J . Milner was prominent i n i t s early deliberations, and S i r A. T. Gaii> was a vice-president. Soon aft e r i t s incep-t i o n the F a i r Trade League passed q u i e t l y out of existence. 103. Denison, T., The Struggle f o r Imperial Unity. London, MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1909, p. 141-2. 104. C u n l i f f e L i s t e r and Maclver, mill-owning and shipping magnates respectively, were charter members- of the F a i r Trade League. Lowther was a noted parliamentary advo-cate of protection f o r a g r i c u l t u r e . 3 3 For a while the United Empire Trade League seemed to be having considerable success. The National Conference of the Conservative Party i n 1891 endorsed the p r i n c i p l e of 105 Imperial Preference. Vincent made a rapid tour of Canadi-an c i t i e s and found widespread enthusiasm for such an arran-gement. To some extent, apparently, Salisbury had given him the 'go ahead' signal to s o l i d i f y public opinion. However, the second Congress of Chambers of Commerce of the Empire, meeting i n 1892, again refused to endorse Protection—even of the Imperial v a r i e t y . Furthermore, when i n 1891, the 106 Canadian Parliament i n a j o i n t address c a l l e d f or an end to the Belgian and German Commercial Treaties, and l a t e r followed t h i s request with an o f f e r of p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment 107 i n the Canadian market i f B r i t a i n would reciprocate, the Unionist government made i t clear that i t was s t i l l not pre-pared to take any d e f i n i t e action i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n . S i r Michael Hicks Beach, the Colonial Secretary,, made i t clear that, the government was unhappy about the s i t u a t i o n , but un-w i l l i n g to drop agreements which brought r e a l benefits to 108 the Mother Land. Lord Salisbury took a s i m i l a r stand when 105. Brown, op. cit..pp. 78-9. 106. Tyler, J . E7T~The Struggle for Imperial Unity. (1868-1895). London, Longm ns Green and Company, 1938, pp.195-6. 107. The 'offer* was i n the form of a resolution approved by the Canadian House of Commons. Annett, D. R., B r i t i s h  Preference i n Canadian Commercial P o l i c y . Toronto, The Ryerson Press, 1948, p. .24. . 108. Jeyes and How, op. c i t . . p. 117. 34 109 receiving a deputation from the United Empire Trade League. Another j o l t to the dreams of the League was the r i s i n g appreciation i n England of a fundamental difference between Imperial Preference as i t was advocated there, and as i t was almost always propounded overseas. In other words, i t was gradually r e a l i z e d that the Colonies* goal of ..." 110 f r e e r trade within the B r i t i s h Empire....," as Tapper put i t , meant anything but free trade under the Union Jack.Tariff Reformers thus had to acknowledge that an Imperial Z'ollverein was an impossibility—because of the extent to which customs and excise duties provided c o l o n i a l revenue. But Free Trad-ers were quick to point out that the issue was much deeper, and became, ultimately;, one of continued c o l o n i a l adherence to protection. Thus the Economist remarked that a l l United Empire Trade League members "concurred i n recommending us to tax the people of t h i s country for the benefit of c o l o n i a l producers.... And while we are to tax ourselves for t h e i r benefit, the Colonies are to continue to raise revenue by the taxation of our products. They may reduce the duty on them to some extent, but not one of them proposes even to accord to us what we already accord to 111 them—a free entry into the home markets....1' .Any uncertainty about the attitude of the Home Government during the l a s t three years of the period under 109. Tyler, op_. c i t * . p. 193. 110. Speech at Epsom, 1898. Hythe, op_. c i t . , p . 18. Hythe, though a Free Trader, was prepared to accept Imperial Preference i f the colonies were thereby induced "... to bear t h e i r f a i r share of the cost of Imperial defence." p. 17. 111. The Economist. A p r i l 15, 1893, p. 441; Tyler, op., c i t . . p. 203. review disappeared with the L i b e r a l triumph of 1892. Glad-stone was as adamant as ever; i n 1893, for instance, he f l a t l y refused to meet a delegation from the United Empire Trade League. For reasons already noted, the P r o t e c t i o n i s t movement was dormant i n Conservative c i r c l e s . I t i s not surprising, therefore, that the movement f o r Imperial Prefer-ence passed once more largely into the hands of i t s c o l o n i a l supporters. The idea was c l e a r l y endorsed at Ottawa i n 1894, when the I n t e r c o l o n i a l Conference recorded " . . . i t s b e l i e f i n the a d v i s a b i l i t y i n a customs arrangement between Great B r i -t a i n and her Colonies by which trade within the Empire may be placed on a more favourable footing than that which i s 112 carried on with foreign countries." But Lord Rosebery, the new B r i t i s h Prime Minister, was as enthusiastic a Free 113 Trader as his predecessor. Thus the year 1895 opened with a famous c i r c u l a r dispatch from Lord Ripon, the Coloni-a l Secretary, i n which a l l C olonial Governors were informed that the Home Government would not adopt d i f f e r e n t i a l duties favouring the Overseas Empire, and that i t was very dubious about the merits of reciprocal preference among the Colonies 114 themselves. Reference has already been made to the fact the new p r o t e c t i o n i s t campaign was f i r s t of a l l i n d u s t r i a l i n i t s 112. Jebb, op_. c i t . v o l . 1, p. 188. 113. Crewe, Marquess of, Lord Rosebery, London, John Murray, 1931, v o l . 2, pp. 541-2. 114. Annett, op_. c i t . , p. 26. 36 i n c e p t i o n — t h a t manufacturing interests dominated the major-i t y of the Pr o t e c t i o n i s t s o c i e t i e s , and p a r t i c u l a r l y the F a i r Trade League. I t was hardly an accident, consequently, that as a general rule the a c t i v i t i e s of such bodies flourished when the disruption of trade was at i t s height, and were i n -115 clin e d to f a l l o f f when a r e v i v a l appeared. I t was conse-quently understandable that the leading i n d u s t r i a l centers supporting F a i r Trade—for example, S h e f f i e l d and Birmingham— were those producing goods which were p a r t i c u l a r l y suscept-i b l e to swings i n the business cycle, which were often the targets of foreign t a r i f f s , which were often s p e c i a l t i e s of the new i n d u s t r i a l states, and which had already found ex-tensive markets i n the Colonies overseas. Exactly how wide-spread the desire to modify the nation's f i s c a l system was i n i n d u s t r i a l c i r c l e s , i t i s impossible to say. Apparently i t was on the increase; i t c e r t a i n l y existed to the extent that sharp differences of opinion within the ranks of many Chambers of Commerce were ref l e c t e d i n the general terms i n which the Chambers submitted t h e i r views to the Royal Com-116 mission on the Depression i n Trade and Industry i n 1886. I t i s somewhat easier to assess the reaction of organized labour to the new heresies, f or the attempts i n the .'eighties to. e n l i s t i t on the p r o t e c t i o n i s t side make a b r i e f and rather sorry t a l e . I t i s clear that some trade 115. Brown, op., c i t . p. 142. 116. I b i d . . p. 141. 37, unionists had "begun to question the wisdom of Free Trade i n the 'seventies; indeed, a few holding such views had attended the Trade Union Congress Convention at B r i s t o l , i n 1878, and 117 had "...made a serious disturbance." Early i n the new decade, however, the approach to unionized labour was compli-cated by a rather f a n t a s t i c decision on the part of some Fai r Trade League leaders to obtain the support of the working man—if necessary, at any cost. Thus a National League was formed to screen the manufacturers' support, and the d i r e c t f i n a n c i a l subsidization of trade union leaders with protec-t i o n i s t views began. The upshot of t h i s move was two f o l d ; i t attracted a group of bizarre and disreputable advocates; and i t led to an uproar i n the Trade Union Congress i n 1881, which found i t necessary to expel those delegates whose "...expenses were not paid by the Trade Union organizations 118 which they nominally represented. Even t h i s debacle, and the rapid collapse of the National League, did not convince the F a i r Traders of the ineffectiveness of t h e i r p o l i c y , and the support to the 'mercenaries' continued. The movement, however, rapidly degenerated, and when an attempt was made to question the i n t e g r i t y of the Trade Union Congress lead-ers i n 1882, the F a i r Trade Unionists were completely d i s -credited. Those l e f t by 1886 had become rabble rousers,--aptly described by Punch as "sed i t i o n spouters," and 117. Webb,--Sidney..-and Beatrice, The History of Trade Unionism. - London, Longmans Green and Co., 1920,. p. 394. 118. I b i d . . p. 395. i 38 119 "...cowardly Catttlines of the gutter." Somewhat greater success met the ef f o r t s of the B r i t i s h sugar refiners and the West Indian plantation owners to e n l i s t the workingman's support i n t h e i r campaign against the importation of bounty-produced sugar. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the sugar interests dis"claimed ( not only P r o t e c t i o n i s t aims (as did p r a c t i c a l l y a l l other t a r i f f reformers at t h i s time), but also any connection with the Fa i r Trade movement. The widespread unemployment amongst refinery workers undoubt-edly aroused considerable sympathy i n the ranks of labour, but the extent of i t , and the degree to which i n the trade unionist's eyes i t j u s t i f i e d 'countervailing duties'—one of 120 the suggested remedies—remain unknown. B r i e f l y , i t i s clear that by 1890 ". . . F a i r Trade, i n so f a r as i t aimed to r a l l y the labouring masses, had 121 missed the boat." When the German economic h i s t o r i a n , C a r l Fuchs, questioned John Burns on the issue, he was i n -formed that the labouring classes would support Free "Trade "...so long as i t seems to further t h e i r i n t e r e s t s , " and that they would adopt "...Protection or F a i r Trade, without dogmatic or theoretic scruples, should they at any time see 122 any advantage i n i t . " But t h i s , of course, was an over-119. Graves, op_. c i t . , P. 7. The description was intended to apply equally to the followers of John Burns. 120. Brown, p_p_. c i t . , p. 52. 121. I b i d . , p. 56. 122. Fuchs, op_. c i t . . p. 204:, 39 s i m p l i f i c a t i o n of the case; the sentimental adherence to Free Trade amongst his own followers was s t i l l immensely strong. Furthermore, the Socialism which he and Kier Hardie were at that time so e f f e c t i v e l y planting was to make any future attempt to r a t i o n a l l y associate the interests of the working men with those of the manufacturers a tough proposi-t i o n indeed. The nation's farmers, on the other hand, were much more receptive to the p r o t e c t i o n i s t cry; for the twenty years following 1875 were, to them, a period of complete disa s t e r . I t would be f a r from correct, however, to assume that even here economic distress meant either a rapid or a unanimous repudiation of Free Trade. In f a c t , during the l a t e 'seven-t i e s , when declining prices and crop f a i l u r e s were reducing the country side to a p i t i f u l state, the basic cause of the d i f f i c u l t y was largely overlooked, and,instead, was assumed to be, i n the words of an investigating Royal Commission, "...primarily a matter of weather, of a quite abnormal cycle 123 of dripping years." Nevertheless, i t was only natural that the though-ts of farmers i n B r i t a i n , and i n Western Europe generally, 124 should turn to Protection as a cure for t h e i r i l l s . 123. Clapham, op. c i t . . v o l . 2, p. 281. 124. Ensor, R.C.K., "Some P o l i t i c a l and Economic Interac-tions i n Later V i c t o r i a n England," Transactions of  the Royal H i s t o r i c a l Society, (4th Series), v o l . 31, March 1948, pp. 17-28, p. 21. By 1881 considerable P r o t e c t i o n i s t sentiment was evident i n B r i t i s h a g r i c u l t u r a l c i r c l e s — a l t h o u g h at t h i s time i t was 125 la r g e l y r e s t r i c t e d to the large land owners. The tenant farmers as a whole were s t i l l unconvinced, and rather i n -clined to look for a solution i n improved weather condit-ions, or i n a change i n the system of land tenure. By the time, however, that ten years of ever-mounting di s t r e s s had followed one another with no signs of improvement, i t was obvious that other explanations for the trouble had to be found; thus the importance of the tremendous increases i n 126 the consumption of foreign grain was gradually r e a l i z e d . By 1887 the r u r a l support to t a r i f f reform had reached con-siderable proportions, and an observer at Cambridge was wr i t i n g : The half-ruined farmers and landlords are complaining of the unequal competition- with Indian wheat, and probably nothing but the character of our land system has prevented the imposition of a moderate duty on corn. 127 A d i s t i n c t i v e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the r u r a l cry for Protection, however, was an acute r e a l i z a t i o n that the ob-stacles i n the way of i t s success were much more complex than the one mentioned above, and were, indeed at t h i s time 125. Brown, p_p_. c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 281. 126. Imports of wheat into Great B r i t a i n (quarters) 1870 - 8,611,000 1875 - 15,994,000 1880 - 15,974,000 1885 - 19,211,000 1890 - 19,222,000 1895 - 25,028,000 Page, op. c i t . , vol.2, pp.140-141 127. Foxwell, H. S., "The Economic Movement i n England," Quarterly Journal of Economics, v o l . 2, October 1887, pp. 84-105, p. 96. 41 well-nigh insuperable. The farmers' defeatism may have been partly the r e f l e c t i o n of t h e i r innate conservatism; but i t was c e r t a i n l y also the product of shrewd analysis. They were we l l aware that Mr. Ecroyd's F a i r Trade involved a re-endor-sation of the cheap l o a f . They were equally cognizant of the fact that the leading Parliamentary advocates of a g r i c u l t -128 u r a l protection were Unionists f i r s t , and P r o t e c t i o n i s t s a f t e r . I t was, consequently, no surprise to them that i n meither Unionist nor L i b e r a l ranks was there any considerable move to ease t h e i r p o s i t i o n when, i n 1894, wheat h i t an a l l -129 time low of 22s. lOd. Well indeed might Punch show the English farmers as "...Buridan's Ass between two piles' of ISO sapless chaff—Tory and L i b e r a l . . . . " Well might a modern h i s t o r i a n bewail that, when successive governments f a i l e d to heed the cry of r u r a l B r i t a i n , "...the whole of that once 131 f l o u r i s h i n g society went down into the p i t . " 128. Mr. James Lowther, and Mr. Henry Chaplin, the Unionist Minister of Agriculture i n 1892. 129. Clapham, op_. c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 13. 130. Graves, OJJ. c i t . , v o l . 4, p. 113. 131. Ensor, cvp_. c i t . . pp. 21-22. 42 CHAPTER I I . T a r i f f Reform and the Unionist Party 1895 - 1906 '•  "And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he t o l d i t his brethern, and they hated him yet the more." Genesis, 37:5. In view of the prominent r o l e played by f i s c a l reform i n the l i f e of the Unionist Party a f t e r 1903, the extent to which i t was p u b l i c l y ignored during the years 1895 -1901 can only be described as remarkable. I t seldom appear-ed as a subject of debate i n parliament, and was even les s 1 frequently mentioned In the learned journals, or i n the press. On t h i s topic, discreet silence was the approach of Conservative and L i b e r a l Unionist a l i k e . For t h i s there were a number of d e f i n i t e explana-tions. In the f i r s t place, although the second Salisbury government was a strong one (indeed, one of the strongest i n 2 B r i t i s h h i s t o r y ) i t was s t i l l a c o a l i t i o n , and the Prime Minister undoubtedly wished to keep p o t e n t i a l l y disruptive issues under cover. In the second place, the f a i l u r e of the 1. During the years 1895-1901, for instance, The Nineteenth  Century ran three a r t i c l e s on bi-metallism, but none ex-pressly on the f i s c a l problem. 2. Ensor, R.C.K., England. 1870-1914. Oxford, At the Claren-don Press, 1936, p. 221. 43 F a i r Traders to make any appreciable dent i n the armour of the nation's economy during the preceding decade seemed to have l e f t the Free Trade position stronger than ever. Cert-a i n l y i n the l a s t years of the century no outstanding states-man launched or openly supported a d i r e c t attack on i t . Other issues crowded the agenda of parliament—measures of s o c i a l reform, a new land p o l i c y for Ireland, educational changes, f r i c t i o n with Germany, with France, and with Russia, concern over the nation's i s o l a t i o n , and the r i s i n g spectre of war i n South A f r i c a . A further explanation was the decided improvement i n the domestic economy and the export trade which set i n a f t e r 1896, and which seemed to strengthen the case of the Unionist Free Traders. F i n a l l y , and perhaps the most im-portant of a l l considerations was the fact that at t h i s time the heart of Conservative strength was i n the boroughs, i n the large towns. Thus, although the Conservative-Unionist M.P. was t r a d i t i o n a l l y the representative of agrarian i n t e r -ests, the broad i n d u s t r i a l urban electorate was of necessity his f i r s t concern. The Economist rather shrewdly analyzed the Conservative position as follows: " I f a Conservative Government ever adopts a policy of protection, the trade which they w i l l most desire to protect w i l l be a g r i c u l t u r e . Their p r o t e c t i o n i s t schemes must begin Y/ith a duty on corn. But i t i s a matter beyond dispute that no tax on bread w i l l ever again be tolerated i n t his country. And who can believe that the friends of agriculture w i l l set up a system of protection from which they w i l l be r i g i d l y and permanently excluded." 3 3. The Economist. August 24, 1895, p. 1106. /~*\ [ 44 This journal erred, of course, i n the extent to which i t f a i l e d to appreciate the pot e n t i a l ramifications of the lead-ing factor i n the Unionist e l e c t o r a l triumph, the r i s i n g en-thusiasm for things imperial. That some expressions of pr o t e c t i o n i s t sentiment continued was only to be expected, and, as i n previous years, they came primarily from those Unionist rebels James Lowther and Howard Vincent. Lowther, f o r a while, was p a r t i c u l a r l y aggressive. On A p r i l 6, 1897, f o r instance, he proposed i n the House of Commons the levying of a 5s. duty on imported 4 corn; on May 20 i n the same year, he went farther while moving an amendment advocating a broadening of the basis of taxation. On t h i s l a t t e r occasion he not only suggested the 5s. levy on corn, but added a t a r i f f on imported manufact-ured goods—accompanied by a p r e f e r e n t i a l , but not a free 5 rate, on c o l o n i a l produce. The House of Commons greeted t h i s e f f o r t with a rather good-natured tolerance, and the short debate which ensued was monopolized by back benchers, u n t i l S i r Michael Hicks Beach, the Chancellor of the Exche-quer, and S i r William Harcourt, his predecessor, arose to dismiss his nonsense. Lowther eventually withdrew the amen-dment. Several years elapsed before such a debate again 4. Hansard. (4th Series), A p r i l 6, 1897, v o l . 48, c o l . 662-3. Lowther proposed simultaneously the a b o l i t i o n of duties on such produce as coffee, tea and cocoa. He calculated that the net cost of his scheme to the adult Briton would be I s . 7d. per y e a r — a small p r i c e , he argued, for restor-ing B r i t i s h a griculture. 5. Hansard. (4th Series), May 20, 1897, v o l . 49, c. 961-3. !45 appeared. Vincent pursued the same objective i n a more cau-tious manner, and maintained his parliamentary f i g h t against the importation of goods manufactured i n foreign prisons u n t i l rewarded with the passing of an act embodying his views • 6 i n 1897. As, however, the value of the goods concerned was i n f i n i t e s i m a l , the degree of protection a c t u a l l y involved was correspondingly minute. Furthermore, when he sought the passage of an amendment to the Merchandise Marks Act of 1887 with the avowed intention of more e f f e c t i v e l y l a b e l l i n g , and i n d i r e c t l y r e s t r i c t i n g the importation of foreign manufact-7 ures, the House turned him down. In the next year Vincent moved an amendment to the Queen1s Speech welcoming the gov-ernment' s awakening to the a r t i f i c i a l stimulation of sugar produced abroad, and i t s effects on the B r i t i s h West Indies, and c a l l i n g f or a si m i l a r approach to "...the a r t i f i c i a l stimulus given to foreign competition with the staple trades of the United Kingdom by foreign t a r i f f s , bounties, and 8 other f i s c a l means...." This motion was rejected without a discussion or a d i v i s i o n . Of f a r more importance than these comparatively 6. Hansard, (4th Series), February 23, 1897., v o l . 46, c.987 Ib i d . . February 18, 189.8, v o l . 53, c. 1044. 7. The 1887 Act simply required that the container i n which goods were packed "carry the name of the place of, o r i g i n . Vincent wished to extend"this requirement to"each a r t i c l e . 8. Hansard. (4th Ser.), February 10, 1898, v o l . 53, c o l . 341. feeble e f f o r t s were the changes taking place i n the f e r t i l e brain of the new Colonial S e c r e t a r y M r . Joseph Chamberlain. In 1885 he had been the i d o l of the Free Traders as the most scathing opponent of the Tory p r o t e c t i o n i s t s — a l t h o u g h the bitterness of his attacks had troubled not a few members of his own party. I t i s very clear that during the following ten years his outlook underwent a fundamental change. Less than s i x months aft e r his a r r i v a l at the Colonial Office he addressed a notable despatch to the "Governors of Colonies on the Question of Trade with the United Kingdom," (November 28, 1895), i n which he declared: "I am impressed with the extreme importance of securing as large a share as possible of the mutual trade of the United Kingdom and the Colo-nies f o r B r i t i s h producers and manufacturers, whether located i n the Colonies or i n the United Kingdom.... I wish to investigate thoroughly the extent to which i n each of the Colonies, foreign imports of any kind have displaced, or are d i s -placing, s i m i l a r B r i t i s h goods, and the causes of such displacement." 10 Here, of course, was to be seen Chamberlain the businessman, the proponent of the view that "commerce i s the greatest of 11 a l l p o l i t i c a l i n t e r e s t s , " already displaying a c e r t a i n anxiety as to the strength of foreign i n d u s t r i a l competition. He was not yet, however, the 'prophet of gloom' who i n l a t e r years sounded the death k n e l l of B r i t i s h industry and com-merce; i n fa c t he s p e c i f i c a l l y rejected such views while : : : — • t i 9. See, f o r example, his address on "The Doctrine of Ransom. Boyd, C. ¥'., ed., Mr. Chamberlain's Speeches. Boston, Houghton & M i f f i n Company, v o l . 1, 1914, p. 139. 10. Garvin, J . L., The L i f e of Joseph Chamberlain. London, MacMiilan and Co., Limited, v o l . 3, 1934, pp. 23-4. He went so f a r as to ask for samples of the leading competi-t i v e products of foreign o r i g i n . 11. The Annual Register. 1896, p. 205. 47 addressing the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce as l a t e as 12 November 13, 1896. 1 Mr. Garvin points out that t h i s despatch also fore-shadowed the dream of Imperial unity which was to occupy so much of the l a t e r years of Chamberlain's l i f e . I t was on t h i s issue that his convictions hardened most ra p i d l y , and yet i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that his f i r s t approach to i t was through the medium of t r a d e — I n t h i s case on the basis of an Empire-wide free trade system. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t , also, how-ever, that when espousing such views i n 1896, and while des-13 c r i b i n g himself J , i n the abstract" as a convinced supporter of Free Trade, he added: "I have not such a pedantic admira-t i o n f o r i t that, i f s u f f i c i e n t advantage were offered to me, 14 I would not consider a deviation from s t r i c t doctrine." In the years 1896-7 he was not yet convinced that ' s u f f i c i e n t advantage' did ex i s t to warrant B r i t a i n * s adoption of t a r i f f s on raw materials and food s t u f f s , which he r i g h t l y saw colon-i a l requests for reciprocal preference implied, and which he 15 openly described as a poor bargain economically. And, i n -deed, for some years a f t e r the r e j e c t i o n of Imperial Free Trade by the Imperial Conference of 1897 "... he not only 16 held to the p r i n c i p l e but saw no practicable a l t e r n a t i v e . " 12. Loe_. C i t . 13. fjarvin, op_. cit ' . . p. 180. 14. L O G , c i t . 15. Log, c i t . . 16 .Garvin, op., c i t . . p. 182. 48 Yet his views on the wisdom of the nation's commercial p o l i c y were obviously undergoing a gradual change; when he was next heard from on th i s s u b j e c t — a f t e r almost f i v e years of public silence---he was well on his way to the p o s i t i o n which so st a r t l e d the nation i n 1903. I t would be erroneous to i n f e r from t h i s , however, that f i s c a l reform was i n the interim quite out of the minds of Unionist leaders. Their silence should not be misinter-preted—as i t often was at the time, especially by L i b e r a l 17 thought. Indeed, during the whole of t h i s period there appears to have been a steady Unionist d r i f t away from Free Trade, usually to a 'neutral pos i t i o n , ' but often to i t s d i r e c t a n t i t h e s i s . Thus the Gladstonian Hicks-Beach wrote to Lady Londonderry i n 1900: ... I f e e l myself becoming every year less i n harmony with many opinions especially i n f i s c a l questions, which are spreading i n our party, but which I must f i g h t , because I think them wrong, i f I remain i n active p o l i t i c a l l i f e . 18 Arthur Balfour described the s i t u a t i o n even more c l e a r l y some years l a t e r when he wrote of protection, and referred td .".... what i t has long been, a doctrine l a r g e l y held i n the Party, 19 but with no place i n i t s o f f i c i a l creed." 17. See, f o r example, The Economist. January 6, 1896, p.724; and Crewe, op_. c i t . . v o l . 2, p. 541. 18. Hicks-Beach, Lady V i c t o r i a , The L i f e of S i r Michael Hicks-Beach. London, MacMillan and Co., Limited, 1932, v o l 2, p. 127. 19. to Austen Chamberlain, September 10, 1904: Chamberlain S i r A., P o l i t i c s from the Inside. London, Cassell and Company Limited, 1936, p. 31. 49 I l l u s t r a t i v e of t h i s new mood i n Conservative c i r -cles was the e d i t o r i a l p o l i c y of the Times. In November of 1901 i t printed a l e t t e r from S i r Bernhard Samuelson, an old L i b e r a l Free Trader, who reasoned that i n view of the nat-ion's e x i s t i n g f i n a n c i a l condition he could see much merit i n the imposition of a revenue t a r i f f . On the suggestion i t commented as follows: "... the figures which S i r Bernhard Samuelson has brought forward are very s t r i k i n g . . . . In t h i s country we could not tolerate any system which would appreciably increase the cost of the necessaries of l i f e f o r the great mass of the people. But the reimposition, for instance, of the s h i l l i n g duty on corn, which Mr. Lowe threw away, i n a f i t of economic pedantry, would not be f e l t , and there are a r t i c l e s of general consumption that would bear a small impost" 20 The Times agreed that s;uch a scheme would make i t easier to effect "compacts and concessions i n dealing with B r i t i s h c o l -onies as w e l l as foreign countries," and would act as a check to the trusts which were flooding the B r i t i s h market with goods sold below cost to keep a p r o f i t a b l e trade i n t h e i r own domestic markets. I t was careful to express i t s own uncert-ainty, and hesitantly closed with t h i s observation: "The question i s , however, how f a r t h i s imposi-t i o n of new r e s t r i c t i o n s , on any large scale, would tend to diminish or c r i p p l e the world-wide commerce that has grown up under the Free Trade system. 21 Not u n t i l the spring of 1902, however, was the issue of protection and imperial preference projected into 20. The Times. Weekly E d i t i o n , November 8, 1901, p. 722. 2 1 • The Times, Weekly E d i t i o n , November 8, 1901, p. 722. 50 the arena of p o l i t i c a l discussion, and there i s not a l i t t l e irony i n the fact that the f i r s t move came from Hicks-Beaeh <at the Exchequer. His natur a l l y was the primary responsi-b i l i t y f o r facing the f i n a n c i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s which arose out of the South African war e f f o r t , and which even he and his dogmatic b e l i e f i n the v i r t u e of retrenchment was unable to check. By September of 1901 he was pointing out to Lord Salisbury the inescapable necessity of increased revenues for several years to o f f s e t mounting expenditures, and l i s t e d a small duty on corn, i n spite of the p o l i t i c a l o b j e c t i o n s — 22 which he recognized—as one possible source of income. Mr. W.A.S.Hewins asserts that Hicks-Beach went so f a r as to consider a duty on imported manufactured goods, that Balfour l i k e d the scheme; and that i t was only dropped as impracti-23 c a l — but t h i s i s open to some doubt. Certainly, i f i t be en t i r e l y correct, some of the actions of Hicks-Beach i n l a t e r years are hardly to his c r e d i t . A very strong case, on the other hand, can be made i n favour of Hewins'- s t r i c t u r e s on the inopportune nature of 24 a duty on corn. The Chancellor admittedly had to raise ad-d i t i o n a l revenue; he was faced with a pot e n t i a l d e f i c i t of over £45,000,000, and even a suspension of the sinking fund, a r i s e i n the income tax, a stamp duty on cheques and d i v i -22. Hicks-Beach, op_. c i t . , pp. 150-151. 23. Hewins, WVA.S..,- The Apologia of ane Imperialist . London, Constable & Co. Ltd., 1929, p. 218. 24. Hewins, op. c i t . pp., 62-4. 51 dend warrants> and a £30,000,000 loan did not completely meet i t . But his proposal, the re-introduction of the r e g i s t r a -t i o n duty on imported corn (which he^  set at the modest l e v e l of 3d. per cwt. on imported grain, and 5d. per cwt. on impor-ted meal) was only designed to ra i s e an additional £2,650,000. To o f f s e t t h i s was the. certainty, which he w e l l appreciated, that the tax would be challenged oh Cobdenite l i n e s , -and the further .consideration that i t would almost im-mediately become the basis of Colonial requests for prefer-e n t i a l treatment* From the point of view of the protection-i s t and the imperial unionist i t was c e r t a i n l y a r e a l mis-fortune that the cost of domestic food was to be the very heart of so much of the debate which followed—as i t was not a topic on which the B r i t o n of the day was i n c l i n e d to do his most l o g i c a l thinking. I f Hicks-Beach had any doubts about the variety of interpretations which could be placed on his measure, they were soon set at r e s t . S i r William Harcourt, Mr. Sidney Buxton, Mr. Broadhurst and Mr. -Robson attacked i t on the f i r s t evening of the budget debate i n the Commons ( A p r i l 14), 25 as did Mr. Seeley, a Unionist. Harcourt set the key-note of the opposition with his declaration: M l... sugar i s a com-f o r t , but corn i s a thing of f i r s t necessity, and therefore 26 a tax upon corn f a l l s upon the poorest of the poor." S&5. Hansard. (4th Series), A p r i l 14, 1902, v o l . 106, c.189-244. 26. I b i d , c. 190. 52 The Liberals seized on i t at,once, and set out to unite t h e i r badly shattered ranks by re-appearing as the champions of 27 the oppressed working man. Both i n and out of parliament they were extremely active. Later i n A p r i l the Cobden Club 28 denounced the measure; i n the next month the Co-operative Congress dropped i t s usually non-partisan attitude to take a 29 s i m i l a r stand. On May 14 the National L i b e r a l Federation s i m i l a r l y protested against the tax, and approved a resolu-t i o n suggesting as an alternative source of revenue the tax-30 ation of the mineral wealth of the Transvaal. In parliament i t s e l f , the opposition attacks were directed mainly at the 'protective aspect' of the new im-post, and were, on the whole, e f f e c t i v e l y answered from a l l sections of the Unionist Party. Hicks-Beach himself had made i t very clear that while he regarded Mr. Lowe's famous action as a mistake, his reversal of i t was a revenue meas-ure, and nothing more. In view of l a t e r developments, the support given to him by the leading Unionist Free Traders, 31 p a r t i c u l a r l y Arthur E l l i o t , Lord Hugh C e c i l , and Winston C h u r c h i l l , was noteworthy. To E l l i o t the budget was "... 32 perfectly straightforward and honest." C h u r c h i l l supported i t i n an i r o n i c speech, arguing " . . . i t i s absurd to c a l l the 27. The Times. A p r i l 15, 1902, p. 10. 28. A p r i l 18, Annual Register. 1002, p. 128 29. I b i d . , p. 150. 30. The Times. May 15, 1902, p. 10. To the l a t t e r suggestion there were seven dissentients. 31. Hansard. (4th Series) June 10, 1902, v o l . 109, c. 285-6 32. Hansard. (4th Series) May 13, 1902, v o l . 108, c. 74. 53 tax Protective....the essence of Protection i s Protection. Now t h i s tax i n no way f a c i l i t a t e s the growing of wheat i n England, and nobody would wish to do anything so wicked as 33 that." What p a r t i c u l a r l y aroused L i b e r a l suspicions was the extent to which the p r o t e c t i o n i s t t r i o , Lowther, Vincent 34 and Chaplin so openly greeted the corn duty with d e l i g h t . Vincent, for instance, could hardly r e s t r a i n his enthusiastic approval during the Budget Speech. Nor were they alone. The great commercial weekly, The F i n a n c i a l News, was equally approving i n i t s reception of the duties, which i t saw as an i n d i r e c t form of taxation, as a widening of the customs area, and as an a l t e r a t i o n of the foundations of the customs system — b y no longer r e s t r i c t i n g i t to goods not produced i n the United Kingdom. I t went farthe r , however, and affirmed: "But the great outstanding reasons for welcoming the new duties are that they are the beginning of protection, and they open the way for an Imperial t a r i f f . I t i s deplor-able that the duties are not now, i n f a c t , regulated so as to give Colonial produce a preference.... Now, at l a s t , we have a set of import duties upon commodities which enter into competition with home production, and no countervailing: excise i s imposed upon the 33. Hansard. (4th Ser.) May 12, 1902, v o l . 107, c. 1458. E l i e Halevy i n c o r r e c t l y places C h u r c h i l l on the other side of the fence at t h i s time. A History of the English  People.Epilogue. London, Ernest Benn, Limited, 1929, v o l . 1, p. 328. 34.. The Westminster Gazette of June 18, 1902 showed i n a cartoon, these three dressed as members of the "Protec-t i o n Army" happily escorting S i r Michael under a banner "Protection i s Salvation." c f . Jeyes and How, op_. c i t . , p. 226. equivalent home-produced a r t i c l e . By no jugglerey with words can you twist that f a c t into anything but Protection. Of course, the duties are t o t a l l y inadequate, but the affording of adequate protection i s only a matter of i n -creasing the rate of the e x i s t i n g duties: the revolution i t s e l f has been accomplished." 3 5 Probably more s i g n i f i c a n t i n Opposition eyes was the recep-t i o n given to the duty i n overseas quarters. This was ac-curately reported by The Times and other organs of the Press. Most German and many American papers regarded i t as a d i r e c t 3 6 move towards protection. I t was interpreted i n a s i m i l a r way i n Canada, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the House of Commons, and The Times of A p r i l 1 6 quoted S i r W i l f r i d Laurier as saying: "England's new policy i s protection, but not a large measure of protection; and I do not complain, but rather r e j o i c e i n i t , for now the f i e l d i s clear for arranging i n June a system of larger trade, between a l l parts of the B r i t i s h Empire which w i l l meet the views of the great majority of the people of Canada." 3 7 On succeeding days the Press despatches from Ottawa contin-ued to deal with the Canadian reaction to the duty, and par-t i c u l a r l y with the Opposition attempts there to have the Canadian delegates to the forthcoming Colonial Conference press f o r the free entry of Colonial food into the B r i t i s h market. Eventually, on May 1 3 the statements of Canadian spokesmen were brought to the attention of the House of Com-mons by Mr. Channing and S i r Henry Campbell-Bannerman. 3i '5 . The Financial News. A p r i l 2 1 , 1 9 0 2 , p. 1 2 . 3 6 . eg. The Times. A p r i l 1 6 , 1 9 0 5 , p. 5 , The New York Times, though a Free Trade journal at the time, f a i r l y i n t e r -preted the duty as intended by Hicks-Beach. . < 3 7 . Loc. C i t . S i r Henry, p a r t i c u l a r l y , scored e f f e c t i v e l y on two points: , f i r s t , by quoting the B r i t i s h Minister of Agriculture i n a decidedly p r o t e c t i o n i s t reference to the effect of the corn duty; and secondly, by reading a press despatch from Ottawa i quoting S i r W i l f r i d Laurier's inference that the forthcoming Colonial Conference would see a discussion of Imperial pref-e r e n t i a l arrangements based on the B r i t i s h p r o p o s i t i o n — 38 presumably a reference to the new duty. This brought f o r t h an extremely sharp denial from Mr. Balfour, who, af t e r re-jecting any pro t e c t i o n i s t description of the duty on the ground that i t did not protect, added bluntly: " . . . S i r W i l -f r i d Laurier's mission to t h i s country has absolutely 39 nothing, d i r e c t or i n d i r e c t , to do with t h i s tax." Thus the 'build up' to a pr e f e r e n t i a l arrangement which was largely the r e s u l t of 'fis h i n g ' overseas rudely collapsed. I t was no time, however, before the bubble was again p a r t i a l l y i n f l a t e d — o n t h i s occasion by the Colonial 38. The despatch from Ottawa read i n part as follows: "As to commercial r e l a t i o n s , the Premier said that he was going to England on the i n v i t a t i o n of the Imperial Government, and he could not conceive that Mr. Chamber-l a i n would i n v i t e the Colonial representatives to d i s -cuss the subject unless the B r i t i s h Government had something to propose. There was now a duty on wheat and f l o u r which placed Canada i n a p o s i t i o n to make offers which she could not make i n 1897. A step had been taken which would make i t possible to obtain pref-erence for Canadian goods." Hansard, (4th Ser.), May 13, 1902, v o l . 108, c. 152 39. 'Ibid., c. 154. Secretary who had remained strangely s i l e n t on these issues i n the House of Commons i t s e l f . On May 16, 1902, before the annual meeting of the L i b e r a l Unionist Party at Birmingham, he delivered what i n l a t e r years was real i z e d to be a pro-phetic address. In i t , he c r i t i c i z e d the opposition to the new budget proposals, and then went on to declare: The position of t h i s country i s not one without anxiety to statesmen and careful obser-vers. The p o l i t i c a l jealousy of which I have spoken, the commercial r i v a l r y more serious than any we have yet had, the pressure of hos-t i l e t a r i f f s , the pressure of bounties, the pressure of subsidies, i t i s a l l becoming more weighty and more apparent.... We are face to face with great combinations, with enormous tr u s t s , having behind them gigantic wealth. Even the industries and commerce virhich are thought to be pe c u l i a r l y our ov/n, even those are i n danger. I t i s quite impossible that a l l these new methods of competition can be met by old and antiquated methods which were per-f e c t l y r i g h t at the time they were developed I At the present moment the empire i s being a t t a -cked on a l l sides, and i n our i s o l a t i o n we must look to ourselves. We must draw closer our international r e l a t i o n s , the t i e s of sentiment, the t i e s of sympathy, yes the t i e s of i n t e r e s t . I f . by adherence to economic pedantry, to old shibboleths, we are to lose opportunities of  closer union which are offered to us by our  colonies, i f we are to put aside occasions now  within our grasp, i f we do not take every chance  i n our power to keep B r i t i s h Trade i n B r i t i s h  hands. I am certain that we s h a l l deserve the  disasters which w i l l i n f a l l i b l y f a l l upon us. 39 I t was only natural that these words should have attracted considerable attention, but the surprising thing i s that they were soon forgotten. Some of the responsibi-l i t y for t h i s f act rests with Chamberlain himself, for he 3 a , The Times. May 17. 1902, p. 12. (Underlining mine). dealt with a host of other topics as wel l i n his speech, and actually described education as "...the greatest problem of 40 our time." Another explanation i s to be found i n the ex-tent to which the Corn Tax debate f a i l e d to create any undue 41 impression i n the public mind. Certainly, remarkably few l e t t e r s on the budget appeared i n the columns of The Times, and most of these were directed against the duty on cheques. Furthermore, the budget debate dragged on over two months, and although S i r Henry Campbell-Bannerman eventually made a very able reply to the Colonial Secretary i n the House, two new issues pushed the budget and related subjects into the background—peace i n South A f r i c a , and Mr. Balfour's Educa-t i o n B i l l . Balfour's proposals were p a r t i c u l a r l y important i n t h i s connection, for they provoked months of acrimonious debate throughout the country, and had an important eff e c t on the domestic p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n . More than any other outstanding Unionist leader, c e r t a i n l y more than Balfour, Chamberlain had foreseen the dangers inherent i n t h i s measure, and had warned of them— even though once i t was introduced he had l o y a l l y supported i t . In no time, however, his fears were r e a l i z e d . The Educa-t i o n B i l l not only alienated much of the Non-conformist sup-port behind Unionism (and p a r t i c u l a r l y behind L i b e r a l Union-ism) but i t also had the effect of helping to heal the schism which had plagued L i b e r a l ranks for years. By mid-summer 40 The Times. May 7, 1902, p. 12. 41 The Annual Register. 1902, p. 128. i t was already costing the Unionists dearly i n by-elections, and i t was undoubtedly evident to astute observers on the government side that there was great need for some popular cry which would d i v e r t the attention and recapture the l o y a l t y of many of the rank and f i l e . To what extent t h i s considera-t i o n influenced Chamberlain i n the making of his great deci-sion i t i s impossible to say; undoubtedly, his primary motiva-t i o n lay i n his great dream of u n i t i n g the Empire. Neverthe-l e s s , as J u l i a n Amery points out i n his recent work on 42 Chamberlain, the t a c t i c a l factor a r i s i n g out of t h i s turn of events was important, and as such i t has to be recognized. During the summer months, events of another order stole the l i m e l i g h t — L o r d Salisbury f i n a l l y r e t i r e d , and Hicks-Beach did likewise. Arthur Balfour replaced the former, and, as Joseph Chamberlain elected to stay where he was, C. T. Rit c h i e was elevated to the Exchequer. Yet even i n these moves the behind-the-scenes forces advocating f i s c a l change were not forgotten. Balfour wrote of "...admitted but not 43 i r r e c o n c i l i a b l e differences of opinion...." when asking Hicks-Beach to stay on and Morley wrote to Hicks-Beach from the L i b e r a l bench, regretting his departure, and c i t i n g as one of his reasons: "...anybody can see i n what danger from 44 s i l l y experiments free trade stands." 42 Amery, J u l i a n , The L i f e of Joseph Chamberlain. MacMillan and Co., London, 1951, v o l . 4 (cited hereafter as Amery, Chamberlain), p. 514. 43 Hicks-Beach, op_. c i t . . p. 173. 44. I b i d , p. 176. After Balfour's pronouncement on May 15 on Prime Minister Laurier's v i s i t , i t was hardly to be expected that the Colonial Conference would see any B r i t i s h i n i t i a t i v e i n the commercial f i e l d , and, indeed, as f a r as the public could t e l l — f o r i t s sessions were held i n camera—Chamberlain con-fined his efforts primarily to his proposed Imperial Council. Actually, as w i l l be shown i n Chapter 5, Chamberlain's views at t h i s time were i n a state of t r a n s i t i o n , and the proceed-ings of the conference did much to harden them on the stand which he was soon to p u b l i c l y espouse. Meanwhile, the Domin-ion and Colonial prime ministers were enthusiastic and aggres-sive on the subject of closer economic t i e s , and adopted a resolution urging on the Government of the United Kingdom the granting of p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment f o r the produce of the Overseas Empire. In so doing, of course, they undoubtedly hastened the onset of T a r i f f Reform, for t h e i r resolution def-i n i t e l y pointed to the duty on corn, i t implied a request for action, and, as Mrs. Dugdale points outf^%his request had to be answered one way or another by the time of the introduction of the 1903 budget. Furthermore, i t i s clear that the conclu-sion of peace i n South A f r i c a , and the Colonial Secretary's determination to examine the s i t u a t i o n there i n person, meant that the broad outline of the reply had to be drafted i n the F a l l — a s Chamberlain planned to leave home i n November, and not to return u n t i l the spring of the following year. Had this t r i p not come up, 44a Dugdale, B.E.C., Arthur James Balfour. London, Hutchin-son & Co., 1936, v o l . 1, pp. 358-9. i t i s probable that the Cabinet would have delayed i t s decis-ion somewhat; i t i s nevertheless d i f f i c u l t to see how the end r e s u l t could have been d i f f e r e n t . On October 21, 1902 the Prime Minister allowed Chamberlain to raise before the Cabinet the question of gran-t i n g free entry to c o l o n i a l food, that i s , the use of the corn duty p r e f e r e n t i a l l y . I t met with considerable opposi-t i o n — p a r t i c u l a r l y , from the new Chancellor, who was an ardent Free Trader. Balfour was we l l aware of the import of the pro-posal, and wrote to the King i n the t r a d i t i o n a l formal s t y l e : "...the Government which embarks upon i t provokes a big f i g h t . On the whole, Mr. Balfour leans towards i t ; but i t 45 behooves us to walk warily." For t h i s reason he refused to allow any premature decision, and shelved the issue for almost a month. I t did not re-appear again u n t i l November 1 9 — j u s t before Chamberlain's departure—at what must have been an in t e r e s t i n g Cabinet. Unfortunately, as no Cabinet minutes were kept i n those days, the story w i l l probably never be more completely t o l d than i t i s i n Mrs. Dugdale's work. She was given access to the Royal Archives, to the only records which do e x i s t — t h e Prime Minister's l e t t e r s to the King. In Balfour's own laconic words, "... the discus-46 sion was long and elaborate." Mr. Ritchie apparently e n l i v -ened things by c i r c u l a t i n g a memorandum of his own l i s t i n g 45. Dugdale, op,, c i t . . p. 340. 46. Loc. c i t . h i s objections to the policy proposed, but eventually, i t appears, a decision was reached. Chamberlain had won his point, and the Prime Minister informed the King: "The Cabi-net f i n a l l y resolved that, as at present advised, they would maintain the Corn - Tax, but that a p r e f e r e n t i a l remission 47 of i t should be made i n favour of the B r i t i s h Empire." Here, of course, was the basis for much l a t e r acrimony, as the Free Trade wing of the Cabinet apparently f a i l e d to under-stand that a decision had been reached (Halevy guesses that 48 the Duke of Devonshire s l e p t ) , and l e f t assuming the issue to be s t i l l open. I t i s important to note that Mr. Ritchie was apparently under no uncertainty, for he wrote s i x months l a t e r to Hicks-Beach: "The Cabinet decided a f f i r m a t i v e l y to both propositions (retention of the Corn Duty, and prefer-ence), the minority consisting only of myself and one other. 49 On t h i s I entered my protest." Certainly Joseph Chamberlain l e f t f o r South A f r i c a 50 quite convinced that the Cabinet had approved his request. There he discussed the scheme with S i r Alfred Milner, who e n t i r e l y concurred i n i t , and " . . . i t was se t t l e d between them that, i f possible, any customs union arranged at Bloemfontein (where a general conference of a l l South African colonies was 47. Loc. C i t . 48. Halevy, op_. c i t . . p. 323 49. Hicks-Beach, p_p_. c i t . p. 188. 50. Balfour always maintained with just reason, cf. Holland, B. The L i f e of Spencer Compton, Eighth Duke of Devon-' shire, London-, Longmans, Green and Co., 1911, v o l . 2, p. 299. to be held In March, 1903), should include a preference for 51 B r i t i s h goods." Chamberlain undoubtedly hoped that the almost simultaneous announcement of South African and B r i t i s h preference would stimulate the acceptance of the l a t t e r i n B r i t a i n . I t i s worth noting at t h i s point that there was a minor departure i n B r i t a i n from complete Free Trade towards the end of 1902. In March of that year the Great Powers, \.i with the exception of Russia, f i n a l l y signed a Sugar Bounties Convention, and on November 24 Mr. Gerald Balfour, the P r e s i -dent of the Board of Trade, asked the House of Commons to s i g n i f y by resolution i t s approval of the p o l i c y , and i t s 52 willingness to endorse the pledges involved when the re-quired r a t i f i c a t i o n had been obtained. The debate which f o l -lowed was s h o r t — l a s t i n g only one day—and generally on par-t i s a n l i n e s . S i r William Harcourt opposed the measure, for instance, as an ar b i t r a r y interference with the Open Door; Chamberlain cleverly r e p l i e d , by d e l i v e r i n g , as an opposi-t i o n speaker put i t , "... a Free Trade speech i n the cause 53 of Protection...." The Unionists s t i l l quoted with approval various d i c t a of Cobden, but t h e i r p o sition since 51. Amery, L.S., The Times History of the War i n South A f r -i c , 1899, 1902, London, Sampson Low, Marston a d Company Limited; 1909, v o l . 6, p. 87. 52. (a) To levy a special duty on sugar from bounty retaining lands. (b) The Contracting Powers res.erved the r i g h t to ban a l -together the importation of bounty-produced sugar. (c) I f protective states, the Contracting Powers agreed, to admit at the lowest rate sugar from other Contracting non-bounty producing countries. (d) B r i t a i n promised to grant no bounties or preference to Crown Colony sugar, and to give the Dominions a chance to adhere to the Convention. 53. S i r Lewis Mclver, Hansard, (4th Ser.), November 24, 1902 v o l . 115, c. 364. 63 Mr. Chamberlain's outburst on outworn shibboleths was some-what less dogmatic, and many undoubtedly welcomed the Sugar Convention as did one Andrew Bonar Law, who saw therein "... a departure from that f i s c a l p o l i c y whose obsolescence 54 he had begun to suspect." The resolution passed by a vote of 223 to 119. I t was during the winter of 1902-3, while the Col-o n i a l Secretary was i n South A f r i c a , that the decision was taken which eventually shattered the Unionist Party. Once again the Chancellor of the Exchequer played the key r o l e . Unfortunately i t i s d i f f i c u l t to recount Mr. Ritchie's part i n t h i s drama without concluding that his actions did much to inflame passions. In the f i r s t place, quite on his own authority he came to the conclusion that the Cabinet deci-sion of the previous November must be reversed. That was bv, serious enough, although not unique. B u t / f a i l i n g to inform the Prime Minister of his determination u n t i l early i n 55 56 March, by accompanying i t with a threat of resignation i f i t was not accepted, and by pressing f o r an immediate cabinet meeting on i t — b e f o r e Mr. Chamberlain's return—he c e r t a i n l y placed i s chief i n a very d i f f i c u l t p o sition. In the words of Mrs. Dugdale "Deliberately or not, the Chancel-l o r of the Exchequer had sprung a mine under the feet of the 54. Taylor, H.A., The Strange Case of Andrew Bonar Law, London, Stanley Paul & Co., Ltd., 1932, p. 63. 55. Dugdale, p_p_. c i t . , p. 341. 56. cf. Ritchie's memo to Hicks-Beach, Hicks-Beach, p_p_. c i t . , p. 188. : 64 .57 Prime Minister." Balfour wisely refused to agree to a snap decision, and instead, sent a message to the Colonial Secre-tary through Austen Chamberlain forewarning him of impend-58 ing trouble. Balfour also considered removing R i t c h i e , but 59 the proximity of Budget-day deterred him from action. I t was t h i s same factor, together with a memo i n Ritchie's hands from the Chief Party Whip ( a t t r i b u t i n g certain by-election d i f f i c u l t i e s to the Corn Duty), and an agreement to regard the issue as s t i l l open, and to conduct an inves-t i g a t i o n on i t during the summer—which induced Chamber-l a i n to give way and provided Ritchie with his v i c t o r y when the Cabinet f i n a l l y did meet on March 15. Such was the background to those two famous developments of April" 23 and May 15, 1903, which touched off a dispute probably only exceeded i n length and i n bitterness, i n modern p o l i t i c a l h i s t o ry, by the controversy over Home Rule. There were two items of i n t e r e s t i n Ritchie's A p r i l 23 budget: one, a 4d. reduction i n the income tax, and the other, the repeallof the Corn Duty. The former, natura.lly, was generally approved, but the l a t t e r puzzled everyone. I t should be remembered that no hint of any Cab-inet differences had reached the public. Furthermore, as The Times hastened to point out, not only had public opposi-57. Dugdale, op_. c i t . . pp. 341-2. 58. Rather t y p i c a l l y , Balfour informed Ritchie of t h i s action. Hicks-Beach, op_. c i t . . p. 188. 59. Dugdale, op_. c i t . . p. 342. 65 t i o n t o the Duty l a r g e l y passed away, but no L i b e r a l M. P. 60 expected i t s r e p e a l . E q u a l l y a s t o n i s h i n g , a f t e r the s t r o n g government stand on t h i s measure j u s t twelve months p r e v i o u s -l y , was the way i n which R i t c h i e j u s t i f i e d h i s a c t i o n to the House. In p a r t he d e c l a r e d : "... corn i s i n a g r e a t e r degree a necessary o f l i f e than any other a r t i c l e . I t i s a raw m a t e r i a l , i t i s the food o f the people...; and moreover, the duty has a c e r t a i n disadvantage inasmuch as i t i s i n e l a s t i c , and what i s much worse, i t lends i t s e l f v e r y r e a d i l y to misrep-r e s e n t a t i o n . I do not t h i n k i t can remain permanently an i n t e g r a l p o r t i o n o f our f i s c a l system, u n l e s s t h e r e i s some r a d i c a l change i n our economic circumstances, or i t i s connected w i t h some boom much d e s i r e d by the working c l a s s e s . . . . In my o p i n i o n , being as i t i s , a tax on a prime n e c e s s i t y o f l i f e , i t has the f i r s t c l a i m to be a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the l a r g e • r e m i s s i o n o f the Income Tax o f which I have spoken." 61. L i t t l e y e t d i d anyone o u t s i d e the Cabinet r e a l i z e the cbgree to which R i t c h i e , by t r y i n g to outdo Mr. Lowe, and to make 62 any l a t e r r e v i v a l of the duty an extremely d i f f i c u l t t a s k, was a c t u a l l y ' p l a y i n g w i t h f i r e . 1 Once agai n S i r W i l l i a m H a r c o u r t l e d o f f fo i l ' the O p p o s i t i o n , and, as was to be expected, taunted the Govern-ment on i t s r e v e r s a l o f p o l i c y , and t w i t t e d B a l f o u r on h i s new p o l i t i c a l e c o n o m i c s — d e s c r i b i n g him as a "...convert i n 63 consequence of b y - e l e c t i o n s . " But f a r more important was a speech d e l i v e r e d from the U n i o n i s t s i d e of the House by 60. The Times. May 16. 1903, p. 11. 61. Hansard:^-(4th :S.er.,),',;. A p r i l 23, 1903,vol. 121,c.256. (297. 62. c f . Dugdale, op_. c i t . , p. 346, and H o l l a n d , o p . c i t . ,p. 63. Hansard. (4th Ser" T T~April 23, 1903, v o l . 121, c. 264. Mr. Chaplin. The veteran p r o t e c t i o n i s t soundly denounced the Chancellor and asserted that the budget would gain only "...the r i d i c u l e of t h e i r opponents, and, unless I am very much mistaken, they w i l l arouse the resentment—I do not l i k e to say contempt—of thousands of t h e i r friends i n a l l 64 parts of the country." He referred to the way i n which the tax had raised additional revenue and had broadened the basis of taxation without hurting anyone. Now, he roared, the Chancellor was making "absolute fools"of those who sup-ported the tax a year ago. "I confess," he declared, "that i t has seemed to me sometimes l a t e l y that the government were going through the operation known as r i d i n g f or a f a l l and I must say of t h i s l a s t act of t'heirs, that i f that f a l l should thereby be precipitated, I , for one, should 65 consider that they most h e a r t i l y deserve i t . " In spite of such v i o l e n t protests as t h i s , the Budget Debate soon quietened down. 1 Some disputes broke out i n Unionist organizations, f o r instance i n S h e f f i e l d , and a group of i r r e c o n c i l i a b l e a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t s prepared to j o i n Mr. Chaplin i n a deputation to the Prime Mi n i s t e r . But the public as a whole remained apathetic. Unknown to i t of course, an important Cabinet meeting on the f i s c a l question was held on May 12, at which the Prime Minister outlined his proposed answer to Mr. Chaplin's deputation, 64. I b i d . , c. 277. 65. Hansard,(4th Ser.), A p r i l 23, 1903, v o l . 121, c. 264. 66 and received unanimous Cabinet approval. I t was at t h i s gathering also that Mr. Chamberlain referred to his intention of speaking on si m i l a r l i n e s some three days l a t e r . Thus the setting was l a i d f or May 15, when the "... great waterspout of T a r i f f Reform whirled up out of the ocean of p r a c t i c a l 67 p o l i t i c s . " Chamberlain's famous address before the L i b e r a l Unionists at Birmingham dealt with the f i s c a l question a l -most exclusively from an Imperial point of view. He saw two alternatives before the c i t i z e n s of the Empire; "They may maintain i f they l i k e i n a l l i t s severity the int e r p r e t a t i o n — w h i c h has been placed on the doctrines of Free Trade by a small remnant of L i t t l e Englanders of the Manchester school who now profess to be the sole repositor-ies of the doctrines of Mr. Cobden and Mr. Bright .... The second alternative i s that we should i n s i s t that we w i l l not be bound by any purely technical d e f i n i t i o n of free trade, that, while we seek as one chief object free interchange of trade and commerce between ourselves and a l l the nations of the world, we w i l l nevertheless re-cover our freedom, resume that power of negotia-t i o n , and i f necessary, r e t a l i a t i o n , whenever our own inte r e s t s or our rel a t i o n s between our colonies and ourselves are threatened by other people." Great stress was l a i d on the importance of choosing the ri g h t course: "Make a mistake i n l e g i s l a t i o n . I t can be corrected. Make a mistake i n your Imperial P o l i c y . I t i s i r r e t r i e v a b l e . " 68 Gn the same day, the Prime Minister was r e j e c t i n g the pleas of the Unionist delegation. He propounded four reasons for supporting Mr. Rit c h i e : the tax was not designed 66. Dugdale. op. c i t . pp. 346-7. 67. Fowler, E. H., The L i f e of Lord Wolverhampton. London, Hutchinson & Co., 1912, p. 485. 68. The Times. May 16, 1903, p. 8. -68 to have a protective e f f e c t , and Chaplin had claimed not to regard i t so; i t was i n f a c t a burden on farmers by taxing feeding s t u f f s ; public opposition made i t impossible to re-gard i t as a permanent part of the nation's tax structure; f i n a l l y , the p o l i t i c a l union of the Colonies was not yet pos-s i b l e , and when i t was, the support for i t must come not from is o l a t e d interests but from "... the heart and the cons-69" cience and i n t e l l e c t of the great body and mass of the people"1. I t was the contradiction between the whole-hearted endorsation of imperial preference and t a r i f f r e t a l i a t i o n on the part of the Colonial Secretary, and the apparent repudi-ation of such i n the Prime Minister's statement that produ-ced i n the public mind "... a condition of astonishment and 70 perplexity bordering on stupefaction." Almost at once Chamberlain's speech prompted a v i o l e n t s p l i t i n Unionist c i r c l e s , with a large number of the rank and f i l e leaning towards his p o s i t i o n , but with almost a l l the senior party figures either h o s t i l e or 'neutral.• In the Cabinet i t s e l f , the t i t u l a r head of the L i b e r a l Union-i s t s , the Duke of Devonshire, headed a band of adamant Free Traders which included R i t c h i e , Lord George Hamilton and Lord Balfour of Burleigh. Outside i t , the most i n f l u e n t i a l elder statesmen, Lord Goschen, Lord James of Hereford, and 69. I b i d , p. 9. 70. The Annual Register. 1903, p. 133 (cf. The Times.. May 16, 1903, -p. 9. S i r Michael Hicks-Beach, held to s i m i l a r views. As Ensor points out, there was not one top l e v e l figure to stand be-71 side Joseph Chamberlain i n opposing t h i s array. For some days, on the other hand. The Times was i n c l i n e d to side with him against the Prime Minister, whose c r i t i c i s m of a l e g i s -72 l a t i v e measure of his own government i t frankly d i s l i k e d . I t i s a f i t t i n g commentary on the tangled nature of ensuing developments to have to note that a l l the while Chamberlain 75 was much surprised by the public f u r o r ^ and even Mr. B a l -74 four saw l i t t l e reason for i t . That the issues raised by the Colonial Secretary led to a Cabinet rupture within four months was to a large degree the re s u l t of the a c t i v i t i e s of the extremists on both wings, although i t must be admitted that Chamberlain i n two speeches to the Commons on May 22 and May 28 did l i t t l e to calm things down. The second of these speeches was especi-a l l y provocative, as i n i t he not only outlined the general ef f e c t i v e s of his p o l i c y , but f r e e l y admitted the necessity of a tax on food i f any ef f e c t i v e preference was to be given to the Colonies, and argued that any increase In price would be more than compensated for i n increased wages and s o c i a l reform. He even went so f a r as to discuss the procedure which he favoured—the b a l l i n g of another Colonial Conference 71. Ensor, op_. c i t . . p. 573. 72. eg. The Times. May 18, p. 9. 75.. Hewins, pj>. c i t . , p. 67. 74. Dugdale, op. c i t . , p. 547. i f a mandate at an ele c t i o n were secured. Here also for the f i r s t time he c l e a r l y associated imperial policy with object-ives of a purely domestic nature—by describing the eff e c t of dumping at length, and by asserting: "We are the one dump-75 ing-ground of the world." During the early weeks of the controversy the stro-ngest blasts at Chamberlain's policy came not from L i b e r a l but from Unionist benches—from such Free Traders as Lord Hugh C e c i l , Winston C h u r c h i l l , and Hicks-Beach.. S i r Micha-el's excited reaction i s t y p i c a l of the fan t a s t i c extremes " to which otherwise self-possessed men were driven by d i s -cussions on the f i s c a l question. On May 25, for instance, he went to see S i r William Harcourt, and made very clear h i s determination to lead the Conservative opposition to Chamber— 76 l a i n . Three days l a t e r he followed Chamberlain i n the House with a plea for party unity which contained the follow-ing description of the effect of the Colonial Secretary's scheme: " I t has united the Party o p p o s i t e — divided for ..the l a s t eight y e a r s — i n t o a happy family. I t i s div i d i n g our Party on t h i s side of the House, and S i r , I venture to express my deep and conscientious conviction that i f per-s i s t e d i n i t w i l l destroy the Unionist Party as an instrument for good." 77 75. Hansard. (4th Ser.) May 28, 1903, v o l . 123, c. 189. 76. Gardiner, A. S., The L i f e of S i r William Harcourt. London, Constable and Company Ltd., 1923, v o l . 2., p.554. Harcourt promptly informed Campbell-Bannerman. 77. Hansard, (4th Ser.) June 9, 1903, v o l . 123, c. 356. 71 The p r o t e c t i o n i s t wing rather n a t u r a l l y did not regard t h i s outburst as a contribution to party s o l i d a r i t y , and contin-ued i t s b i t t e r attacks on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. David Mclvor, f o r Instance, with r e a l bitterness noted that the price of grain with the Duty was actually 3s. per quarter cheaper than i t had been the year before, and sugg-ested that Mr. Ritchie's talents be transferred to the Gov-78 ernorship of the I s l e of Man or of some Colony. Apparently the Free Fooders (led by the more en-t h u s i a s t i c and younger group clustered around S i r Hugh C e c i l , and dubbed Hughlians), early considered formally organizing to f i g h t Joseph Chamberlain's views, but held off as long as they thought he might be l u l l e d into i n a c t i o n . Such a hope had disappeared by J u l y 1; on that day some f i f t y - f o u r Union-i s t M. P.'s met to form what became two weeks l a t e r the Uni-onist Free Food League, and l i s t e n e d to speeches vy Lord Goschen and Hicks-Beach. The l a t t e r incurred the disfavour of The Times for his assertion that "...he was not going to be drummed out of the Unionist Party for adhering to prin-79 ciple s which Conservatives had maintained for f i f t y years." The T a r i f f Reformers on the other hand were by no means i d l e . Already the Birmingham Liberal-Unionist Associa-t i o n - had set up a ' T a r i f f Committee,' which had begun the 78. I b i d . . c. 345. 79. The Times.. July 2, 1903, p. 9. d i s t r i b u t i o n of l e a f l e t s espousing the doctrines of i t s favourite son. A much more important development than t h i s , however, was the inauguration i n London on July 21 at a large meeting, attended by some t h i r t y M. P.'s, of the Tar-i f f Reform League. I t was t h i s body which acted as the general s t a f f and operational headquarters of the campaign for imperial preference and outright protection during the next eleven years. • Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was desperately s t r i v i n g to f i n d common ground on which he could unite the various factions of the |Party, or at le a s t to persuade them to agree, to d i f f e r . His f i r s t approach was to extract from the Colonial Secretary an undertaking to remain s i l e n t on the debated subject while he sought t h i s middle ground. Unfortunately Chamberlain's enthusiasm and the a r t f u l ques-tioning of David Lloyd George i n the House, at least,, p a r t l y wrecked the early stages of t h i s plan. The May 28 speech of the Colonial Secretary, for instance, he regarded as a 80 di r e c t v i o l a t i o n of an understanding between them. After i t , Chamberlain agreed i n the i n t e r e s t of a united cabinet to say no more for the balance of the Session, and apparent-l y with his approval Mr. Ritchie read a statement to the House which sought to reduce a l l that any Unionist had a l -ready said to an endorsement of the p r i n c i p l e of inve s t i g a t -ing Imperial Preference. Here again.the Prime Minister had 80. Dugdale, op_. c i t . . p. 349. •73 bad luck, for the Chancellor, i n performing t h i s task, rather t a c t l e s s l y added: "For my own part I f e e l bound to say that I should be surprised i f the inquiry should show 81-^ any p r a c t i c a l means of carrying out that p o l i c y . " A second course pursued by the Prime Minister with great s k i l l was his attempt to cool passions and to raise t the whole l e v e l of discussion. On May 28 for instance i n the Commons he refused to recognize any basic contradiction between his views and those of the Colonial Secretary, and went on to deplore the t r a d i t i o n a l B r i t i s h method of hand-l i n g questions of political"economy. " I t i s not treated as a science or as a subject which people ought to approach im-p a r t i a l l y with a view to discovering what the tr u t h i s , either from theory or experience, not at a l l . They f i n d some formula i n a book of authority and throw i t at t h e i r opponent's heads. They bandy the old watchwords back-wards and forwards: they rouse old bitternesses, wholly a l i e n , as f a r as I can see, to any modern question; and our controversies are apt to a l t e r -nate between outworn formulae imperfectly re-1 - membered and modern doctrines imperfectly under-stood." 82 This remarkable analysis, unhappily, was lar g e l y ignored by those concerned, and his attempt, to produce the same re-s u l t by vigorously l i m i t i n g the opportunities for p a r l i a -mentary debate on the subject was s i m i l a r l y unproductive. Indeed t h i s l a t t e r e f f o r t seemed to aggravate the h o s t i l i t y 83 of the Free Fooders, who complained b i t t e r l y at being gagged. 81. Hansard. (4th Ser.), June 9/ 1903, v o l . 123, c. 365. 82. I b i d . , May 28, 1903, c. 162-3. 83. eg. Hansard, (4th Ser.), July 15, 1903, v o l . 125, c.706. " Birmirvjham Joe," the ttitfiKtlifmnn, fnil* in h'm altmi* "" Vrtt Trad,- Coach. 74, Balfour's m u l t i l a t e r a l approach nevertheless, was by no means yet exhausted. He strove i n his private cor-84 respondence and i n Parliament to make F i s c a l Reform an open question i n his party—much as Catholic Emancipation and Free Trade had been i n an e a r l i e r day. In the Commons on June 9 he made p l a i n his b e l i e f that M i n i s t e r i a l unanimity on a l l major issues could not be expected, that he had his doubts about the nation's f i s c a l system—although he was very careful on food taxation—and stressed the nation's re-s t r i c t e d bargaining po s i t i o n . With remarkable candor he went further and declared: "I should consider that I was but i l l performing my duty, I w i l l not say to my Party, but to the House and to the country, i f I were to profess a settled conviction where no settled conviction e x i s t s . " 85 Unfortunately, such completely honest expressions are not widely regarded i n democracies as c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of strong leadership. At the end,of the same month at a Constitution-a l Club dinner honouring Joseph Chamberlain he made another bid f o r party u n i t y — d e c l a r i n g that: " . . . i t would be perfect f o l l y on the part of the Conservative Party or the Unionist Party to make p a r t i c u l a r opinions or economic subjects a test of party l o y a l t y . " 86 84. Holland, OJJ. c i t . , pp. 328-332. 85. Hansard. 1[4th Ser.), June 10, 1903, v o l . 123, c. 556-7. 86. The Times. June 27, 1903, p. 14. The most ef f e c t i v e support to the Prime Mi n i s t e r at t h i s period came from the Duke of Devonshire, who, as the leader i n the Lords, was prepared to stretch his own Free Trade convictions f a r enough to admit the p o s s i b i l i t y of t r y -ing some form of r e t a l i a t i o n — o n the understanding that i t 87 might be dropped i f found to be a f a i l u r e . But while seeing no reason f o r Balfour or Chamberlain to resign, he i n eff e c t made a strong plea f o r bolder action on the Prime Minister's part, when, i n forseeing a d i f f i c u l t time ahead, he referred especially to Unionist candidates f o r the House of Commons, who might "... f i n d themselves deprived of that clear and decided leadership which they generally look f or and do not 88 look f o r i n vain." Balfour's adroitness l i m i t e d the f i s c a l debate i n the House during July to one short b r i s k clash over the Sugar Convention B i l l , a measure designed to bring into e f f -ect i n England the policy already endorsed by the Commons. Although eventually passed, i t was strongly attacked by such 89 Unionists as Winston C h u r c h i l l because of i t s Protection-i s t q u a l i t y , and by such Unionists as Lord Hugh C e c i l and 90 S i r John Gorst, who objected to the shackles on f i s c a l 87. Hansard. (4th Ser.), June 15, 1903, v o l . 123, c. 916. 88. I b i d . . c. 921. 89. In th i s debate C h u r c h i l l declared: "...The Colonial o f f -i c e has had too much to say i n our policy during the l a s t four or f i v e years." Hansard. (4th Ser.), July 29, v o l . 126, c. 714. 90. A rare b i r d — a Unionist with S o c i a l i s t leanings. discussion. Just as energetic i n support of the B i l l were such Unionists as Bonar Law, who openly favoured i t as a 91 retreat from Free Trade. Outside Parliament, T a r i f f Reform was the issue of the day. Lord Esher wrote on July 16: "Here (I am w r i t i n g you from the C i t y ) , the only topic i s the Chamberlain camp-92 aign. No one can possibly f o r e t e l l how i t w i l l go." The Prime Minister was only too well aware that the s i t u a t i o n as i t existed, i f allowed to remain unchanged, would have f a t a l r e s u l t s on the Government, and well knew also that his uncer-tainty was distressing and disconcerting to many i n the 93 arty. Thus he decided to stake out a v i a media, which i t was obvious to him from the s t a r t would s a t i s f y neither wing of the Party, but which he hoped i n time would capture or re t a i n the l o y a l t y of the large moderate element. Early i n August, as a consequence, he placed before his Cabinet two documents—one an abstract statement of his economic viev/s, and the other, i n the words of Lord George Hamilton, an out-l i n e of "...the proposals which the Prime Minister wished to 91. I b i d . . July 28, c. 659. 92. Brett, M. V. ed., Journals and Letters of Reginald V i s - count Esher. London, Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1934, vol.3, p. 3. Esher correctly surmised: " I f there are two or three bad years of trade, I think Joe w i l l win, as every-one w i l l be anxious to t r y a new scheme. I f , on the other hand, the years are prosperous, the f e e l i n g w i l l be to l e t w e l l enough alone! I" 93. cf. Courtney, L., "Mr. Chamberlain's Balloon," The Con-temporary Review. August, 1903, v o l . LXXXIV, pp. ,265-279. 94 put forward i n the name of the Government." Of the l a t t e r 95 we know very l i t t l e , as i t has never been published; but the former was released to the public substantially unchanged 96 i n the f(allowing month. I t was a remarkable essay, not at a l l easy to read, yet containing a series of predictions which today r e f l e c t great c r e d i t on Balfour as an economist. I t s significance i n 1903, however, was two-fold: on the one hand i t did nothing to expressly refute Mr. Chamberlain's po s i t i o n ; on the other, although i t dwelt on the dangers to B r i t a i n of her economic i s o l a t i o n i n a P r o t e c t i o n i s t world, i t went no farther than asking "...for freedom to negotiate 96a that freedom of exchange may be increased." Balfour, never an advocate of hasty action, gave the Cabinet ample time to r e f l e c t on his p o l i c y . Between prorogation on August 14 and the day a month l a t e r no meet-ings were held. In the interim, the issue was kept before the country i n the newspapers and p e r i o d i c a l s . As the weeks passed by, Unionists generally were conscious of a r i s i n g tension, which three important developments served to heigh-ten. The f i r s t was the publication on August 15 of the fam-ous 'Professors'.. Manifesto,' signed by fourteen of the best 94. Holland, op_. c i t . , p. 340. 95. Mr. Balfour described i t on March 7, 1904 as consisting of "certain tentative suggestions." He refused to make i t public property, but i n s i s t e d that i t was i n no sense contradictory with the Economic Notes. Hansard. (4th Ser.), March 7, 1904, v o l . 131, c. 403. 96'. Balfour, A. J . , Economic Notes on Insular Free Trade. London, Longmans Green and Co., 1903. 96a. Balfour, op_. c i t . . p. 31. known economists i n the land, and d i r e c t l y challenging both the wisdom and the reasoning behind Mr. Chamberlain's pro-96b gramme. To i t the more ardent T a r i f f Reformers reacted 97 v i o l e n t l y ; on the other hand they were somewhat encouraged by the re f u s a l of three economists to sign—Professors Fox-98 well and Hewins and L. L. P r i c e — a n d by the action of Dr. Cunningham of Cambridge, who came out i n support of Chamber-l a i n ' s programme on economic: as w e l l as p o l i t i c a l grounds on September 15. The second development of importance was a by-election defeat for the Government on September 2, a f t e r a campaign i n which T a r i f f Reform was hotly debated. The t h i r d was the overwhelming r e j e c t i o n of Mr. Chamberlain's proposals by the Trade Union Congress, meeting on September 8. The public, therefore, was quite w e l l aware that important decisions would have to be made when the Cabinet 96b. The Times. August 15, 1903, p. 4. The signatories were Professors Edgeworth, Oxford; Marshall, Cambridge; Bastable, Dublin; Smart, Glasgow; Nicholson, Edinburgh; Gonner, Liverpool; and Messrs L. Courtney, A. L. Bowley, E. Cannon; L. R. Phelps, A. Pigou, C. P. Sanger, W . P. Scott, and A. Smith. 97. Thirty years later'Mr. Amery was s t i l l w riting sharply about the ' t r u l y p o n t i f i c a l arrogance' of t h i s 'baker's dozen of professors' i n issuing an 'e n c y c l i c a l . ' Amery, L. S i , The Forward View, London, Geoffrey Bles, 1935, p. 94. 98. Mr. Price wrote separately to fhe Times suggesting an impa r t i a l and exhaustive Royal Commission in v e s t i g a t i o n . The Times. August 1©, 1903, p. 4. re-assembled oh September 14; i t was hardly prepared, howev-er for the climax which was soon to follow. After two days during which long sessions were held but no announcements were issued. Balfour, on September 16, published his Cabi-net memorandum, and on the following day his brother released the results of the government's ' i n v e s t i g a t i o n ' — t h e famous Board of Trade Blue Book which was'soon to become an arsenal f o r T a r i f f Reformer and Free Trader a l i k e . This printed material aroused very considerable i n t e r e s t , but i t was to pale before the sensation of September 17—the announcements of the resignations of Chamberlain, Lord George Hamilton, and R i t c h i e . Nothing comparable had happened since Glad-stone's cabinet had been rent asunder on Home Rule i n 1886. Some of the mystery involved i n the simultaneous departure of both wings of the Party was cleared up l a t e r i n the same day with the publication of Chamberlain's l e t t e r of-resignation (written on September 9), and of Balfour's re-ply (dated September 16). Chamberlain referred to the mutual view of the Prime Minister and himself that the nation's f i s -c a l p o s i t i o n warranted reconsideration, admitted that he had not forseen subsequent developments, especially within the Party, and admitted that the heart of any p r e f e r e n t i a l agre-ement with the Colonies, a tax on food, however small, was 99 "... unacceptable to the majority i n the constituencies." 99. The Times. September 18, 1903, pp. 7-8. PUNCH, OR T H E LONDON CHARIVARI.—SEPI-HMOI 23, VM',. T H E P R E D O M I N A N T P A R T N E R . Jxvhj Macbeth . . M K . O H - S I I M U . - N . Maclicth . . . M K . U - l l - K . Lor MACBETH (about to retire), " f l lVK UK THE DAGGER LYING DISENGAGED; I X L DO IT D M MY OWN'." He endorsed as wise and j u s t i f i e d the Prime Minister's course i n adopting instead the policy of seeking the freedom to negotiate on a reciprocal basis, a policy f o r which he f e l t there was already strong support. But convinced as he was of the other phase of the programme, he suggested that he be freed to devote himself "... to the work of explain-ing and popularising those p r i n c i p l e s of Imperial union which my experience has convinced me are e s s e n t i a l to our future 99a welfare and prosperity." The Prime Minister's reply was notable for the ex-tent to which he appeared to accept i n p r i n c i p l e many of Chamberlain's contentions and to base his reservations on the grounds of p r a c t i c a b i l i t y . He made clear, for instance, his doubts as to the willingness of the Colonies to modify, t h e i r p r o t e c t i o n i s t p o l i c y . He l i k e the Colonial Secretary, was also convinced that the B r i t i s h public was not prepared to 99b accept a tax upon imported food-stuffs. A l l shades of opinion i n the Unionist Party were somewhat confused by these revelations; the Free Traders were p a r t i c u l a r l y disquietened, as there was now no question but that the Prime Minister was to some degree a f i s c a l re-former. The resignations of Mr. Arthur E l l i o t and Lord Balfour of Burleigh, announced on September 21, were, there-fore, hardly a surprise. What did seem to be unusual was the continued presence i n the Cabinet of the Duke of Devon-99a + 99b. The Times. September 18, 1903, pp. 7 and 8. 81 100 shire, although t h i s greatly pleased the Unionist Press. This strange drama took another unusual twist on October 1, when the l e t t e r s of resignation of Lord George Hamilton and Mr. R i t c h i e were published, and i t became apparent from them, and from an accompanying l e t t e r written by Lord George Hamilton, that the two had taken t h e i r action i n apparent ignorance of the fact that Chamberlain's resignation was a l -ready i n the Prime Minister's hands. As a r e s u l t , a "pain-101 f u l impression" was created, based on the assumption that Mr. Balfour had been g u i l t y of some form of deception i n dealing with his colleagues. That was obviously the view of the ex-Ministers, and i t was endorsed to some extent as re-cently as 1936 by Dr. Jennings, who describes the Prime 102 Minister's action as "...a piece of sharp practice...." Mr. Balfour himself hotly denied the inference; as early as 103 September 22, he circul a t e d a memorandum on the subject to the Cabinet, and when l a t e r the public discussion of the resignations by the former Cabinet Ministers continued to cast a shadow on his honour, he explained his actions i n de-104 t a i l to the House (March 7, 1904) Actually a ca r e f u l reading of these speeches, and of the lengthy evidence pub-105 106 li s h e d by Mrs. Dugdale and Bernard Holland does 100. The Annual Register. 1903, p. 101. I b i d . , p. 201. 102. Jennings, W . I . , Cabinet Government. Cambridge, At the University Bress, 1936, p. 162. 103. Holland, Op. C i t . . pp. 352-3. 104. Hansard, (4th Ser.), March 7, 1904, v o l . 131, c. 398-105. Dugdale, Op. C i t . . pp. 353-363. 420. 106. Holland, Op. C i t . . pp. 321-370. 82 provide a strong case i n his favour. Much of the misunder-standing arose out of a f a i l u r e on the part of the Cabinet to appreciate the significance of the remarks of both Chamber-l a i n and Balfour on September 14; Ritchie and Lord George Hamilton, for instance, quite f a i l e d to r e a l i z e that t h e i r dismissal (for such i t was, although the public did not know 107 i t ) was the r e s u l t , not of t h e i r opposition to Chamberlain, but of t h e i r consistent r e j e c t i o n of views which were now the Prime Minister's own. In fairness to the Cabinet, however, i t must be admitted that there i s an obli g a t i o n on the part of those i n command to make t h e i r views c l e a r l y i n t e l l i g i b l e 108 to subordinates. Here, c e r t a i n l y Balfour f a i l e d , and must therefore bear much of the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f or the f a c t that his moderate policy was launched i n a sea of dissention, and was consequently seriously handicapped from the s t a r t . The actual issue over which the Cabinet had d i s -solved was that of agreeing on the policy to be announced by the Prime Minister at the annual meeting of the National Union of Conservative Associations at S h e f f i e l d , on October 1. Here Balfour, i n a speech which contained nothing not already endorsed i n public, repeated h i s plea for the r i g h t and power to negotiate commercially, and made clear his re-je c t i o n of the t r a d i t i o n a l view l i m i t i n g taxation purely to 109 revenue objectives. Although previous sessions of the 107. I b i d . , p. 340. 108. c f . Newton, Lord. Lord Lansdown. London, MacMillan and Co. Ltd., 1929, 298. * 109. The Times. October, 2, 1903, p. 4. National Union had shown that the majority of the delegates supported the views of Chamberlain, the reasoned statement of the Prime Minister carried the day, and extremist r e s o l -utions i n the hands of Mr. Chaplin on the one side and S i r John Gorst on the other were dropped. For a short while thereafter, i t appeared that a working formula had been found to reconcile a l l branches of 110 party thought, although the more ardent Free Fooders remained perturbed at the economic kinship of Balfour and his ex-Colonial Secretary. Indeed, at t h i s time, there was no 111 great gulf between them. I t was during t h i s period of at 110. eg. Hicks-Beach wrote to his son on October 9: " I t i s now at heart a P r o t e c t i o n i s t Government without the courage for a P r o t e c t i o n i s t p o l i c y . . . . " Hicks-Beach on. c i t . . p. 195. I l l ; I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that the King> who though a Free Trader had no wish to see the Government f a l l , and who had-tried both to divert Balfour to a Royal Commission and to hold up Chamberlain's resignation, wrote to the l a t t e r when i t was too l a t e to prevent the s p l i t : "The King has f u l l y discussed Mr. Chamber-l a i n * s p o s i t i o n with Mr. Balfour since h i s a r r i v a l here yesterday evening, and understands both from the l a t t e r and from Mr. Chamberlain's explanation that he proposes leaving the Cabinet i n order to have a free hand i n bringing f o r -ward the strong views which he entertains on the subject of f i s c a l p o l i c y , concerning which he has many opponents, though i n perfect agree-ment with the Prime Minister i n the proposed changes." Lee, S i r Sidney, King Edward VII. London, MacMillan and Company Limited, 1927, p. 173-175. 84 l e a s t outward harmony that the Government was reformed. Balfour did t h i s s k i l f u l l y , bringing i n the Duke of Devon-112 shire's nephew and heir at the same time he elevated Austen Chamberlain to the Exchequer and A l f r e d L y t t l e t o n to the Secretaryship of the State for the Colonies. (The l a t -ter two were both strong T a r i f f Reformers.) Thus he kept i n touch with both wings, and at the same time emphasized his determination to support no longer the status quo i n f i s c a l matters. The period of t r a n q u i l i t y , came to a sudden end on October 6, with the announcement of the resignation of the Duke of Devonshire—again to the accompaniment of a series of l e t t e r s . In his l e t t e r the Duke explained i n a general way his conviction that the Prime Minister's stand was "... materially encouraging the advocates of d i r e c t Protec-t i o n i n the controversy which had been raised throughout the 113 country...." that the S h e f f i e l d speech went too f a r , and that he, as a Cabinet Minister could not support i t . The Prime Minister r e p l i e d with undoubted l o g i c that he had said nothing at S h e f f i e l d i n any way at variance with the "Econo-mic Notes"—on the basis of which the Duke had agreed, at his urgent request, to remain i n the Cabinet. Quite sharply he added: "To resign now, and to resign on the speech, i s to take the course most calculated to make, yet harder the task 112. V i c t o r Cavendish, as F i n a n c i a l Secretary to the Treasury. 113. The Times. October 7, 1903, pp. 4-5. 85 113a of the peacemaker." Balfour undoubtedly had just reason to be annoyed, but did nothing to a i d his cause with the expression of his feelings. In any case i t i s clear that i n reforming his ca-binet Balfour had f a i l e d to secure any greater unanimity. At the outset his own prestige was seriously reduced i n the eyes of almost a l l his followers; the leading Free Fooders were alienated by a rarikling sense of i n j u s t i c e done to them personally; the T a r i f f Reformers were i n no way induced to modify t h e i r programme. Furthermore, the middle-of-the-road policy which he and the " l i t t l e piggers" espoused, though i n -t e l l e c t u a l l y r e a d i l y defensible, smacked of expediency rather than conviction. I t suffered notably from i t s lack of a great popular r a l l y i n g cry. On the other hand, i n fairness to him, i t i s hard to see what course he could have adopted other than that enunciated at S h e f f i e l d without prompting the complete and immediate d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of his party. I t at l e a s t had this merit, that i t provided the basis of keeping his party in t a c t f o r two and one-half years, while important changes were effected on the domestic scene, and i n the rea-114 lm of foreign p o l i c y . 113. a., Holland, OJD. c i t . .vol. 2, pp. 365-6. 114. Many years l a t e r Balfour gave the negotiations f o r the renewal of the Anglo-Japanese A l l i a n c e , and the need f o r reform i n the B r i t i s h Army—especially i n i t s ordnance—as his two chief reasons for prolonging the l i f e of the Government. Mrs. Dugdale, op_. c i t . . p. 412; 424. '•86 On the very day that the Duke's resignation was announced, Chamberlain launched his long-awaited campaign with a speech at Glasgow. At l e a s t three features of t h i s famous address deserve special attention. The f i r s t was Chamberlain's hearty support of the Sheffield programme. "I approve of the policy to which he proposes to give effecty 1 Chamberlain declared, "and I admire the courage and the re-source with which he faces d i f f i c u l t i e s which, even i n our 115 varied p o l i t i c a l h i s t ory, have hardly ever been surpassed." The second was the extent to which he l i s t e d the s p e c i f i c means of attaining his o b j e c t i v e — a two s h i l l i n g duty on f o r -116 eign corn, a f i v e percent duty on imported meat (except-ing bacon), and a ten percent t a r i f f on foreign manufactures. (No duty to be imposed on wheat from the Colonies or on maize from any country.) He coupled with these large reduc-tions i n the duty on tea, sugar, coffee and cocoa. The t h i r d feature of"the address was Chamberlain's suggestion that the Colonies leave certain i n d u s t r i a l f i e l d s i n which the Mother Country was a s p e c i a l i s t to her exclusively. Addressing the col o n i s t s , he declared: "After a l l , there are many things which you do not now make, many things f o r which we have a great capacity of production—leave them to us as you have l e f t them hithe r t o . Do not increase your t a r i f f walls against us. P u l l them down when they are unnecessary to the success of the policy to which you are 115. Boyd, ~op_. c i t . . p. 142. 116. He proposed a corresponding duty on imported f l o u r . "... i n order to re-establish one of our most ancient industries i n t h i s country...." I b i d . , p. 158. committed. Do that because we are kinsmen— without injury to any important i n t e r e s t — because i t i s good f o r the Empire as a whole, and because we have taken the f i r s t step and have set you the example. We offe r you a preference; we rely on your patriotism, your a f f e c t i o n , that we s h a l l not be the losers thereby." 117. In t h i s vein Chamberlain made, as The Times put i t , 118 "an excellent beginnings." His second speech was d e l i v -ered at Greenock, on October 7, and was largely devoted to the need for a weapon with which to r e t a l i a t e against f o r -eign t a r i f f s . Like the f i r s t address, i t contained pointed contrasts between the recent i n d u s t r i a l progress of B r i t a i n and that of her leading r i v a l s , notably p r o t e c t i o n i s t Ger-many and the United States. But i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noted for i t s famous description of the re s u l t s of Cobden's formu-lae: "Agriculture as the greatest of a l l trades and industries i n t h i s country has been p r a c t -i c a l l y destroyed. Sugar has gone; s i l k has gone; i r o n i s threatened; wool i s threatened; cotton w i l l go! How long are you going to stand i t ? " 119 During the next three months Chamberlain developed his pro-gramme as he journeyed over much of i n d u s t r i a l B r i t a i n , d e l i v e r i n g notable speeches i n such centers as Newcastle, Tynemouth, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff, before winding up his f i r s t campaign with a great r a l l y on January 18, 1904 at the G u i l d h a l l . As the occasion warranted i t , he dealt 118. The Times, October 7, 1903, p. 7. 119. Boyd, op_. c i t . . p. 177. 117. Boyd. op_. c i t . , p. 150. with such topics as the future of B r i t i s h shipping, the price of wheat, and the Anti-Corn Law Agitat i o n ; but his major theme everywhere was T a r i f f Reform, and his great cry: 'Think Imperially.' Meanwhile, of course, the developments since May 15 had injected new l i f e into the L i b e r a l Party, which had been i t s e l f so badly s p l i t f o r many years—over Home Rule, over i t s leadership, over the South African War and imperial-ism, and most recently over Nonconformist education. Not only was the dissention i n Unionist ranks a great t a c t i c a l advantage to them, but the question over which i t was raised gave the Liberals what they had lacked for many years, a great popular cry on which a l l elements i n the party could unite, one which had a strong appeal to a l l sections i n the community. At f i r s t , l argely apparently at the advice'of 120 ' > ' " Harcourt, the L i b e r a l leaders held back, and l e t the Unionists proceed, as they had hoped, to hang themselves. But, a f t e r June 1903, 'no holds were barred,' a ve r i t a b l e avalanche of oratory was hurled at the T a r i f f Reformers and th e i r proposals—the end r e s u l t of which was variously des-cribed i n terms, ranging from 'the dear l o a f to the d i s i n -tegration rather than the u n i f i c a t i o n of the Empire. Only Lord Rosebery seemed to hesitate. After three days, how-•121 ever, even he recanted, denounced Chamberlain's economic 120. Gardiner, op. c i t . p. 556. 121. The Annual Register. 1903, p. 139. 89 122 heresies, and joined Camphell-Bannerman, Asquith and the rest i n the fray. During the years 1904-5 the f i s c a l question con-tinued to occupy the most prominent po s i t i o n i n the f i e l d of B r i t i s h p o l i t i c s , although i t was r i v a l l e d by a new concern over and interest i n foreign a f f a i r s . The impending out-break of war i n the__Far East, and i t s subsequent complica-tions attracted much public attention. Other matters of con-siderable i n t e r e s t and much general s a t i s f a c t i o n were the rapprochement with France and the renewal of the a l l i a n c e with Japan. South African a f f a i r s continued to catch the public eye, especially a f t e r L y t t e l t o n and Balfour made t h e i r famous mistake, and approved the introduction of i n -dentured Oriental labour into the Rand mines. T a r i f f Re- . form, though dominant, by no means completely monopolized the domestic scene: Wyndham's Land Act, the Licensing ques-t i o n , Army Reform, and the ~ .,Taff Vale Decision were t y p i -c a l of the i n t e r n a l issues which aroused widespread debate. The great center of public interest, nevertheless, was Chamberlain, who, though sixty-eight years of age on July 8, 1904, campaigned over the length and breadth of the 122. Asquith was p a r t i c u l a r l y e f f e c t i v e as a champion of Free Trade both i n Parliament and throughout the country where he regularly dogged Chamberlain's footsteps. c f . Spender, J . A. and Asquith, C , L i f e of Herbert  Henry Asquith. Lord Oxford and Asquith. London, Hutch-inson & Co., v o l . 1, 1932, pp. 156-164. 90 land with a vigour matched by few younger men. His second extra-sessional campaign, for instance, lasted almost s i x 123 124 months from August 4, 1904 to February 1, 1905. His surprising energy was re f l e c t e d i n the ef f o r t s of The T a r i f f Reform League (which obviously had considerable f i n -a n c i a l support) to make the movement a popular one—-in much the same way as Cobden's organization had succeeded i n do-ing s i x t y years before. At the League's annual meeting on July 21, 1904, for instance, a remarkable catalogue of 125 achievements was. presented. During the f i r s t year of op-eration over one thousand meetings had been arranged from central headquarters, hundreds more had been sponsored by the 225 l o c a l branches of the League, m i l l i o n s of l e a f l e t s and booklets had been printed and d i s t r i b u t e d , a Ladies T a r i f f Reform Association had been created under the p r e s i -dency of Mrs. Herbert Chamberlain, and a Labour branch had just been formed "...to promote the cause of t a r i f f reform ; v 126 among the trade unions of the country." The second annual meeting of the League on July 7, 1905, heard much the same story. I t drew over 10,000 people to the Albert H a l l , including some 1200 delegates from a l l parts of the country, to l i s t e n to Mr. Chamberlain, and hear reports of the year's work. By t h i s time the 123. at Welbeck Abbey; The Times. August 5, 1904, p; 10. 124. at Gainsborough; The Times. February 2, 1905, p. 9. 125. The Times. July 22, 1904, p. 10. The Duke of Suther-land presided. 126. The Times. July 22, 1904. P. 10. number of branches had r i s e n to 250. In the previous twelve months the League had sponsored over 2,600 meetings, attended 127 by over 925,000 people. An important feature of the T a r i f f Reform Campaign was the attempt of Mr. Chamberlain to obtain a "... clear and accurate description of the conditions pre v a i l i n g i n 128 every trade," i n other words, a picture of the effect of foreign competition on B r i t i s h industry and a g r i c u l t u r e — through the medium of a T a r i f f Commission, the creation of which he announced at Leeds on December 16, 1903. This re-markable body was composed of experts from a l l walks of l i f e and a l l parts of the Empire, who shared a common b e l i e f i n the need for a strong 'Imperial p o l i c y , ' but who were not a l l P r o t e c t i o n i s t s . In fact Mr. W. A. S. Hewins (The f i r s t d i r -ector of the London School of Economics), whom Mr. Chamber-l a i n drafted as the Commission's Secretary, declared that: "On the T a r i f f Commission i t s e l f we never once discussed the merits of Free Trade vs Protection on these abstract l i n e s 128a i n a l l the 140 meetings which the Commission held." Instead the Commission concentrated on a series of exhaustive investigations into B r i t i s h industries and a g r i c u l t u r e . I t s function was purely descriptive; yet, of course, i t amassed 129 f a c t s on the basis of which Chamberlain hoped to set up a 127. : The Times. July 22, 1904, P. 10. Presided over by the '•.. 7 . Duke of A r g y l l and Lord Ridley. 128. Hewins, op_. c i t . . p. 76. 128A. Hewins. P.p. C i t . . p. 86. 129. I b i d . . p. 35. 92 ' s c i e n t i f i c t a r i f f to be applied i n the event of a Unionist e l e c t o r a l triumph. Not the lea s t of i t s contributions was the revealing of the unsatisfactory nature of the Board of Trade returns on B r i t i s h Imports and Exports. Undoubtedly 130 i t was a factor i n prompting t h e i r expansion af t e r 1908. During these two years the combined ef f o r t s of Chamberlain and his supporters produced noticeable r e s u l t s i n the ranks of the Unionist Party. Perhaps i t was only. natural that the f i r s t great success should be the capture of the L i b e r a l Unionist machine. As early as October 20 1903 the powerful impact of Chamberlain's appeal on the members of his own party was r e f l e c t e d i n the passing of a resolution favouring F i s c a l Reform by the Durham and North Riding L i b e r a l Unionist Association, and i n the consequent resignation therefrom of a number of the best known Union-131 i s t s i n the North of England. In the next two months the 130. Joseph Chamberlain was the President of the Commission and often presided at i t s meetings. Some other famous mem-bers were: Mr. Charles Booth, F.R.S., Mr. Chaplin, S i r V. C a i l l a r d , S i r A l f r e d Jones, S i r A. T. Lewis, S i r A. Noble, S i r C. Tennant, S i r A.. Henderson, S i r A. Hickman, S i r Walter Peace, S i r R. Herbert, and. Mr. Arthur Pearson, (the f i r s t chairman of the Tariff'Reform League's Executive Committee). Mr. Booth proposed his own scheme of T a r i f f Reform i n January 1904. I t involved levying a b% duty on goods im-ported from countries having commercial agreements with B r i t a i n , and a 10% duty on those from a l l others. Like Chamberlain he placed the imperial aspect f i r s t ; unlike him he wisely refused to become entangled i n s t a t i s t i c s . Booth, C , " F i s c a l Reform," The National Review. January 1904, v o l . XLII, pp. 686-701. His arguments were challenged by a young man writing i n The Contemporary Review i n the next month, c f . Bertrand Russell, "Mr. Charles Booth's Pro-posals for F i s c a l Reform," The Contemporary Review, February 1904, v o l . 35, pp. 198 - 206. 131. They were Mr. Arthur E l l i o t , M. P., Mr. F. W. Lampton, M.P., S i r Lothian B e l l , Mr. Hugh B e l l , Mr. Crawford Smith, M.P. and Professor Jevons. The Times. 0ctober21, 1903. p.11. 93 Duke of Devonshire, as the head of the Party, and Chamberlain went through the motions of seeking to f i n d a basis f o r party unity; but as the Duke would only s e t t l e f or the retention of a s t r i c t l y neutral attitude on T a r i f f Reform as the o f f i c i a l p olicy of the Party, the e f f o r t s were i n r e a l i t y doomed from the s t a r t . Early i n 1904 they were broken o f f and on January 132 11 the l e t t e r s which had been exchanged were published. Events thereafter moved, s w i f t l y to a climax on May 18, 1904, when the Executive Council of the Party met under the Duke's chairmanship, refused to heed his pleas, voted to drop i t s 133 ' f i s c a l n e u t r a l i t y ' and to re-organize* When the new L i b e r a l Unionist Council appeared on July 14, Chamberlain was elected President and resolutions were passed not only expressing confidence i n the Government, and endorsing the f i s c a l attitude of the Prime Mi n i s t e r , but also embracing the 134 whole concept of T a r i f f Reform and imperial preference. The Unionist Free Fooders did not r e j o i n . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , how-135 ever, Lord Lansdowne and Lord Selborne became members of the new body. Outwardly, at l e a s t , the T a r i f f Reformers were only s l i g h t l y less successful amongst the Conservative Unionists. The Annual R gister. 1904, pp. 3-4. The Times. May 19, 1904, p. 3. The Times. July 15, 1904, p. 11. Selborne, an ardent T a r i f f Reformer, was the F i r s t Lord of the Admiralty. These two, with Austen Chamberlain whose views on f i s c a l matters were a complete r e p l i c a of his father's, formed the 'Chamberlainite' wing of the Cabinet. 132. 133. 134. 135. 94 By February 9, 1904, Mr. Pike Pease was declaiming from the Government benches i n the Commons: "Among the Conservative and Unionist Party i n th i s country I believe that f i v e out of s i x are i n favour of the proposals of the Right Hon. Gentleman from West Birmingham. I do not mean that they are necessarily agreed with every point. I mean that they are anxious that some 136 arrangement should be come to with the Colonies." Three days l a t e r , Mr. Duke, a L i b e r a l , said much :.' ;. , • 137 the same thing. On July 8, 1903 Mr. Chamberlain was ente-rtained at dinner by some 200 M. P.'s "... i n general sym-: 138 pa thy with his policy of p r e f e r e n t i a l trade within the Empire'.' The trend which these signs i l l u s t r a t e d was greatly accelerated and re-inforced by developments at the National Union of Conservative Associations—when i t met i n 1904 and again a year l a t e r . When, for instance, at the meeting pn October 27, 1904 a resolution was moved by the Unionist Free Fooders simply approving the recent p o l i c y speech made at Edinburgh by 'the Prime Minister, i t was met by great d i s -favour and supported by only thirteen delegates. When, how-ever, Mr. Chaplin came f o r t h with a motion embodying appro-val of the Prime Minister's recognition of the need f o r f i s -c a l change, of the unfairness of dumping, and the importance of c a l l i n g a Colonial Conference, (but conspicuously ignor-ing a l l of Balfour's reservations,), i t passed with only two - . . . . 139 dissentients.."The net r e s u l t of the Conference,"declared 156. Hansard. (4th Ser.). February 9. 1904. v o l . 129. c. 739 137. I b i d . . February 12, 1904, c. 1218* 138. The Annual Register. 1904, p. 164. Some 177 M.P.'s act-u a l l y attended. 139. The Times, October 29, 1904, p. 11. 95 the Annual Register, "was generally f e l t to be a marked success for the P r o t e c t i o n i s t element i n the Conservative Party. The bulk of the Party's delegates seemed to accept Balfour's proposals as to r e t a l i a t i o n and a Colonial Confer-ence only as a stage on the road towards measures of t a r i f f reform as d r a s t i c a s — p o s s i b l y even overpassing—those con-140 templated by Chamberlain." Just over a year l a t e r , on November 14, 1905, the National Union was again a battle'-? ground for the two wings of the Conservative Party, but t h i s time the T a r i f f Reformers were so strong, and t h e i r i n f l u -ence so decisive, that the Annual Register concluded: "These proceedings, undoubtedly meant the complete capture of the Conservative organization by the T a r i f f Reform section and the purpose on the part of that section to rule out of the 141 party a l l persons of Free Trade views." The r i s i n g power of the T a r i f f Reformers i n Union-i s t c i r c l e s was reflected i n other ways. By mid February, 1904, for instance, they were able to force the withdrawal of an amendment which, though i n the name of a Private Mem-, 142 ber, was known to have been drafted i n the Whip's o f f i c e . Perhaps even more s i g n i f i c a n t was the determination of some of the leading Free Fooders to resign. Hicks-^Beach, who 140. The Ahnual,,Rfigister; 19,04*• p. -215. 141. Annual Register. 1905, p. 250. , 142. P e t r i e , S i r C. The L i f e and Letters of the Right Honor- able S i r Austen Chamberlain. London, Cass e l l and Com-pany Limited, 1939, v o l . 1, p. 140. 96 announced his intention to do so on March 30, 1904, wrote to his son as early as July 16 of the previous year of his doubts about his a b i l i t y to triumph over the Chamberlain!te 143 opposition which he f u l l y expected at the next election. • Lord George Hamilton was disovmed by his constituents early i n January 1904, and announced his intention to r e t i r e be- . fore the end of the year. In the year 1905 not a few of the Free Fooders found themselves i n the position of Mr. Arthur . E l l i o t , the M. P. for Durham—viz. opposed i n t h e i r own con-stituencies by T a r i f f Reform Unionist candidates. With j u s t i f i a b l e bitterness, but l i t t l e e f f e c t , did they point out that they had been elected i n 1900 as Free Trade support-ers when such was the openly avowed policy of the P a r t y — only now to f i n d themselves charged with d i s l o y a l t y . I t was hardly any wonder that the Free Fooders re-acted to the T a r i f f Reformers' assaults with considerable -rancour;.;.,,,;.;.;':-':/;;. One of the e a r l i e s t and most important counter-blows was the announcement on December 12, 1903 that i n the Duke of Devonshire's eyes a Unionist Free ffooder "would be w e l l advised to decline to give his support at any election to a Unionist candidate who expressed his sympathy 144 with Chamberlain and the T a r i f f Reform League." This statement which was endorsed by Lords Goschen, James, and Balfour of Burleigh, Lord George Hamilton and Mr. R i t c h i e 143. Hicks-Beach, op. c i t . , pp.- 194-5. 144. The Annual Review. 1903, p. 229. within a matter of days was often referred to i n the next two years by Chamberlain. As the Duke refused to retreat, i t , as much as anything else, made inev i t a b l e the end of the "... remarkable a l l i a n c e between two men of permanently antagonistic temperament, Hartington and Chamberlain, which Gladstone's action or the ways of Fate, had so strangely 145 brought to pass." Free Food r e t a l i a t i o n took another form i n 1904 as the Liberals f i n a l l y succeeded i n obtaining f u l l dress de-bates i n the House of Commons on the f i s c a l question. When on February 15 the House divided, a f t e r a debate which l a s t -ed s i x days and f i l l e d 823 columns of Hansard, twenty-seven out of f i f t y - t h r e e recognized Free Fooders voted for Morley' Opposition amendment, fourteen sided with the Government, 146 seven abstained, and four were i n v o l u n t a r i l y absent. When on May 18, 1904, the Liberals forced another debate on a resolution playing up the inconsistencies i n the public statements of various Cabinet Ministers on the f i s c a l ques-t i o n , a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n developed. At f i r s t , apparently, the Prime Minister had intended to allow an open discussion and vote, but sensing trouble he changed his mind, and acce-pted the resolution as a challenge to the Government. 145. Holland, OJJ. c i t . , p. 383. Holland describes the May 18, 1904 meeting at which the d i s s o l u t i o n f i n a l l y took place i n considerable d e t a i l , pp. 381-383. 146. Hansard. (4th Ser.), February 8-15, 1904, v o l . 129, C. 623 - 1446; The Annual Review. 1904, p. 41. • 98 A telegraph conscious whip saved the day, the resolution 147 being rejected by a vote of 306 to 251, but not before twenty-two Free Fooders voted against the Government, and t h i r t y - s i x abstained. I t w i l l be readily seen, however, that the Free Fooders were not united. In fact a l l through t h i s period a -b i t t e r dispute raged i n the Unionist Free Food League be-148 tween those who, l i k e S i r Michael Hicks-Beach . s t i l l put l o y a l t y to the party f i r s t , and those who regarded the men-ace to Free Trade as an issue of p r i n c i p l e which transcended ordinary l i m i t s . Eventually the former largely triumphed, and the Free Food League, "... a wretched f a i l u r e from f i r s t to l a s t , . . . perished i n a year or two for want of funds and 149 support." I t i s , indeed, a remarkable commentary on the now widening gulf between Conservative and L i b e r a l that so few Unionists followed Winston C h u r c h i l l i n 1904 into the opposition camp. At one time there did seem to be a pros-pect, of at least a working a l l i a n c e between the Free Traders of a l l p a r t i e s , and one was confidently expected to emerge from a great dinner and reception given by Lord Wimborne on February 6, 1904. Nothing came of i t , even though such 150 Liberals as Dilke were known to favour the scheme. Probably Lord Hugh C e c i l h i t the n a i l on the head when he wrote to the Duke: 147. x Hansard. (4th Ser.), May 18, 1904, v o l 135, c. 300. 148. Hicks-Beach, op_. c i t . , p. 201. 149. Holland, op_. c i t . . p. 383. 150. The Annual Register. 1904, p. 5. 99 "A large number of Unionist Free-Traders could not i n honesty and patriotism co-oper-ate with the L i b e r a l Party as now constituted. I f , indeed, the dominant force i n that Party were Lord Rosebery and the L i b e r a l Imperial-i s t s , the case might be d i f f e r e n t . But... the main stream of Liberalism does not run i n that d i r e c t i o n . That stream i s Gladstonian i n foreign, c o l o n i a l and I r i s h questions, i t i s Nonconformist i n e c c l e s i a s t i c a l and educa-t i o n a l questions, i t i s Radical i n questions aff e c t i n g property, i t i s Trade Unionist i n questions affecting labour and c a p i t a l . For those of the Free Food League who are Imperi-a l i s t s and Unionists and Churchmen and Conser-vatives, a permanent co-operation with such a party could not be otherwise than -immoral." 151 I t i s interesting to note that as time went on, although the Free Fooders were by no means reconciled either to the views of Mr. Balfour or of Mr. Chamberlain, fewer and fewer opposed the Prime Minister i n the D i v i s i o n Lobbies. When, for example, Mr. Asquith prompted another f r e e - f o r - a l l i n the debate on the Address from the Throne i n February of 1905, only three Unionists carried t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n to the point of voting with him against the Government. They were, S i r John Dickson-Poynder, Mr. R. Cavendish, and Mr. A. E l l i o t , who was p a r t i c u l a r l y b i t t e r against the Chamberlains — f a t h e r and son—and who implored the Prime Minister to 152 take a strong stand. On A p r i l 10, 1905 the Duke not only denounced T a r i f f Reform i n p r i n c i p l e but spoke very strongly of the 151. The Annual Register. 1904, p. 5. 152. Hansard. (4th.Ser.) , February .15, . 1905,, v o l . 141, c. 204-8. Asquith's motion c a l l e d for an immediate election on the issue. 100 Prime Minister's stand, and described him as a "... not very 153 trustworthy champion of.the security of Free Trade." Very few Unionists, however, whatever t h e i r economic.beliefs, went as f a r as Mr, E l l i o t , who, i n November 1905, openly ' hoped f o r the return of a vast Free Trade majority i n the 154 impending e l e c t i o n . During these two years the Liberals continued to press home the advantage which t h e i r own unity and t h e i r opponents' ;disruption had given them. Not only did they annually i n February provoke f u l l scale debates i n Parliament but whenever opportunity presented i t s e l f , they strove to raise some phase of the f i s c a l question. On August 1, 1904, for instance, they were able to ra i s e i n the Commons the apparent inconsistency of the action of the three Cabinet Ministers who had thereby endorsed a p r e f e r e n t i a l programme involving a tax on food, with the stand taken by the Prime Minister at Sh e f f i e l d . Balfour was too wary to be trapped, however, he commented l o f t i l y that the debate was good, but ' 1 5 5 thought S i r Henry Campbell-Bannerman's motion f o o l i s h . The Prime Minister's obscurity, nevertheless, pro-vided them with an excellent weapon. They were assisted also by an unhappy a b i l i t y on Chamberlain's part to use facts and figures very loosely, and by a tendency of his to make 153. The Times. A p r i r 11, 1905, p. 11.' 154. The Annual Register. 1905, p. 223. 155. Hansard. (4th Ser.), August 1, 1904, VQl. 139, c. 366. extreme statements. The reader w i l l r e a d i l y appreciate how such' an a g i l e brain as that of l l o y d George or Asquith was albe to challenge statements of the following order: "I do not believe that these small taxes upon food would be paid to any extent by the consumers i n t h i s country. I believe, 156 on the contrary, they would be paid by the foreigner." Hardly less open to rebuttal was Chamberlain's assertion on May 12, 1904, at Birmingham, that i n v i s i b l e exports could be 157 of no use to the B r i t i s h working man. The T a r i f f Reformers were well aware of thei r leader's weaknesses here, but found 158 themselves unable to reform him. The Prime Minister's mental dexterity had a major effect on the ultimate destiny of the T a r i f f Reform campaign. Throughout most of 1904 he rested his case on the Sh e f f i e l d programme and sought, one must agree i n retrospect, with r e a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n , to describe i t as a po s i t i v e policy i n i t s e l f . On January 11, 1904 he declared at Manchester: "The party, broadly speaking the Conser-vative and Unionist p a r t y — c e r t a i n l y the Con-servative and Unionist Government—is a party and a Government of f i s c a l reform. There are, as i s natural, some divi s i o n s among us as to the precise extent to which f i s c a l reform should go. On the subject my advice i s simple. Let us a l l have regard to the feelings, as f a r as we can, of the weaker brethern," 159 In March he described his programme as one of "progressive" 160. rather than stationary and orthodox free trade," 156. Boyd, ap_. c i t . . p. 159, The Glasgow Address, October 6, 157. The Times. May 13, p. 7. (1903. 158. cf. Hewins, op_. c i t . , v o l . 1, p. 73. 159. The Times. January 13, 1904, p. 5. 160. Hansard, (4th Ser.), March 29, 1904, v o l . 132, c. 1011. Balfour, l i k e Chamberlain, esche?/ed the l a b e l protect-i o n i s t — a s did a l l but the most extreme advocates of (160 continued on p.60) 102 although i n reply to opposition questioning, he simply refe r -red those interested to his statement at Sh e f f i e l d and to his pamphlet—which, he declared, "...appears to he more laughed 161 at than read." A month l a t e r , an attempt by an opposition member to have him r e l a t e f i s c a l reform to the next election brought f o r t h t h i s r e t o r t : "The Hon. Gentleman appears to desire that I should give him not only a preliminary sketch of my el e c t i o n address., but also the d e t a i l s of the f i r s t Budget which I should introduce when I returned to P a r l i a m e n t — I think t h i s demand i s excessive." 162 On October 3, 1904 he sought to define his position more c l e a r l y before the Scottish Conservative Club at Edinburgh. After f i r s t returning to his S h e f f i e l d programme, which he again proclaimed a complete entity i n i t s e l f , and a f t e r de-163 nouncing protection i n unusually strong terms, he went on to agree that the Colonies wanted closer t i e s , and that un-necessary delay i n t h i s respect would be dangerous. He thus proposed, after the next election, to c a l l a Colonial Confer-ence which should decide f i n a l l y i f closer union were desired, 160 (Cont'd, from P. 59) f i s c a l change i n B r i t a i n throughout t h i s period, and indeed, u n t i l 1932 i n many cases. I t would hardly be accurate to brand their., approach as h y p o c r i t i c a l ; i t was largely the r e s u l t of r a t i o n a l i z a -t i o n . S i r C. F o l l e t t described i t aptly with these words: "Idolatry i s hard to extinguish; and even those who i n t h e i r hearts have ceased to worship shrink from being branded as ' i n f i d e l s ' " "Free Trade,—a Gigantic Error," The National Review, January, .1906, .pp. 894-906, p. 894. 161. Hansard, (4th Ser.), March 29, 1904, v o l . 132, c. 1012. 162. Hansard. (4th Ser.), A p r i l 14, 1904, v o l . 133, c. 211 163. The Times. October 4, 1904, p. 4. 103 and i f so, how i t could be brought about. But he refused to agree to any detailed commitment of the governments concerned i n advance, and he also made i t clear that any plan r e s u l t i n g from such a conference would have to be approved by the elec-torates. In other words, to the intense disappointment of i. 164 the more ardent T a r i f f Reformers, he introduced at t h i s stage the concept of a referendum. Here again he had d e l -ivered a speech which could be interpreted i n two ways. The T a r i f f Reform Press saw i n i t an advance to Mr. Chamberlain's 164 views; the Unionist Free Trade organs led by the Standard. saw i n i t just the reverse. Chamberlain waited only two days before l e t t i n g the country know that he saw no need for a second general elec-166.. t i o n i f the f i r s t approved the general p r i n c i p l e . Two months l a t e r , however, he sought to define Mr. Balfour's pos-i t i o n on other aspects of the question p r a c t i c a l l y as h i s own, by pointing out that the Prime Minister had c a l l e d f or a Colonial Conference, and by adding: " . . . I cannot believe that either he or you.would think of c a l l i n g a conference with your own Col-onies i f you do not subsequently intend to pay 167 a great arid favourable attention to i t s decisions." 164. Austen Chamberlain begged him not to do t h i s . See Chamberlain, S i r A., P o l i t i c s from Inside. London, Cas s e l l and Company Ltd., 1936, pp. 22-34. 165. Later i n 1904 the Free Fooders were chagrined to hear that t h i s paper had been bought by Mr. C. A. Pearson, who already controlled the Daily Express and the St. James Gazette.—as wel l as several p r o v i n c i a l d a i l i e s , and who was chairman of the JEariff Reform League. 166. The Times. October 6, 1904, p. 8. 167. The Times. January 12, 1905, p. 6. 10.4 Thus, harassed by f r i e n d and foe a l i k e , Balfour made one more attempt to restate h i s policy i n e x p l i c i t terms i n January 1905. In a vigorous speech he sought f i r s t to emphasize the inconsistencies and inaccuracies of the Oppo-s i t i o n on a host of issues ranging from Welsh Disestablish-168 ment to Home Rule, and then, accepting Morley's challenge, read from 'a half-sheet of notepaper' a concise statement of 168 r . his views. Essentialy they represented no change from his stand at Edinburgh, but the caref u l wording reflected h i s desire to f i n d that elusive unity which would give the Union-i s t s at lea s t a f i g h t i n g chance at the p o l l s . In t h i s , he was unsuccessful. On January 30, f o r instance, The Times published a l e t t e r i n which Lord George Hamilton complained 169 of the s t i l l existent confusion. The Chamberlainites even-t u a l l y accepted the statement, "...but only a f t e r nearly two .170 months' delay, which rendered the reunion unconvincing." The Prime Minister's struggle to stay i n o f f i c e took a new and strange turn l a t e i n March. L i b e r a l Free Traders were p a r t i c u l a r l y fortunate i n securing p r i o r i t y on Private Members' nights, and placed forthwith four resolu-tions on the order paper. Together they constituted an ^.It-.ij. attack oh the whole T a r i f f Reform programme, including Colo-n i a l Preference, and the Prime Minister's idea of a "free 168. (2. ref.) Morley had offered a prize to any of his con-stituents who could state the Prime Minister?s f i s c a l policy.on a page of notepaper. 169. The Times. January 30, 1905, p. 9. 170. Ensor, op. c i t . . p. 376. 105 conference." Apparently convinced that these resolutions would produce a debate threatening what remained of his Party's unity, he therefore once again deprecated the value - 171 of Parliamentary discussions on abstract economic p r i n c i p l e , went on to announce that he would refuse to treat defeat here as a vote of censure, and concluded: "So f a r as I am concerned, I s h a l l not think i t necessary to take part i n any d i s -cussion raised i n t h i s way on the f i s c a l question i n future, and i f my voice has any weight with those of my friends who habitu-a l l y act with me, I would advise them both to imitate my reticence of speech, and i f they please—and I hope they w i l l p l e a s e — my absence from the d i v i s i o n . " 172 As a consequence, a l l but a few hardy Unionists, such as David Maclver, followed the Prime Minister out of the House, and the Liberals were completely balked. I t i s doubtful.if. i n the long run t h i s remarkable move had the effect f or which Balfour had hoped; ce r t a i n l y "... i t mystified the public which had no eye for the subtle gradations of colour perceiv-ed by the Prime Minister between the black and white of Protection and Free Trade and expected the Government either 173 to resign or to stand up to the challenge of I t s opponents." 171. Of which more than 1100 columns had been recorded by Hansard i n juet over a month. 172. Hansard. (4th Ser.), March 22, 1905, v o l . 143, c. 895. 173. Spender, J . A., A Short History of our Times, London, Cassell & Co. Ltd., 1934, pp. 76-7. 105 a Deterioration i n Unionist morale proceeded at a 174 great pace, especially as the T a r i f f Reformers were chag-rined at the Prime Minister's Fabian p o l i c y . Chamberlain i n -creased his pressure to make T a r i f f Reform the dominant-force i n the party by continually emphasizing the s i m i l a r i t y i n views between Mr. Balfour and himself. When on June 2 the Prime Minister made a further plea f o r harmony on the grounds that a l l Unionists 11... might surely a l i k e agree i n favour of endowing the Government of the country with some power of ef f e c t i v e f i s c a l negotiation, and i n favour of a free Confer-ence with the Colonies, suspending t h e i r judgment on any 175 Col o n i a l proposals u n t i l they were put forward." Chamber-l a i n on the following day referred to t h i s speech i n these words: "He said l a s t night,, t a r i f f reform w i l l -be the most important part of Unionist p o l i c y . He said Colonial.preference i s the most impor-tant part of t a r i f f reform. He said Colonial preference w i l l be the f i r s t item i n the future Unionist programme." 176 174. An old Tory described his Party as follows i n A p r i l , 1905: "The t r u t h i s that the Conservative party has become merely a body of opportunists who don't believe i n t h e i r own p r i n c i p l e s , and are only held together by the force of habit and a combination of fortuitous c i r -cumstances which, having given them a big majority, bids them support t h e i r leaders on c r i t i c a l occasions, and get along somehow u n t i l an adverse vote, or the time l i m i t , obliges them to go to the country." Greasley, S i r Robert, "Discontent. Among Conservatives," The National Review. A p r i l , 1905. v o l . XLV, pp. 365-7, p. 365-6. 175. The Times. June 5, 1905, p. 7. 176. Loc. c i t . 1 0 6 Five days l a t e r , when Balfour repeated his request i n the 177' House, Mr. Chamberlain f l a t l y declared that there was no substantial difference i n point of p r i n c i p l e between 178 myself and the Prime Minister." By early J u l y , Chamberlain's desire to go to the 179 country was a certainty. The Prime Minister, however, c a l l e d a Party meeting on July 18, at which, on the basis of a very touchy in t e r n a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n , he won approval for his policy of remaining i n o f f i c e . He was quite unable, however, to h a l t the restiveness; i n f a c t , two days l a t e r his government was defeated i n committee on the vote for the I r i s h Land Commission. S t i l l , h i s prestige had by no means vanished, and personal l o y a l t y to him was a very st r o -180 ng force. I t was not u n t i l November that the decision to resign was i n r e a l i t y made for h i m - - f i r s t when the T a r i f f Reformers captured the National Union completely, and. sec-ondly when on November 21 Chamberlain bluntly declared: "No army was ever led successfully on the p r i n c i p l e that X , 181 the lamest man should govern the march of the army." 177. Hansard. (4th Ser.) June 7. 1905. v o l . 147. c.988. 178. I b i d . , c. 1019. 179. On July 9 Lord Esher wrote of Mr. Chamberlain that: "He i s dead keen for the Government to go out. He thinks that once i n opposition Arthur cannot f a i l to take, up the l i n e along which Chamberlain desires to see him move." Esher op_. c i t . v o l . 2. p. 91. 180. S i r Edward Carson,. an ardent T a r i f f Reformer-and. a great admirer of Chamberlain, was so influenced by his l o y a l t y to Balfour that he campaigned f o r f i s c a l r e f -orm without once mentioning Chamberlain's name. cf. Marjoribanks, Edward,"The L i f e of Lord Carson," 4 181. The Times. November 22, 1905, pp. 11-12. ft London, Victor Gollfcn^Ltd., v o l . 1, 1952, p. 354. 107 The meaning of these words was only too clear to Balfour, whose resignation two weeks l a t e r (December 4) was the s i g -na l launching an intensive e l e c t o r a l campaign. Just to what extent T a r i f f Reform was an issue i n the e l e c t i o n campaign, and to what extent i t was responsible fo r the unparalleled defeat of the Government, was long the 182 subject of acrimonious debate.. I t i s conceivable that the Liberals could have won quite handily without i t , for t h e i r arsenal was p a r t i c u l a r l y w e l l stocked. The cry of 'Chinese Slavery' was a considerable weapon i n t h e i r hands; at l e a s t equally e f f e c t i v e was t h e i r appeal to N.on-cionformist s e n t i -ment, which had not forgotten the Education and Licensing Acts of 1902-4. Perhaps the swing of the pendulum alone, a f t e r almost twenty years of Unionist r u l e , would have been enough to bring them v i c t o r y . But the f a c t remains that they chose to make Free Trade and the 'cheap l o a f t h e i r main election c r i e s , and that, as a r e s u l t , "...the f i s c a l quest-183 ion i n i t s most elementary terms.... was probably therefore 184 the chief consideration i n the minds of the electors. Assuming th i s to be the case, i t i s necessary f i n -ally;, to ask why the programme of the T a r i f f Reformers was so overwhelmingly rejected. At l e a s t four suggest.themselves immediately. One of the most important'was the reaction to 182. Unionist strength, which i n 1901 had meant 402 seats, f e l l to 157. Only once i n modern B r i t i s h history has a party faced a more dra s t i c blow—Labour i n 1931. 183. The Annual Register. 1906, p. 2. 184. Loc. c i t . , This i s the considered' opinion of the Annual  Register. 10.8 Mr. Chamberlain's economic prophecies. ?vhen he launched his programme i n 1903, his words and actions undoubtedly command-ed widespread i n t e r e s t and a carefu l hearing In a l l walks of l i f e i n B r i t a i n , and his insistence upon the urgency of the s i t u a t i o n produced a general f e e l i n g of uneasiness. But when the yearly trade returns i n 1904 and 1905 refl e c t e d a d e f i -n i t e acceleration both i n domestic business and the export trade, which Mr. Chamberlain was forced to recognize, though he claimed that i t was less rapid than that of B r i t a i n ' s p r o t e c t i o n i s t competitors, the unprejudiced and the d i s i n t e r -ested could hardly f a i l to believe that he had overdrawn his case-. There was, i n other words, an undoubtedly unfavour-able reaction to him amongst many who had.at f i r s t been quite 185 Y/armly disposed to his arguments. A second explanation was the obvious fact, that there s t i l l existed i n the country not only an enormously important and widely held sentimental attachment to Free Trade, but also a considerable conviction "...among the i n t e l l i g e n t ranks of the electorate, of the economic soundness of the pr i n c i p l e s 186 underlying the Free Trade doctrine. There-was consequently a widespread reluctance even to consider changing, a policy . which had i n the past served the nation so w e l l . Reinforced as i t was by a new wave of prosperity, t h i s was a factor of 185. cf. Richmond, Adrian,. "Why Free Trade, Wins," The Westmin-ster Review. February, 1906, v o l . CLXV, pp. 115-123, pp. 116-117. 186. I b i d . . p. 118. 109 greater magnitude than, the f i s c a l reformers r e a l i z e d . In the t h i r d place, the appeal of T a r i f f Reform was compromised to some degree both by the tactics, of Balfour and Chamberlain. The T a r i f f Reformer c e r t a i n l y had a strong case when he argued: "We might have been badly beaten i n any event, but we should not have been so hopelessly "snowed under" had not" the l a t e Government made confusion worse confounded by propounding a r i v a l F i s c a l P o l i c y of i t s own, which was n e i -ther Chamberlainism nor Cobdenism, and was a l - 187 ways perfectly u n i n t e l l i g i b l e to the p l a i n man." On the other hand i t can be argued that Chamberlain himself added materially to the confusion by seeking to iden-t i f y Mr. Balfour's p o s i t i o n with his own, and that by so do-ing, and thus jeopardizing what was l e f t of Party-unity, he i n e f f e c t defeated his own ends. Whether Balfour's views would have produced a more harmonious f e e l i n g within the Party i f given a better chance i s unknown, and i t i s c e r t a i n that the s p l i t over a major plank i n i t s own platform c o n t r i -buted not a l i t t l e to the debacle i n January. I t i s possible also to question the wisdom of the Unionists and th e i r leaders i n appealing to the country as . 188. the only r e a l Free Traders. The play upon words which fea-tured both Balfour's and ChamberlainAs election speeches was, 182. "Episodes of the Month," The National Review, February, 1906, "vol. 46, pp. 949-985," p. 955. ' ' ~ " ' ' 1.88. As l a t e as January 12, 1906. The 'Times affirmed "Mr. ••Chamberlain i s neither a p r o t e c t i o n i s t nor the leader . of pr o t e c t i o n i s t s . " p. 9. 1 1 0 the r e s u l t of a serious underestimation of the average Briton's shrewdness, and of his l i k i n g . f o r frank s i n c e r i t y . Perhaps the most important of a l l reasons f o r the defeat of T a r i f f Reform i n 1906, or for the severity of i t s defeat, was the f a i l u r e of Chamberlain, and i t must be ad-mitted a l l other Unionists and many L i b e r a l s , to appreciate the new domestic i n t e r e s t i n s o c i a l reform. Twice i n the c r u c i a l days of 1903 Chamberlain referred to Old Age Pens-ions—once at the i n s t i g a t i o n of questioning by Mr. Lloyd 189 George, and once on his own at the Constitutional Club, on June 26. But although he vaguely foresaw the p o s s i b i l i t y of using revenue raised by t a r i f f s for such a scheme ("my fav-190 o r i t e hobby" he ca l l e d i t ) , he divorced the consideration of the two issues completely. Had he instead made the two complementary, and presented them as a single p o l i c y , the elec t i o n of January 1906 might have had an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r -ent outcome. 189. The House of Commons; Hansard. (4th Ser.), May 22, 1903, v o l . 122, c. 1553. 190. The Times. June 27, 1903, p. 14. I l l Chapter I I I T a r i f f Reform and the Unionist Party 1906 - 1910 "Je tiens ferme." Joseph Chamberlain's motto. The f i r s t two years following the January 1906 e l e c t i o n were p a r t i c u l a r l y t r y i n g f o r the T a r i f f Reform lead-ers. They were only too w e l l aware that an e l e c t o r a l up-heaval as severe as that which the Unionist Party had recently undergone ine v i t a b l y meant a car e f u l review of the Party's programme, and of i t s t a c t i c a l d i r e c t i o n . They also appreci-ated that the- turn of events had by no means d i s p e l l e d the' doubts of the half-hearted T a r i f f Reformers, any more than i t had completely discredited the Free Fooders. Their path was made none the easier i n 1906 and 1907 by a continued r i s e i n economic a c t i v i t y ; i n 1906 especially there was a marked im-provement i n the B r i t i s h import-export trade, which for the 1 f i r s t time exceeded £1,000,000,000. A further check to T a r i f f Reform ambitions was the a t t i t u d e of Mr. B a l f o u r — o f which more l a t e r — a n d the fact that personal and party t i e s 1. Page, op_. c i t . . v o l . 1, p. 399. 112 of l o y a l t y to him were tremendously strong. On the other hand, the e l e c t i o n d e f i n i t e l y improved the p o s i t i o n of the T a r i f f Reformers with i n the Unionist Party. Of the 157 M. P.'s returned i n January, only sixteen were Free Fooders, t h i r t y - s i x were l i s t e d as followers of Balfour i n matters economic, and at l e a s t 102 were regarded 2 as supporters of Chamberlain's views. Chamberlain wasted no time ; i n c a p i t a l i z i n g on t h i s advantage. After f i r s t consolidating his p o s i t i o n at a meeting of the L i b e r a l Union-3 i s t Council on February 2, 1906, he; pressed at once, for a new understanding of the place of his policy i n that of the Unionist Party as a whole. (He also struck out i n other d i r e c t i o n s — f o r instance, by sending a memorandum to the press on the need f o r a complete reorganization and democra-t i z a t i o n of the Party machine.) A series of negotiations with Arthur Balfour ensued, and lasted f or nearly two weeks. On several occasions they appeared to end i n deadlock, for, 2. These are the Duke of Devonshire's figures—The Times, March 7, 1906, p. 11. An e a r l i e r c l a s s i f i c a t i o n pub-l i s h e d by The Times on January 30 (p. 11) l i s t e d 109 "Whole Hoggers," 32 " L i t t l e Piggers," and 11 Free Fooders. 3. Much to the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of Lord Lansdowne, who was not at a l l keen to go beyond Balfour's p o s i t i o n . Newton, op_. c i t . . !pp£'.549- 351. 113 as Austen Chamberlain l a t e r put i t , the two men . . . drew exactly the opposite inferences from the results of the el e c t i o n . Balfour saw i t as a reason for extreme caution; my father drew from, i t a very d i f f e r e n t inference — t h a t a more pronounced T a r i f f Reform po l i c y would have had much greater success and pre-vented the defeat which was i n any case inevitable from becoming a rout. 4 This divergence, of course, was the r e s u l t of a difference i n outlook. Mrs. Dugdale probably over-simplifies things when she declares that f o r Balfour " . . . the main thing now was to strengthen the party f o r approaching c o n f l i c t s which would have nothing to do with Free Trade or Protec-5 t i o n . . . . " whereas " . . . unity for a policy of t a r i f f s 6 ...." was Chamberlain;1;s goal—but the d i s t i n c t i o n i s prob-ably a f a i r one. Balfour was i n no mood to be stampeded, and as l a t e as February 12 i n a speech at the Merchant Taylor's H a l l he sadly disappointed the Chamberlainists by refusing to recognize the necessity of a general t a r i f f i n a programme of r e t a l i a t i o n , and by stating his argument i n these vague terms: My quarrel has been with those who thought that the economic world, as they conceived i t , was going to be conducted henceforth, not upon national l i n e s , but upon cosmopolitan l i n e s . 7 4. Chamberlain, Austen, op., c i t . , p. 37 5. Dugdale, op. c i t . . v o l . 2, p. 22. 6. Loc. c i t . 7. The Times. February 13, 1906, p. 6. He was re f e r r i n g to Free Traders, but t h i s could be interpreted i n two ways. 114 Eventually, however, an understanding was reached, aft e r Chamberlain had repudiated completely any suggestion 8 that he was a candidate f o r the Party leadership. Balfour approved a statement drawn up by Austen Chamberlain, s l i g h t l y 9 modified by Jack Sandars (Balfour's secretary), and subse-quently published i n l e t t e r form—along with a reply from Joseph Chamberlain, on February 14. In i t , the Party leader agreed that F i s c a l Reform was, and was to remain "...the f i r s t constructive work of the Unionist Party." He went further, and admitted, i n a q u a l i f i e d way, that he had no ob-j e c t i o n i n p r i n c i p l e either to a "... moderate general t a r i f f on manufactured goods" or to "the imposition of a 10 small duty on foreign corn." The net effect of these 'Valentine l e t t e r s , ' as they were c a l l e d , was an almost immediate easing of the ten-sion that had been mounting i n the Party. When Balfour pre-sided over a general meeting of Unionist M. P.'s and defeat-ed candidates on February 15, he was able to face a group which, with a few exceptions, was outwardly harmonious and obviously relieved,. The T a r i f f Reformers were p a r t i c u l a r l y pleased at the outcome of the c r i s i s , and appear to have been out en massel Lord' Newton writes of t h i s gathering at 8. Mrs. Dugdale, OJJ. c i t . , p. 22. Apparently Arthur Pearson had prompted a public discus-Q- slon'-df"the,Party-leadership -in the columns of the Standard, and i t had been taken up quite widely by other papers. Hewins, op_. c i t . , p. 164. 9. Chamberlain, op_. c i t . , p. 37. 10. For the complete text of the l e t t e r s see Appendix Three. 115 Lansdowne House: My r e c o l l e c t i o n i s that the whole of the audience appeared to be almost wholly i n favour of T a r i f f Reform; that the pro-ceedings were amicable, and that Mr. Balfour appeared i n somewhat the position of a captive, i t being the general b e l i e f that he had yielded at the l a s t moment .... Certainly the general impression was that Mr. Chamberlain^ had p r a c t i c a l l y got his way. 11 The only discordant note at the meeting was raised 12 by the i r r e c o n c i l a b l e Free Fooders. Lord Hugh C e c i l en-quired of Balfour as to t h e i r status i n the Party; and asked whether they would be allowed to run as Unionist candidates for Parliament i n future. Balfour's reply seemed to c o n s t i -tute another v i c t o r y f o r the T a r i f f Reformers, f o r , while leaving the ultimate choice to the l o c a l constituencies, he made i t clear that i f he were required to make a choice, he would c e r t a i n l y not choose a man who would offer a divided 13 allegiance, t The independent Duke of Devonshire also made his d i s l i k e of the Valentine l e t t e r s c l e a r , and observed that i n his opinion the compromise arrived at what would s u i t no major party. He d i d , however, observe i n a d i g n i -11. Newton, op., c i t . , p. 352. 12. The almost ludicrous depths to which t h e i r bitterness could descend had already been i l l u s t r a t e d l a t e i n January when the Free Food Peers had decided to 'dine apart' from t h e i r Unionist colleagues at the t r a d i -t i o n a l s e m i - o f f i c i a l banquet preceding the opening of Parliament. Newton, op., c i t . , p. .347. 13. The Times interpreted t h i s reply of B a l f o u r l s t o mean " . . . t h a t the party are i n earnest about f i s c a l reform'.' February 16, 1906, p. 9. / i 116 f l e d way that "... T a r i f f Reform was no longer a matter for 14 discussion within the party...." In the House of Lords on February 22 and at the Unionist Free Trade Club on March 6 the Duke was to make his l a s t two speeches on the subject (although he l i v e d u n t i l 1908); i n both cases he vigorously 15 opposed the policy advocated by the T a r i f f Reform League. I t i s evident that the s p l i t i n the Party had by no means disappeared, although the preponderant representation of the T a r i f f Reformers seems to have rather subdued the Free Fooders for a while. Chamberlain and his followers, however, were themselves slow to recover from the e l e c t i o n set-back, and i t was while they were tr y i n g to 'get t h e i r bearings' that the Government su r p r i s i n g l y took the offen-sive on the f i s c a l question. In an obvious attempt to ' n a i l the l i d ' on the c o f f i n of T a r i f f Reform, a L i b e r a l M. P., S i r James Kitson, moved i n the Commons on March 12: That t h i s House, recognizing that i n the recent general e l e c t i o n the people of the United Kingdom have demonstrated t h e i r unqualified f i d e l i t y to the p r i n c i p l e s and practices of free trade, deems i t r i g h t to record i t s determination to r e s i s t any proposal whether by way of taxation upon foreign corn or by the creation of a general t a r i f f upon foreign goods, to create i n t h i s country a system of protection. 16 Two features of the r e s u l t i n g debate were outstand-ing. In the f i r s t place, during i t a remarkable group of 14. Holland, op., c i t . . p. 394. 15. I b i d . . p. 398* 16. Hansard. (4th Ser.), March 12, 1906, v o l . 153, C 949. 17 maiden speeches was made—those of" P h i l i p Snowden, who en-dorsed Free Trade, and F. E. Smith, who described himself as a "... perfectly unrepentant Member of the T a r i f f Reform League," being especially noteworthy. In the second place, the whole debate progressed very u n s a t i s f a c t o r i l y from a T a r i f f Reform point of view. Mr. Balfour made a clever speech which was a masterpiece of forensic s k i l l ; when, hov/ever, he faced the Government with a series of questions based on very subtle but rather specious inferen-ces which he had drawn from the wording of the resol u t i o n , .Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman replied bluntly and effectively; I have no answer to give to them. They are u t t e r l y f u t i l e , non-sensical and misleading. They were invented by the Right Hon. Gentleman for the purpose of occupying time i n t h i s debate. I say,, enough of t h i s foolery I I t might have answered very w e l l i n the l a s t Parliament, but i t i s altogether out of place i n t h i s Parliament. The Tone of t h i s P a r l i a -ment w i l l not permit i t . Move your amendments, and l e t us get to business. 19 Undoubtedly the Prime Minister had scored over his 20 adversary. Even Hewing regarded the debate as a f i a s c o , and recorded the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n which Balfour's performance aroused amongst his own supporters. The T a r i f f Reformers 17. Hansard (4th Ser.) March 12, 1906, v o l . 153, c. 1007 -1014. 18. I b i d . , c 1015. 19. I b i d . . c 992 20. Hewins, op_. c i t . . p. 172. 118 were made none the happier when Joseph Chamberlain found him-s e l f unable to speak before the closure, and when Lord Ridley withdrew a T a r i f f Reform motion i n the House of L o r d s — apparently at the request of Lord Lansdowne. After t h i s skirmish, Balfour avoided T a r i f f Reform completely i n his speeches for the rest of the year. Out-wardly the Chamberlainites made l i t t l e comment on t h i s s i l e n -ce; they, themselves were none too active at this time. Behind the scenes, however, i t i s clear that such extreme 21 f i s c a l reformers as Ivor Maxse became increasingly d i s s a t i s -f i e d at the absence of i n s p i r i n g leadership. Much more serious from t h e i r point of view, a f t e r J u l y , was Joseph Chamberlain's i l l n e s s , although the nature of i t (a p a r a l y t i c stroke) was concealed from them for some months by his family, who issued' i n the interim the most optimistic b u l l e t i n s on his progress. While Chamberlain's future was uncertain, the T a r i f f Reform campaign appears to have undergone a d i f f i c u l t time. Hewins records that the T a r i f f Commission, "...though able at any time to obtain additional funds, had f o r the 22 moment come to the end of i t s resources." A short while l a t e r , Mr. J.R.Cousins, the secretary of the T a r i f f Reform League, resigned. The long range planning, however, contin-ued; as early as September 28 the League published a complete 21. See Austen Chamberlain's comments on him; P e t r i e , op. c i t . , p. 198. 22. Hewins, op. c i t . , p. 184. 119 23 F a l l and Winter schedule of meetings. When,.'towards the end of the year, i t was real i z e d that Chamberlain's return was problematical, the leadership of the movement passed into the hands of a group of his most ardent supporters, the most 24 zealous and i n f l u e n t i a l of whom was his son Austen. A f i n a l s i g n i f i c a n t development i n the T a r i f f Reform world towards the end of 1906 was the evident r e a l i z a t i o n by these new leaders of the importance of associating, t h e i r f i s c a l proposals with d i r e c t s o c i a l reform. Here, f o r instan-ce, i s Austen Chamberlain's description of his shrewd approach to a Liberal-Unionist delegation which met him i n Dublin on December 8. My argument was that the democracy want two things; . imperialism and s o c i a l reform.. We were successful just so long as we combined, the two ideals. We l o s t when we f a i l e d to s a t i s f y t h e i r aspirations on the second. We can only win by combining them again. Our poli c y on s o c i a l reform should not be li m i t e d to one question, but the f i r s t and greatest branch of i t i s T a r i f f Reform. 25. He took exactly the same stand i n a New Year's message publish-26 ed i n Garvin's paper, The Outlook, on January 5, 1907. The year 1907 was one i n which the T a r i f f Reformers 23. The Times. September 28, 1908, p. 8. 24. I disagree here with H.A.Taylor (op., c i t . , p. 106), who claims that the mantle of Joseph Chamberlain f e l l on Andrew Bonar Law. 25. Chamberlain, op., c i t . , pp. 41 - 42. Letter to Mrs. Joseph Chamberlain, December 8, 1906. 26. P e t r i e , op., c i t . . v o l . 1, pp. 200 - 202. 120 continued t h e i r e f f o r t s to keep t h e i r programme uppermost i n that of the Unionist Party, and i n which, i n t h i s respect, they were moderately successful. I t was not one, hov/ever, i n which they made any s i g n i f i c a n t gains i n the country at large. Attention has already been directed to the f a c t t h a t i n the closing months of 1906 the enthusiastic T a r i f f Reform-ers were becoming increasingly i r r i t a t e d . a t Balfour's f a i l u r e to allude more frequently to t h e i r favourite topic. This discontent mounted as the year progressed. An early i n d i c a -t i o n of t h i s discontent was the action of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the T a r i f f Reform League, Lord Ridley, who wrote very f o r c i b l y on the subject to Austen Chamberlain 27 on January 15, 1907. Balfour himself was we l l aware of the f e e l i n g , but for four reasons very l o t h to act. He was con-vinced that party unity must s t i l l . b e the f i r s t consideration, and he was equally sure that i t would be t a c t i c a l f o l l y while 28 i n opposition to embrace a detailed programme. Furthermore, i t i s very clear from Hewins' observations at th i s time, that Balfour s t i l l had his doubts about T a r i f f Reform i t s e l f , and that he resented the methods of many of i t s proponents. In December of 1906, Hewins noted i n h i s diary: 27. P e t r i e , op_. c i t . . v o l . 1, pp. 202 - 203. 28. Dugdale, op. c i t . , v o l . 2> p. 45. 121 Balfour's approval of T a r i f f Reform struck me as being merely academic. He had no busi-ness or economic objection to food taxes, i n f a c t he rather l i k e d them. But he thought the electorate would not stand them. He seemed to me to shrink from taxes on manufac-tures because of the complication of a t a r i f f . 29 After another meeting with Balfour i n .'January, Hew-ins recorded: Balfour strongly objects to what he considers the T a r i f f Reform League to be, 30 and added: I t i s quite evident that Balfour fe e l s quite strong h o s t i l i t y not to Chamberlain's p o l i c y , but to his methods and actions during the l a s t three years. 31 F i n a l l y , however, Balfour did consent to repeat what he had already said so often before, but what, as he humor-32 ously remarked i n a l e t t e r to his secretary, the T a r i f f 33 Reformers never t i r e d of hearing. At H u l l on February 1, 34 and at London on February 15 before the National Union, he reaffirmed that T a r i f f Reform was the f i r s t plank i n the Party's programme although he warned his l i s t e n e r s that the 29. Hewins, op_. c i t . . p. 185. 30. I b i d . , p. 187. Apparently on t h i s occasion Balfour t o l d Hewins that Chamberlain had never t o l d him of his plans f o r the T a r i f f Commission u n t i l i t s creation was announc-ed. 31. I b i d . , pp. 188 - 189. 32. Dugdale, op. c i t . , v o l 2,, p. 44. 33. The Times. February 2, 1907, p. 13. 34. The Times. February 16, 1907, p. 6. 122 Unionists must never become wedded to a single idea. He ex-plained h i s reasons for objecting to a detailed stand i n opposition, deprecated making T a r i f f Reform into a test question f o r Unionists, likened party squabbles over i t to the s t r i f e amongst the Christians at Constantinople i n 1453, and saw no reason for issuing monthly b u l l e t i n s on his T a r i f f Reform views. He claimed to see "... a c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of Unionist views i n favour of a sound, safe and sober p o l i c y of 35 f i s c a l reform," and on the whole appears to have s a t i s f i e d the rank and f i l e of the Party—although he had c e r t a i n l y not appeased the extremists on the T a r i f f Reform side. One of the chief problems facing the T a r i f f Reform-ers was the fact that t h e i r representation on the Unionist front bench was not nearly as strong as i t was amongst the 36 rank and f i l e of the Unionist members. 35. The Times. February 2, 1907, p. 6. 36. Austen Chamberlain wrote on January 16 to Lord Ridley: Between ourselves, I believe that there i s no ex-Cabinet Minister on whose assistance I can c o n f i d e n t i a l l y count i n an u p h i l l f i g h t except Arnold Forster. Akers-Doug-las i s always sympathetic, but of course he i s a Party man before a l l things and never takes the lead. Walter Long i s with us, but he i s more and more engrossed, as i s only natural, with the I r i s h question, which f o r him as an I r i s h member, overshadows . a l l others. Balfour seems to me very impracticable, and?Alfred L y t t l e t o n , besides being impracticable, w i l l not move at a l l unless i t i s agreeable to Balfour. On the front bench, therefore, we have only Arnold For-ster , Bonar Law, Lee, Cochrane, and myself on whom any r e a l reliance can be placed. Cited i n P e t r i e , op. c i t . , pp. 203 - 204. 123 They could exert t h e i r influence on the 'Shadow Cabinet,' but i t often required much work and prolonged argument. A notable i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s occurred i n February—March of 1907 when, with the opening of the new session of Parliament, the Unionists had to decide on the manner i n which f i s c a l reform would be raised i n the House. The T a r i f f Reformers, who were a l l i n favour of the introduction of a strong amend-ment embodying t h e i r views i n the debate on the King's Address, found themselves faced with considerable opposition among the Party's leaders, either to the introduction of any amendment at a l l , or else to the introduction of anything unless i t was couched i n the most vague terms. Balfour's reluctance to take a strong l i n e was an open secret, and was discussed i n such papers as the Morning  Post. Not. u n t i l the inner c i r c l e of T a r i f f Reformers led by Austen Chamberlain, and including Lord Ridley, Bonar Law, S i r Gilb e r t Parker, E.A. Goulding, J . W. H i l l s , A. Lee, and J.F. Remnant, had applied the strongest pressure, and had l e t i t 38 be known that they would act independently, i f necessary, did the Shadow Cabinet capitulate, and agree to the production 39 of a r e l a t i v e l y mild f i s c a l amendment—eventually introduced, by 37. Chamberlain, A., op., c i t . . pp 48 - 50. 38. Loc. c i t . . 39. "But t h i s House humbly expresses regret that no reference i s made i n Your Majesty's speech to the approaching Col-o n i a l Conference, and to the opportunity thereby offered f o r promoting freer trade w i t h i n the Empire and closer commercial relat i o n s with the Colonies on a p r e f e r e n t i a l basis." Hansard. (4th Ser.), February 19, 1907, v o l . 169, c.723-4. 124 J. W. H i l l s , and seconded by Evelyn C e c i l . In the re s u l t i n g debate Balfour rather surprised everyone by enjoining the Government to use the few duties which remained f o r a l l that they were worth p r e f e r e n t i a l l y , and by promising new ones which would c e r t a i n l y be used p r e f e r e n t i a l l y , under a Union-i s t regime. Perhaps his candour was to some degree provoked by Rowland Hunt, a Unionist M.P. who had attacked him on the previous day. Balfour, Hunt declared, "Thought of the great free traders And thought of Cousin Hugh And so do a l l the wobblers 40 Who begin to wobble too." He entreated his leader to descend from "...the Olympian 41 heights of philosophy and golf." In any event, the T a r i f f 42 Reformers were pleased with Balfour's e f f o r t , even though i t s e ffect was reduced shortly thereafter when the Liberals f l a t l y asked him i f he favoured a tax on food, and he refused to reply. For the balance of the 1907 session, the T a r i f f Re-formers concentrated t h e i r attacks i n Parliament on the narrowness of the country's system of taxation and l i m i t e d sources of revenue. This was by no means a new approach— 40. Hansard. (4th Ser.), February 19, 1907, v o l . 169, c.79L. 41. Loc. c i t . 42. Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . , p. 53. 125 the Free Trade Chancellor, Goschen, had been worried by the 43 same problem i n the previous c e n t u r y — but i t was becoming an increasingly e f f e c t i v e one as the demands on the Treasury had obviously begun to mount. Balfour probably was most responsible for i t s r e v i v a l ; Austen Chamberlain hammered at the subject when replying to Asquith's budget speech i n 44 A p r i l ; S i r G i l b e r t Parker spoke i n the same vein on May 1, and Bonar Law followed up l a t e r i n the same month. During the l a s t s i x months of 1907 there was a d e f i n i t e upsurge i n T a r i f f Reform a c t i v i t y , as a large numb-er of t h e i r speakers championed various s o c i a l reform s - - i n -cluding old age pensions—throughout the country, and advo-cated the use of a t a r i f f , rather than a dir e c t tax on land and r e a l property, as the source of the necessary funds. Lord Milner became conspicuous i n t h i s endeavour, and by November was describing T a r i f f Reform as a matter of p r i n -45 c i p l e on which he would not compromise. While the T a r i f f Reformers thus became more openly aggressive, they also objected more vigorously to Balfour's 46 tolerant attitude towards Free Fooders. Jesse C o l l i n s , a Birmingham M. P. and long-time associate of Joseph Chamber-43. Clapham, op., c i t . , .vol. 2, p. 405. 44. Hansard. (4th Ser.) May 1, 1907, v o l . 173, c. 9 2 1 - 3 . 45. The Annual Register. 1907, p. 251. 46. Especially i n the columns of The Morning Post, c f . TlTe. Annual Register, 1907, p_' 236. 126 l a i n , attracted much attention when he declared on September 23, 1907 that "...the Unionist Party....was l i k e the men 47 going through the wilderness without a Moses." He claimed to speak for a large number, probably the majority of Union-i s t members, when he added: The younger members w e r e chafing under the i n a c t i o n to which they were condemned. They had a leadership which created no con-fusion, but rather damaged i t ; they had a leadership halting between two opinions, recognizing i n an academic and half-hearted way the great item i n Mr. Chamberlain's platform—namely, that of t a r i f f reform, but the efforts that were put forward to further that, compared with what those e f f o r t s ought to be were poor and puny. 48 In the next month Austen Chamberlain wrote a long and serious l e t t e r to Mr. Balfour on the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a -t i o n , i n which he referred to declining L i b e r a l strength but Labour's r i s i n g popularity. He attributed the l a t t e r to 49 t h e i r popular programme. He appealed for a re-emphasis of T a r i f f Reform, an endorsation of a contributory Old Age Pensions scheme, a Unionist Land P o l i c y , and a P o l i c y with regard to Sweated Industries. The pressure thus exerted on Balfour was undoubtedly timed to influence his stand before the National Union Con-ference i n November, 1907. As the date for the gathering 47. The Times. September 24, 1907, p. 8. 48. Loc. C i t . , As paraphrased by The Times. 49* Dugdale, op., c i t . , v o l 2., pp. 47 - 48. 127 approached, the T a r i f f Reform zealots m u l t i p l i e d t h e i r e f f o r -ts s t i l l f urther; indeed, they went too f a r for The Times, which, though never as rabid as the Morning Post, had from May of 1903 strongly supported t h e i r cause. Thus, on the very eve of the Party gathering at Birmingham, i t was prompted to advise caution i n these words: These ardent advocates who are t r y i n g to force t a r i f f reform to the front, and, indeed, to make i t the exclusive test of Unionism, may be i n v i t e d to look at the matter from the p r a c t i -c a l commonsense point of view. Do they think that the general conditions at the moment are favourable to t h e i r enterprise? There has been, and there s t i l l i s , great a c t i v i t y i n trade.... The p r a c t i c a l f a c t i s that when everyone i s busy and f u l l of the excitement of what the Americans c a l l a "boom," there i s very l i t t l e d i s p o s i t i o n to question the excellence of the existing system, be i t what i t may. This i s not a good time f o r free-traders i n p r o t e c t i o n i s t countries, or f o r p r o t e c t i o n i s t s i n a free-trade country.... Suppose that a general election were to occur shortly, and that the Unionist party won upon the t a r i f f reform question. Could i t carry t a r i f f reform straight away? Everyone knows that i t could not.... In face of the present p o l i t i c a l storm, the urgent duties of the Unionists, while including a vigorous t a r i f f reform propaganda, do not seem to c a l l f o r the making of i t into a test question or into the exclusive object of concern. 50 Actually, when Balfour spoke on November 14 he came out very strongly i n favour of T a r i f f Reform, i n an address which was often referred to i n l a t e r years. Not only did he repeat a l l of the points suggested to him by Austen Chamber-l a i n , but he went fa r t h e r , and boldly attacked the Government for missing great opportunities at the Imperial Conference 50. The Times, November 13, 1907, p. 11. 128 that year. He sought to prove, i n addition, that the tremen-dous increase i n the overseas acreage i n wheat, and the con-sequent decline i n the price of that commodity, had v i r t u a l l y 51 disproved the Free Trade case on the price of grain. Balfour was so e f f e c t i v e i n stating his p o s i t i o n that his T a r i f f Reform c r i t i c s were quieted; during the next two and one-half years they had r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e to say about his leadership. I t was i n the year 1908 that the t i d e f i r s t appeared to turn, ;and to run strongly i n the d i r e c t i o n of T a r i f f Re-form. Just why t h i s was the case, and why the swing took place 52 so r a p i d l y , i s not e n t i r e l y clear. Three factors however, probably were primarily responsible. In the f i r s t place, the change was to some extent the r e s u l t of the propaganda camp-aign of the T a r i f f Reformers themselves. What i s more l i k e l y i s that i t was a natural swing of the pendulum ifrom i t s ab-normal position i n January, 1906. Of primary importance was the setback to B r i t a i n ' s economy which had resulted from the American f i n a n c i a l c r i s i s i n 1907. During the years 1908 and 1909, the value of B r i t i s h exports dropped, the abnormal boom i n the B r i t i s h engineering and shipbuilding industries came to an end, and the cost of l i v i n g , which had been slowly increasing since 1900, began to r i s e more ra p i d l y . "Serious 51. Dugdale, op. c i t . , pp. 48-9. 52. As l a t e as November, 1907, the Unionists were losing by-elections with a smaller vote than they polled i n . January, 1906. 129 economic i l l - h e a l t h there was not," says Clapham, but t h i s combination of s l i g h t declines i n the number of wage rates and a general decline i n the amount of work paid f o r with a r i s e , though a t i n y one, i n the average cost of l i v i n g led to v/idespread discomfort and some r e a l d i s t r e s s . 53. The year was only eighteen days old when the new trend began to make i t s e l f evident. On that day "... a great 54 surprise to everyone ...." took place at Mid Devon, where the Liberals l o s t a seat which they had held for twenty years. The r e s u l t was s i g n i f i c a n t because the T a r i f f Reformers had been extremely active i n the campaign, and had apparently made very e f f e c t i v e use of t r a v e l l i n g vans laden with l i t e r a -54a ture, and speakers. These vans, i n c i d e n t a l l y , were under the control of S i r Howard Vincent, now the Chairman of the Literature Committee of the National Union of Conservative Associations, who, though he had taken a back seat since Chamberlain's move i n 1903, had '.'... never ceased his labours 55 or slackened i n his enthusiasm for the cause." The good news for the T a r i f f Reformers continued. On February 7, 1908, the T a r i f f Reform League, which was 56 holding i t s annual meeting on t h i s very day, were delighted the of another  by/winning/; seat from the Government. On the following day 53. Clapham, op. c i t . , v o l . 3, p. 59. 54. The Times. January 20, 1908, p. 9. 54a. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 4. 55. Jeyes and How, op_. c i t . p. 333. 56. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 27. 150 the Government retained South Leeds, but with a greatly re-duced majority. Further encouragement was provided by a by-57 el e c t i o n success at Hastings on March 3, by a great Union-i s t v i c t o r y at Peckham, when H.G. Gooch became the new Union-58 i s t member, and p a r t i c u l a r l y by the defeat of Winston C h u r c h i l l at West Manchester, i n a by-election occasioned by his elevation to the Presidency of the Board of Trade. The : successful Unionist, Joynson-Hicks, was himself none too keen a f i s c a l reformer, and concentrated on other issues i n his speeches—although he had disowned the support of the Union-59 i s t Free Trade League. The T a r i f f Reform League, however, campaigned strongly on his behalf, and C h u r c h i l l himself saw the r e s u l t as a"heavy blow to the cause of Liberalism and 60 Free Trade." The Liberals had l i t t l e to cheer about on May 6 when they held East Wolverhampton i n the face of a s p i r i t e d bid made by Leopold Amery; t h e i r majority was reduc-ed from 2,856 (votes) to a mere eight. Heartened by these successes, the T a r i f f Reform League redoubled i t s e f f o r t s . At the annual meeting on Feb-ruary 7, 1908 Lord Ridley was able to describe i t s progress 61 during the preceding year as phenomenal. Of the 2,156 57. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 30. 58. A brother of the h i s t o r i a n . 59. The Annual Register, 1908, p. 83. 60. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 84. 6 1 • The Times. February 8, 1908, p. 6. presidents and vice-presidents of the various branches l i s t e d i n the annual report, at least s i x t y - f i v e were M. P.'s, 170 were.Lords, and 204 were candidates f o r Parliament or former candidates. Ridley appealed for increased f i n a n c i a l support i n view of a new £50,000 war chest being raised by the Free Trade League. Apparently he got i t , f o r the Annual Register declared, when describing the Peckham by-election, that "Money was poured into the constituency, there were almost 62 as many.canvassers as electors,...." The following excerpt from a l e t t e r of Austen Chamb-erl a i n J s dated July 9, 1908, gives some i n d i c a t i o n of the magnitude of the drive being staged: F i r s t Six Months of the Year: 1906 1907 1908 Subscriptions £2,000 £6,000 £8,400 Donations £3,100 £2,000 £2,100 Sale of Monthly Notes £ 55 £ 136 £ 215 Total Income £6,200 £8,500 £12,100 Total Expenditure £7,800 £5,500 £8,600 Leaflets Issued 1,000,000 3,000,000 The l a s t e d i t i o n of the Speaker's Handbook-was pub-lish e d i n October, 10,000 copies were printed; only 400 remain i n hand. Number of meetings arranged from V i c t o r i a Street alone i n the. past s i x months was 241—approximate attendance 64,000—average net cost to the League per meeting 10s. 5^d. Pretty good, i s i t not? 63 62. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 70. 63. Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . , p. 131. 132 In the House of Commons the T a r i f f Reformers stepped up t h e i r p o l icy of giving the Liberals a dose of t h e i r own medicine by r a i s i n g the f i s c a l question whenever occasion per-mitted. On March 24, for example, Mr. Goulding evoked a short debate with a motion proposing T a r i f f Reform and Coloni-64 a l Preference as a cure for unemployment. The discussion followed the now w e l l - f a m i l i a r l i n e s . The T a r i f f Reformers referred to m i l l s being closed, or to t h e i r f i n i s h i n g materi-als l a r g e l y prepared abroad: the Liberals replied with the usual plaudits for B r i t i s h shipbuilders, and drew attention to the number of unemployed i n p r o t e c t i o n i s t New York and B e r l i n . Again on May 26 a Unionist back bencher, Mr. Gwynne, the member for Galway, sought an opening by asking f o r a re-duction i n the excise duty on I r i s h grown tobacco. This Mr. Lloyd George stopped by describing the proposal as outright 65 protection. A further i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s technique occur-red on June 1 when the Unionists returned to the cry so dear to Mr. Balfour's h e a r t — t h e need for broadening the basis of taxation "... i n view of the growing l i a b i l i t i e s of the nation f o r naval and m i l i t a r y defence, old-age pensions, and education." The motion which they introduced was defeated 64. Hansard. (4th Ser.), March 24, 1908, vol.186,col.1325-31. 65. I b i d . May-..-26, 1908, v o l . 189, c. 1022. 66. Ibid..June 1, 1908, v o l . 189, c. 1587. 133 by 367 to 124, but Lord Robert C e c i l and other Unionist Free 67 Fooders supported i t . The Government, of course, was by no means prepared to l e t the i n i t i a t i v e on the f i s c a l question pass e n t i r e l y into opposition hands; as early as February 28 Mr. Lloyd George c a l l e d f or a bold stand against the T a r i f f Reformers. The Liberals were well aware that the increase i n the cost of bread had cost them many by-election votes, andj therefore, sought to c l a r i f y the matter i n the Commons on March 4, when S i r Joseph Leese moved That t h i s House i s of the opinion that the recent high price of bread i n t h i s country i s due to natural causes alone, and. that any import duty on wheat would tend to raise the price s t i l l higher 68 and aggravate the suffering caused by dear bread.... Leese sought to j u s t i f y his motion i n these words: A cardinal feature of the T a r i f f Reform League was the taxation of wheat. Further, the T a r i f f Reform League had captured the Tory Party, i t s organization, i t s money, i t s s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l influence, and l a s t , but by no means l e a s t , i t s Leader. I t had also captured the Chief Tory Whip, l a t e Patronage Secretary to the Conservative Government. Under these circumstances the great p o l i t i c a l aspirations of the T a r i f f Reform League were now the p o l i t i c a l aspirations of the Tory Party. 69 The ensuing debate can be re a d i l y dismissed for i t was large-l y concerned with the r e l a t i v e price of grain and bread i n France and England, and with the reasons for any d i f f e r e n t i a l s . 67. Hansard, (4th Ser.), June 2, 1908, v o l . 189, c. 1795. 68. I b i d . March 4\, 1908, v o l . 185, c. 774. 69. I b i d . March 4, 1908, vol.,185, c. 775. 134 I t was unique, however, i n that i t . was one of the f i r s t occasions when the ludicrous slogans used i n the by-election campaigns on f i s c a l matters reached the f l o o r of the House of Commons. Two used against the T a r i f f Reformers were One hundred babies have starved to death i n Toronto since New Year's Day—therefore t a r i f f reform means starvation. 70 A vote for Goulding means protection, a vote for protection means horseflesh and rye bread. 71 Undoubtedly the T a r i f f Reformers r e t a l i a t e d i n kind to th i s nonsense. A much more effe c t i v e L i b e r a l reply to the T a r i f f Reformers was contained i n Mr. Asquith's 1908 budget, f o r , i n spite of the confident predictions of the former that he had reached the l i m i t of Free Trade financing, he managed not only to make provision for the introduction of Old Age Pensions, but also to reduce the duty on sugar from 4s. 2d. to I s . lOd. per hundred-weight. The best that the T a r i f f 72 Reformers could do with t h i s "...Budget of post o b i t s " as the Daily Mail neatly described i t , was to point for the need a year hence f o r a greatly increased revenue, not only to take care of a f u l l twelve months' operation of the Pens-ions scheme, but also to meet r i s i n g naval expenditure. Even the Spectator, the staunch organ of the Unionist Free 73 Traders took up the cry. 70. Hansard (4th Ser.), March 4, 1908, v o l . 185 c. 790.. 71. I b i d . . c 802. 72. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 100. 73. Loc. c i t . t 135 Before the summer was over, sugar actually became a source of embarrassment to the Government, which was faced with the problem of renewing or dropping i t s adherence to the Brussels Sugar Convention. I t undoubtedly, alienated some of i t s most ardent Free-Trade supporters when i t decided to adhere to the Convention i n i t s modified form (which over a s i x year period allowed Russia to export 1,000,000 tons of 74 sugar to Western Europe). The r i s i n g acceptance of T a r i f f Reform continued to plague the L i b e r a l s . Only two days a f t e r Asquith warned the National L i b e r a l Federation of the menace (June 18), the Government l o s t another by-election, t h i s time at Pudsey— 75 amid great T a r i f f Reform r e j o i c i n g . But the supporters of the Government did not lack i n resource-fulness, and continued to defend t h e i r c i t a d e l vigorously. They did not hesitate to stage i n London from August 4 - 7 , the f i r s t International Free Trade Congress, attended by over f i v e hundred delegates from a l l parts of the world, and cheer-74. The Right Hon. S.T.Lough, Parliamentary Secretary, of the Board of Education i n the L i b e r a l Administration u n t i l Campbell-Bannerman*s death, b i t t e r l y denounced t h i s move i n an a r t i c l e e n t i t l e d "Free Trade and the Late Mi n i s t r y " published i n The Contemporary Review for June, 1908, v o l . 93, pp. ;;679-691. He regretted that the negotiations had f a l l e n under the control of S i r Edward Grey, whom he re-garded as unduly influenced by h i s experiences as a Cham-berlain-appointed Commissioner to the West Indies i n 1896. 75. Austen Chamberlain was delighted, and wrote to his step-mother: "Bravo PudseyI What a surprise. Pike Pease was very hopeful, but I simply didn't believe a win to be possible. Alex Hood (The Unionist Whip) said to me today: "Hughes won that seat. They were going to lose i t l i k e South Leeds. The same man was playing the same game, but (Cont'.d p. 136) 136 ed when before i t C h u r c h i l l espoused Free Trade as a contribu-t i o n to world peace, and Asquith sffirmed that i t could d e f i n -76 i t e l y stand up to the f i n a n c i a l burden of s o c i a l reform. Neither did they hesitate to use the crudest means to hammer home the dear loaf cry. In November the Free Trade Union had sandwichmen parading i n Cardiff with placards reading Is Mr. Balfour a T a r i f f Reformer? Who Knows? W i l l he tax coal and r u i n Cardiff? W i l l he tax bread?—Wool?—Meat? 77 These questions the Cardiff Free Traders mailed to Balfour. He did not reply. In spite of these counter attacks, however, by Dec-ember 1908 the T a r i f f Reformers had every reason to be s a t i s -f i e d with t h e i r year's work, and to expect great things i n the months ahead. Their successes were acknowledged by f r i e n d and foe, and there was no reason to believe that they would be checked. An exuberant enthusiasm swept the movement. One additional development i n the f i s c a l contro-versy i n 1908, and an expression of t h i s r i s i n g confidence, was the public revelation that a small group of the most ardent T a r i f f Reformers was working assiduously to eliminate Unionist Free Free Food representation i n Parliament. As early as January 10, 1908 Lord Balfour of Burleigh p u b l i c l y 75. (Cont'd, from p. 135). I sent Hughes down and he stopped i t " — i . e . he stopped the banning of T a r i f f Reform." Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . , p. 128. 76. The Times, August 5, 1908, p. 8. 77. The Annual Register. 1908, p. 825. 137 doubted the Party's a b i l i t y to control these Confederates, 78 as they soon became commonly known. (To Lord Robert C e c i l 79 they were " p o l i t i c a l moonlighters") Lord Hugh C e c i l declared b i t t e r l y i n a l e t t e r to The Times on March 19, 1908 that they were planning to oppose the r e - e l e c t i o n of twenty-five 80 s i t t i n g Unionist members. Lord Newton records that many Free Fooders, headed by Lord Cromer, bombarded Lord Lansdowne 81 with l e t t e r s protesting t h e i r treatment at Confederate hands. Much of the aura of mystery surrounding Confederate moves was swept away i n January of 1909 when an anonymous member of the group described i t c a r e f u l l y i n a very remark-82 able a r t i c l e i n the National Review. He claimed that the ranks included "... several well-known peers and a number of Members of Parliament, a large proportion of Unionist Candi-dates, and also many prominent men i n the l i t e r a r y world, a l l of whom, whole-hearted and ardent Imp e r i a l i s t s , are f i r m -l y convinced that t h e i r goal i s at the end of the T a r i f f Re-83 formcroad." The Confederacy was organized, he maintained, soon a f t e r Joseph Chamberlain's i l l n e s s , when there were i n -dications that his policy might be sidetracked, and p o l i c y -making, from the s t a r t , was placed i n the hands of an annually-78. The Times, January 11, 1909, p. 7. 79. The Annual Register, 1908, p. 3. 80. The Times, March 19,1909, p. 11. 81. Lord Newton, op. c i t . , p. 367. 82. A Confederate, HThe ~C6nf ederacv.tCThe National Review, January 1909, v o l . LII,'pp. 741 - 7. 83. A Confederate, op. c i t . , p. 742. PUNCH, OR T H E LONDON* CHARIVARI.—JAMIAIIY 22, 1908. P E A C E F U L P E E S U A S I O N . FIRST C.IKKKDKIIATE. "HERE COMES (H'U MAN. GOT YOUR STICK R E A D Y ? " SKI.WI) C. "DON'T YOU WORRY, I'LL KNOCK HIM OCT." FIRST C. "OOOD! BUT REMEMKEK ARTHUR'S ORDERS- NO OSTRACISM." [It ib r e p o r t e d t h a t a o n i e a r d e n t T a r i f f R e f o r m e r s , r a i l i n g t h e m e e l v e a " T h e f o n f r i l e r a t e a , " h a v e g o n e " t i l l f u r t h e r t h a n tlie g e n t l e m a n h e r e d e p i c t e d , a n d h a r e i w o r o t o K r e e T r a d e U n i o n i n t b e i n g e v e n M - l e r t e d a a a C a n d i d a t e - b y t h e C u n a e r v a t i r e Association ] 138 elected Council of Twelve, "... to whose decrees every new 84 member on his introduction into the Society must bow." He made no secret of i t s witch-hunting a c t i v i t i e s , which he declared, were based on reports regularly received from a l l constituencies. The Confederacy, he added, was prepared "... to a s s i s t any opposition movement (to Unionist Free 85 Fooders) with funds." The most inte r e s t i n g feature of his revelations was the frank explanation which he gave f o r these dr a s t i c moves. Apparen.tly rthe Confederates' actions were based on the b e l i e f 86 that "... the l a s t proselyte has been made and that there was no further hope of winning over the Free Fooders. They were also rooted i n the conviction (as at January, 1909) that i n the next election the Unionist Party stood to receive 87 a majority of from t h i r t y to f i f t y seats. F i f t e e n black sheep would consequently, be i n a pos i t i o n to k i l l T a r i f f Reform i n the House, and d i s c r e d i t i t i n the country. The 84. A Confederate, op_. c i t . , p. 743. 85. Loc. c i t . (Insertion mine). He boasted of a p l e n t i f u l supply of money. "The Confederacy comprises many men whose pockets are as deep as t h e i r p o l i t i c a l convic-t i o n s , and just as f u l l . " p. 744. 86. I b i d . . p. 747. 87. I t was quite a reasonable estimate. Ensor takes as authoritative an estimate which at t h i s time would have given them one hundred seats. Ensor, op. c i t . , p. 418. 139 f i f t e e n , therefore, were to be eliminated, and great care was to be taken to see that they were not replaced by others. I t i s only possible to speculate who the members of the Committee of Twelve were. I t i s doubtful i f Austen Chamberlain was formally a member of the group, and yet h i s l e t t e r s made i t very p l a i n that he sympathized and worked with them. He wrote, for instance, a f t e r attending the month-l y meeting of the Executive Committee of the T a r i f f Reform League on March 12, 1908 On the motion of Bonar Law i t was unanimously decided, i n view of the p r o b a b i l i t y of an early by-election i n Winston Churchill's con-stituency through his promotion to the Cabinet, that unless Joynson-Hicks, the accepted Conser-vative candidate, would unreservedly accept Balfour's Birmingham programme, we would run a T a r i f f Reform candidate. Norwood i s s t i r r i n g i t s e l f up against Bowles (a Free Fooder). Notts has got s a t i s -factory assurance out of Lord H. Bentinck. 88 His l e t t e r s i n February 1909 make i t a d d i t i o n a l l y clear that Goulding and H.A. Gwynne-f of The Standard were active i n seek-ing to oust the heretics, and were i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y leading Confederates. In that month both men came to see Chamberlain on several occasions about the po s i t i o n of Lord Robert C e c i l , a Free Fooder whom they held i n the highest regard, and for whom they were prepared to make some concession. Austen wrote on February 14 I t o l d him ( i . e . Gwynne) that the only compro-mise possible was that Bob should not be opposed i f he undertook not to oppose a Unionist Gorern-ment, and i f , apart from the s p e c i f i c terms of 88. Chamberlain, A., op. c i t . . pp. 97.- 8. 140 hi s pledge, he meant to he a f r i e n d of a Unionist and T a r i f f Reform Government, and that these terms were for Bob and not for others. 89 Eventually the 'negotiations' with Lord Robert broke down, and an agreement with him was not reached u n t i l l a t e r i n the year, when his brother-in-law, Lord Selborne, home on leave from his Governor Generalship of South A f r i c a , interceded on 90 his behalf. A few additional names can probably be added to the l i s t of Confederates, for i n January, 1909 The Daily Graphic included S i r G i l b e r t Parker, Messrs Bonar Law, Claude Hay, J . W. H i l l s , Harry Marks, and some non-M.P.'s i n t h i s cate-gory. Interestingly enough, Lord Ridley, the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the T a r i f f Reform League, disclaimed 91 any connection with the Confederacy on January 28, 1909. I t was during the year 1909 that T a r i f f Reform pros-pects reached t h e i r peak; i t was also during t h i s year that the f a t a l decision was made which, i n the l a s t analysis, was to postpone i t s application f or over twenty years. The early months of the year furnished great promise 92 of Success. The Unionist machine was now d e f i n i t e l y i n the 89. Chamberlain, A., op,, c i t . p . 139. 90. Ware, Fabian, "Unionist Opposition and Imperial Democracy," The Nineteenth Century. November, 1909, v o l . 66, pp. 733-742, p. 740. 91. The Annual Register, 1909, p. 5. 92. In the F a l l of the year Mr. Fabian Vfcire, the editor of the Morning Post, was w r i t i n g : "Six months ago the v i c t o r y of T a r i f f Reform seemed assured." Ware, ap_. c i t . , p. 733. 93 T a r i f f Reform camp, and the Shadow Cabinet strongly i n favour of a f i s c a l amendment to the King's aAddress—which 94 Austen Chamberlain duly introduced on February 18, thus inaugurating another two day debate. So confident indeed was Henry Chaplin that he wanted the Party to devote more attention to Ireland; " T a r i f f Reform was going so w e l l , " he 95 f e l t , "that i t could take care of i t s e l f . " The T a r i f f "96 Reform League s t i l l further augmented i t s e f f o r t s , and fears of an u l t r a - P r o t e c t i o n i s t r e v i s i o n of the French t a r i f f 97 assisted i t . The by-elections continued to run heavily 98 against the Government. The Liberals themselves registered open alarm; at a mass meeting held i n the Queen's H a l l on March 9 the Prime Minister himself echoed such fears, and 99 c a l l e d f or volunteers to f i g h t the menace. Furthermore, 93. On February 15 Austen Chamberlain was able to quote with s a t i s f a c t i o n t h i s l e t t e r sent by the Unionist Whip to a Free Food M.P. at Glasgow: "My dear Scott Dickson Much as I should l i k e to welcome you back to the House, I had sooner see the seat l o s t than have a Conservative returned who w i l l not support the whole party programme." Chamberlain, A. 0p_. c i t . , p. 142. 94. Hansard. (5th Ser.), February 18, 1909, v o l . 1, c 237. 95. Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . , p. 141. 96. Austen Chamberlain wrote on March 11, 1909, "During December 356,050 l e a f l e t s and cartoons were issued as compared with 188,000 i n December, 1907 and 93,000 i n December 1906." Chamberlain, A., O J J. c i t . , p. 156. 97. The Annual Register. 1909, p. 45. 98. eg. at Croydon, March 29, 1909. The Times, March 30, 1909, p. 11. 99. The Times, March 10, 1909, p. 12. 142 Balfour embraced the T a r i f f Reform creed with new zeal as the year progressed. On March 12, 1909, at a luncheon given to him by the T a r i f f Reform League Executive he directed his most sarcastic r a i l l e r y against the inconsistency of a Govern-ment which w i l l i n g l y denounced l a i s s e z f a i r e i n other f i e l d s , which was s t r i v i n g i n the economic one to cure unemployment, 100 but which would not touch i t s f i s c a l system. Undoubtedly much of the T a r i f f Reform optimism was based on an assumption that the demands of s o c i a l l e g i s l a t i o n , the increased cost of the 1909 naval programme, and the appar-ent reversal of the business cycle had faced Mr. Lloyd George with a major budgetary c r i s i s . For at l e a s t two years innum-erable T a r i f f Reform speakers had followed Mr. Balfour's lead i n i n s i s t i n g on the need f o r "broadening the base," and i n predicting the imminence of Free Trade's day of reckoning. The Chancellor himself had encouraged them i n June 1908 when he declared: " I have no nest eggs at a l l . I have got to rob 101 somebody's hen roost next year." Surely, they f e l t , 1909 was the year of v i c t o r y . I t was, therefore, f i r s t a profound shock, and then a matter of growing dismay to them when, i n his famous f i v e -hour budget speech of A p r i l 30, 1909, Mr. Lloyd George was able to make provision f o r a l l current expenses, and f o r some increases i n the future, without i n any way departing from the Free Trade i d e a l . 100. The Times. March 13, 1909, p. 8. 101. Hansard. (4th Ser.), June 29, 1908, v o l . 191, c 395. 143 Nevertheless, although the torrent of denunciation hurled against the Finance B i l l was v i o l e n t from the begin-102 ning, i f Austen Chamberlain's l e t t e r s (unfortunately very l i m i t e d here) are a f a i r i n d i c a t i o n , i n the early stages of the b a t t l e the T a r i f f Reformers counted on putting up no more than a sp o i l i n g f i g h t , securing possibly a few amendments and deletions, before i t s eventual passage. Apparently i t was because of t h i s f a c t , and also because of the added considera-t i o n that there was a good deal of L i b e r a l opposition to the Budget i n 'clubland and c i t y land,' that the T a r i f f Reformers agreed to the creation of a Budget Protest League on non-party l i n e s , and did not i n s i s t that i t advocate any constr-uctive programme. L i t t l e did they anticipate the r e s u l t of what was, i n r e a l i t y , a major though temporary concession to the Free Fooders. When the Battle of the Budget was joined a l l other issues were eclipsed by i t . The Unionists (for the Budget Protest League attracted few Liberals) found themselves f i g h t -ing almost exclusively on negative l i n e s , denouncing the budget as socialism and worse, but stressing nothing i n i t s place. This approach turned out to be disastrous; i n the early summer, while T a r i f f Reform remained i n abeyance the Liberals under Lloyd George and Asquith v i s i b l y regained much of the ground which they had l o s t during the preceding eight-een months. "What i s known on the c r i c k e t f i e l d as a 'rot' 102. Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . . pp. 177-8. 144 then set i n on the Unionist side.... There followed s i x blank weeks..Panic reigned among T a r i f f Reformers...." who saw 103 "... the Unionist Party f a l l i n g away from t h e i r creed." Eventually i n mid-summer the Budget Protest League adopted the f u l l T a r i f f Reform programme, and the s i t u a t i o n was some-what re l i e v e d . But the confidence of the early months of the year was now completely missing, and i t was an angry party, conscious of the fact that i t had been completely out-manoeu-vred by the Chancellor i n p a r t i c u l a r , which i n the ensuing months decided to f i g h t to the b i t t e r end. I f the T a r i f f Reformers had made a serious t a c t i c a l mistake i n allowing t h e i r programme to be temporarily shelved, they were to make a much bigger one before the summer was over, f o r , at some time during t h i s period, they came to the conclusion that the Budget must be rejected at a l l costs. Obviously, t h e i r b i t t e r f i g h t i n the Commons could no more than delay i t s approval; the huge Government majority made i t s f i n a l passage there a certainty. That l e f t but one re-course, the House of Lords. To i t , the T a r i f f Reformers turned. There could be no doubt that Lloyd George had placed them i n a very d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n . The features of the Bud-get which aroused the most intense opposition—the tax on un-developed land, the supertax, and the tax on the unearned-in-crement—had no d i r e c t effect on 90 percent of the population, 103. Ware, op., c i t . . pp. 739-740. 145 and attacking them, even when of f e r i n g T a r i f f Reform as an a l t e r n a t i v e , l e f t the Unionists wide open to the charge that they wished to finance Old Age Pensions and battleship con-s t r u c t i o n , not by placing the heaviest burden on the broadest back, but by taxing food and consumer goods. On the other hand, the Budget did contain enough unpopular features (such as an increase i n the tax on tobacco, and one on s p i r i t s which had the I r i s h up i n arms.) to make the r i s k involved i n chal-lenging i t a reasonable one. But to c a l l upon the Lords to v i o l a t e a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l precedent of more than two centuries standing was madness indeed and was to play completely into the Government's hands—leaving the Unionist Party open to charges to which there was no r e a l answer. I t was during these trying days that the appaling extent to which s i x years of f i s c a l controversy had sapped the vigour of the Unionist Party's leadership f i r s t became c l e a r l y evident. Balfour and Lansdowne did l i t t l e but swim with the t i d e , and when they did move i t was to support the Lords.' veto. In t h e i r defence i t can be argued that, having already gone so f a r towards the complete T a r i f f Reform posi-t i o n , they were i n r e a l i t y quite unable to do anything else, without irreparably destroying the Party. Even h i s most v i t r o l i c Unionist detractor admits that Balfour i n p a r t i c u l a r was now the helpless v i c t i m of circumstances. Although, however, t h i s was the case by September of 1909, i t must also be appreciated that the even-t u a l r e j e c t i o n of the Budget had been mooted p u b l i c l y as early 146 • 105 as s A p r i l , befo'ke; such a move had become the established policy of the T a r i f f Reformers. The c r i t i c i s m to which B a l -four's action i s so vulnerable here i s based on t h i s f a c t , f o r had he moved resolutely at t h i s early date by threatening to resign unless the Party eschewed any such idea, he could have saved the day. Instead he l e t stronger forces steer the ship throughout the summer, and when he put his hand to the wheel i n September, i t was to make i t clear that his r e s i g -106 nation would be forthcoming i f the Lords passed the measure. Furthermore, on t h i s occasion Balfour was ahead of Lansdowne i n reaching a decision; i t was not u n t i l early i n October that the Party Leader i n the Upper House seems to have made 107 up his mind completely. In l a t e r days i t was often claimed that the two men had o r i g i n a l l y opposed the use of the veto, and that they had been forced into accepting i t by strong pressure from such f a n a t i c a l l y aroused Peers and T a r i f f Reformers as Lords 108 Cawdor, Curzon, and Milner. Both Mrs-.. Dugdale and Lord Newton could f i n d no evidence to support t h i s rather c h a r i t -able view of a decision made under duress, and agree that t h e i r subjects must bear t h e i r f u l l share of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y 105. The Annual Register. 1909, p. 78. 106. Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . . p. 182. 107. Newton, op_. c i t . .p. 382. 108. \e.g. Baumann, A.A., "The Avenging of S i r Robert Peel," The Fortnightly Review. August, 1913, v o l . 94, pp. 215-223, p. 220. 147 109 for the Lords' action. I t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y hard to under-stand why Balfour made such a cardinal mistake, for he was not only a man of superbly high i n t e l l i g e n c e and great p o l i -t i c a l foresight, but he had on several occasions i n his e a r l i e r Parliamentary career come out boldly against the very 110 type of action which he was now countenancing. On the other hand, i t would be manifestly un f a i r to ignore the tremendous pressure exerted on these men by v a r i -ous sections of the Unionist Party, and p a r t i c u l a r l y by the T a r i f f Reformers. In the l a s t analysis i t was t h e i r i n f l u -ence which was decisive; had they been unwilling to approve any dr a s t i c action by the Lords, i t i s probable that Balfour and Lansdowne would have come to a d i f f e r e n t conclusion. Here, while the question of r e j e c t i o n was s t i l l I n the a i r , ' Joseph Chamberlain entered the l i s t s , and came down heavily for the course eventually adopted. In a notable l e t t e r which was read to a vast multitude at Birmingham on September 2 2 — i n Balfour's presence—the Father of T a r i f f Reform declared his p osition: I hope the House of Lords w i l l see t h e i r way clear to force a general e l e c t i o n , and I do not doubt i n t h i s case what the verdict w i l l be. The Prime Minister seeks to represent the Budget as an advantage to working men. But I looked into i t c a r e f u l l y and I cannot take t h i s vie?/. 109. Dugdale, op., c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 57. Newton, O J J. c i t . . p. 382. 110. Cited i n Peel, op., c i t . . p. 42. (Our Library lacks the Debates of the House of Lords f o r the years 1909-12. inclusive.) 148 I t i s the l a s t e f f o r t of Free Trade finance to f i n d a substitute for T a r i f f Reform and Imperial Preference, and i t i s avowedly i n - 111 tended to destroy the T a r i f f Reform movement.... This ukase from Birmingham appears to have had a great effect on the rank and f i l e of the Party. Not a l l Unionists agreed with i t ; but unhappily i t s leading opponents, Lords St. Aldwyn, Cromer, Balfour of Burleigh and James of Hereford, were f i s -112 c a l heretics, and t h e i r advice was, therefore, suspect. Some moderate T a r i f f Reformers seem to have advised against 113 i t (F.E. Smith, for one); they also were unable to deter Balfour and his associates. Indeed, i t i s in t e r e s t i n g to note that F.E. Smith appears to have placed the f i n a l respons-i b i l i t y f o r the Unionist decision on the Budget squarely on 114 the shoulders of Mr. Chamberlain himself. What, i n the l a s t analysis, makes the case against the T a r i f f Reformers so strong i s the^fact that the Unionist Free Food Peers voted for the Budget, while the T a r i f f Reform Lords "v;;,v. unanimously 115 took the opposite view." On Joseph Chamberlain's behalf i t should be pointed out that i n the l e t t e r read on September 22 he was echoing a 111. See Appendix I I I . 112. c f . Ensor, op,, c i t . . p. 415. 113. Birkenhead, E a r l of, Frederick Edwin. E a r l of Birkenhead. London, Thornton Butterworth, Limited, v o l . 1, 1933,p.198. 114. Taylor, op., c i t . . p. 118. 115. Newton, O J J. c i t . ,p. 380. 149 view which was very widely held i n the Party. Two days pre-viously Austen had written him of Balfour's insistence that the Lords must reject the Budget, and that T a r i f f Reform was 116 the only alternative to i t . Furthermore, e a r l i e r i n the same month, Austen had quoted the Party Whip as follows: A l l our people are spo i l i n g for a f i g h t and w i l l be disappointed i f they don't get i t . I f there i s no f i g h t we can't keep them at b o i l i n g point. A l l my reports say there have been no defections on account of t h i s Budget but that i f we allow them time to bring i n a bribing Budget: next year, my agents won't answer for the r e s u l t . 117 In any event, once the die'had been cast, and an election had been made i n e v i t a b l e , the Unionists made t h e i r major appeal on the programme of T a r i f f Reform—as the only e f f e c t i v e alternative to the socialism of the Budget. B a l -four led the way i n proclaiming i t as the f i r s t constructive plank of the Unionist Party, the only true source of domestic security, and the only r e a l basis for solving the problem of 118 the day. Lansdowne l i s t e d the issues as T a r i f f Reform, 119 single chamber government, and socialism. Joseph Chamber-l a i n s i m i l a r l y sought to center attention on T a r i f f Reform, and to minimize the issue of the Lords' action, i n his address 120 to the electors of West Birmingham. 116. Chamberlain, A., O J J. c i t . , pp. 182-3. 117 • I b i d . . p. 181. 118. Peel, O J J. c i t . . pp. 51 - 2; eg. The Times. January 11 and 12, 1910, p. 7. 119. The Annual Register. 1909, p. 259. 120. The Daily Express. December 30, 1909, p. 4. 15G 121 122 Milner and Curzon, a convert to T a r i f f Reform 123 after the introduction of the 1909 Budget, led a host of Peers who stumped the country with the same cry. T a r i f f Reform, a strong Navy, and the Union of the Empire were the 124 bases of Austen Chamberlain's campaigning. In t h e i r deter-mination to make the el e c t i o n a test of the f i s c a l question, the Unionists appear to have been quite successful, f o r the Annual Register noted at the year's end that such issues as the Osborne Decision, Home Rule, Church Schools and the con-s t i t u t i o n a l question "... seemed generally to be thrust into 125 the background by that of T a r i f f Reform. A r e f l e c t i o n of t h i s fact was found i n the t r u l y f a n t a s t i c extremes to which both sides went i n seeking to relate t h e i r causes to the prevailing sentiments of the day. The si g n i f i c a n c e , f o r example, of President Taft's addressing a crowd of unemployed i n New York provoked a long series of 126 arguments. Another issue centered around Mr. Balfour's 127 claim that Germany did not want B r i t a i n to adopt T a r i f f Reform, 121. eg. The Times. January 6, 1910, p. 5. 122. eg. The Times. January 5, 1910, p. 6. 123. Ronaldshay, op. c i t . . v o l . I l l , p. 55. 124. P e t r i e , op. c i t . . v o l . 1, pp. 238-9. 1 2 5 • The Annual Register. 1909, p. 273. 126'. eg. The Daily Express. December 15, 1909, p. 4. 127. The Times. January 5, 1910, p. 7. 151 and Mr. Lloyd George's counter assertion that T a r i f f Reform 128 was a German idea. Even more remarkable was the magnitude of the v i s u a l appeal: On both sides shops were taken i n various constituencies and t h e i r windows f i l l e d respectively with a r t i c l e s "made i n Germany" and dumped i n England, and with repulsive specimens of food alleged to be eaten by the "protected" German workmen, or of bread made according to an English recipe of the Corn-law period. Grotesque mistakes were made on both sides; some of the a r t i c l e s shown were spurious, and national differences i n taste and standard of l i v i n g were ignored; and some of the phases of the controversy must have given foreigners a low opinion of popular knowledge and l o g i c . An unprecedented multitude and v a r i e t y of p i c t o r i a l posters issued by both parties displayed an a r t i s t i c merit that was f a r above t h e i r i n t e l l e c t u a l l e v e l and the q u a l i t y of t h e i r humour. 129 Another interesting development during the campaign was provided on December 8, 1909, when the Birmingham Post departed from the generalities i n which the f i s c a l question was o r d i n a r i l y discussed to publish a very concrete state-ment of T a r i f f Reform p r o p o s a l s — i t was assumed at the i n -s p i r a t i o n of the movement's high command. The paper looked forward to the establishment of a general t a r i f f applied to p r a c t i c a l l y a l l goods except those deemed to be raw materials, although i t sought to disclaim any p r o t e c t i o n i s t intent on German and American l i n e s . The revenue therefrom, i t pre-dicted, would range from £16—£20,000,000. 128. The Annual Register. 1910, p. 12. 129. I b i d . 1910, pp. 1 - 2. 152 The proposed t a r i f f was divided into three scales: the high-est, ranging from 12j to 15%—to be directed against countries penalizing B r i t i s h goods; the middle scale of 10%; and the reduced scale for c o l o n i a l produce of l\%. Remarkably, the publication of t h i s scheme appears to have attracted l i t t l e attention; only a few L i b e r a l papers stopped to comment on 130 the s i g n i f i c a n t dimunition of Colonial preference. As the campaign approached i t s climax i n January, 131 1910, the Unionists redoubled t h e i r T a r i f f Reform e f f o r t s , and t h e i r attacks on the Socialism,naval p o l i c y , and s i n g l e -chamber ambitions of the Government. As the ranks of the Free Fooders dwindled almost to nothing the Earty assumed, on the surface, at l e a s t , a unity which i t had not known for seven years. The Spectator, which i n 1906 had c a l l e d upon Unionist Free Traders to vote L i b e r a l , now asked them to 132 espouse T a r i f f Reform as the lesser of two e v i l s . Further encouragement for the Unionist cause was drawn from the marked diversion of public attention from the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l 133 question, and from the numerous secessions of prominent 130. The Annual Register. 1909, pp. 264-5. 131. The following e d i t o r i a l from the Daily Express, January 12, 1910, i s a t y p i c a l statement of the T a r i f f Reform case: "Under a r a d i c a l S o c i a l i s t regime we are to enjoy the continued curse of Free Trade. We are to see our own workers s a c r i f i c e d on the a l t a r of a ruinous cheapness, to allow the foreigner unrestricted and untaxed access to our markets for his surplus goods, to bang and bolt the door i n the face of our kinsmen overseas, and to watch ourselves go bankrupt f o r lack of revenue. To vote f o r the government i s to vote for unemployment, for starvation, and for the foreign dumper. I t i s to vote against B r i t i s h c a p i t a l , against B r i t i s h labour, against the Dominions of the Empire, and against a l l the elements of ordinary common sense, p. 4. 132. The Spectator, January 15, 1910, pp. 80 - 81. 133. (See p. 153) 153 134 men from the ranks of L i b e r a l Free Traders. On the eve of the election i t s e l f Arthur Balfour and Joseph Chamberlain sought to off s e t the L i b e r a l attacks on the 'Dear L o a f by issuing a j o i n t declaration maintain-ing that T a r i f f Reform "...would not increase the cost of l i v i n g of the working classes or t h e i r proportion of taxa-t i o n but would make i t possible to reduce the existing taxation on a r t i c l e s consumed by the working class, would lessen unemployment and would develop trade with the B r i t i s h 135 Dominions overseas. " Meanwhile, the Liberals made good use of a l l the weapons i n the Free Trade armoury, and, i n addition, denoun-ced the selfishness of the p r i v i l e g e d classes. Where pos-s i b l e , they sought to r e l a t e the two c r i e s . Asquith, for 133. The Annual Register. 1909, p. 273. After the election The Spectator explained i t s stand very c l e a r l y when i t declared: "We are absolutely convinced that Free Trade i s the only wise policy for these islands to pursue. We are also con-vinced that Free Trade i s based upon eternal p r i n c i p l e s of j u s t i c e which nations can only v i o l a t e at t h e i r p e r i l . Our whole proposition i s that the kind of Socialism advocated by the T a r i f f Reformers, though u t t e r l y wrong i n p r i n c i p l e , i s i n practice f a r less injurious than the kind of Socialism advocated by the Labour Party and t h e i r L i b e r a l a l l i e s . " February 12, 1910, p. 247. 134. Two of the most noted r e c r u i t s to T a r i f f Reform ranks were Lord Avebury (a banker—formerly S i r John Lubbock) and S i r Robert Giffen (a s t a t i s t i c i a n ) . The Standard of  Empire published a l i s t of the most outstanding recent cc-on-iVerts on January 7, 1910; i t included seven Peers, s i x M.P.'s, and seven other leading L i b e r a l s , p. 8. 135. The Annual Register. 1910, p. 10. 154 instance, attacked T a r i f f Reform, and i t s food duties i n p a r t i c u l a r , as "... nothing more than an undisguised attempt to heap on the shoulders of the least well-to-do members of 136 the community an undue share of the common burden. " The Liber-als were also singularly fortunate i n that almost from the very moment that Lloyd George had shattered Unionist hopes by introducing his budget, economic conditions i n B r i t a i n had begun to improve. During the year 1909 unemployment dropped 137 24%, the volume of trade held up and the amount of invest-ment at home and abroad increased. With j u s t i f i c a t i o n , therefore, the Liberals were able to j o i n t h e i r Chancellor of the Exchequer i n boasting: Trade i s recovering rapidly from a blow which came from America. Unemployment i s diminishing, foreign trade i s improving; our shipping i s improving; our railways are improving. 138 Thus once again a v i s i b l e Improvement i n the domestic economy was to be a factor of considerable importance at the p o l l s i n thwarting the dreams of the f i s c a l reformers. Actually, the e l e c t o r a l r e s u l t s surprised and d i s -139 appointed both sides. The Liberals dropped one hundred seats, and found themselves i n consequence dependent on the Labour and I r i s h N a t i o n a l i s t Parties. The Unionists, on the other hand, although much increased i n strength, were s t i l l i n no p o s i t i o n to form a Government. Undoubtedly Unionist 136. The Times, January 13, 1910, p. 7. 137. Clapham, op. c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 60. 138. The Times. January 1, 1910, p. 6. 139. (See p. 155). 155 gains were to a major degree due to the fact that T a r i f f Reform, i n the words of The Times, was 'l.vii.:winning i t s way 140 by degrees a l l over the country." But just as d e f i n i t e l y , the continuance of the Liberals i n power was, to a very great 141 extent, the re s u l t of a s t i l l strong adherence to Free Trade on the part of the B r i t i s h workingman. The January,1910 e l e c t i o n gave some s a t i s f a c t i o n to the Chamberlainites, however, f o r i t resulted i n the complete a n n i h i l a t i o n of the Unionist Free Food wing i n the Commons. Austen Chamberlain was now able to quote with enthusiasm the private declaration of the Unionist Whip: "I've got 273 men and I can count on 272 of them, and they want a f i g h t on i t 142. ( T a r i f f Reform) at once." The T a r i f f Reformers were obvi-ously pleased to note the discqrd which openly reigned i n Free Food c i r c l e s , and which, i n March, 1910 resulted i n the disi n t e g r a t i o n of the Unionist Free Trade Club. Some former members of t h i s body followed Lord Cromer into a new c o n s t i -t u t i o n a l Free Trade Association, which, i n a l l other matters, 139. (From p. 154.) Party standing at Dissolution Mew House Liberals 373 274 Labour 46 41 Nationalists 83 71 Unionists 167 272 140. The Times. January 20, 1910, p. 9. 141 Hawke, E.G., Domestic P o l i t i c s i n Edwardian England, A.D. 1901-10, ed. F.J.C.Hearnshaw, London, E. Benn Ltd., 1933, p. 104. 142. Cited by Austen Chamberlain i n a l e t t e r to his step-mother, February 20, 1910, Chamberlain, on,, c i t . , pp. 201-2. Insert - mine. 156 adhered to the orthodox Unionist programme. Others followed Lord James of Hereford, Mr. A. E l l i o t and S i r F. Pollock into 143 the Cobdenite Free Trade Union, a f t e r issuing a c i r c u l a r which declared i n part: I t i s evident from the r e s u l t s of the l a s t election that the cause of T a r i f f Reform, backed as i t i s by an organization of great resources both i n v/ealth and energy, has gained ground among the electors, especially i n the midland and southern parts of England. It s supporters have already succeeded i n driving out of Parliament every Unionist Free Trade member with the exception of Lord Hugh C e c i l , and i t i s now p r a c t i c a l l y impos-s i b l e f o r a Free-trader to get any Unionist Association outside of Lancashire to adopt him as a candidate. With p o l i t i c a l events proceeding as they are now, i t i s not only possible, but, i n the opinion of some of us, probable, that the next Parliament w i l l con-t a i n a majority of Unionist members. Whether a l l these w i l l be returned pledged to Tari.'ff Reform w i l l depend mainly on the action or inaction of Free-traders during the next few months.... I t i s of the utmost importance that some strong organization should exi s t .... Fortunately such an organization i s already i n existence. The Free Trade Union .... 144 Such a statement must have been music to Confederate ears. While the T a r i f f Reform League found new encourage-ment i n the discomfiture of i t s opponents, i t strove to ex-ceed i n 1910 the prodigous e f f o r t s which i t had made i n the 145 preceding year. Especial attention was paid to the strong-hold of Free Trade, Lancashire, where i t had some success. In A p r i l the Executive of the League was t o l d of the estab-143. The Annual Register. 1910, p. 66. 144. The Times. March 23, 1910, p. 8. 145. In i t s report for the year 1909 the League l i s t e d 50,925,105 l e a f l e t s , 2,009,750 pamphlets and 234,861 posters which had been issued i n the thirteen months ending i n January, 1910. The Times. March 29, 1910, p. 8. 157 lishment of some thirteen new branches with a t o t a l member-146 ship exceeding 4,000 i n that country. Two months l a t e r an 147 add i t i o n a l twenty-one branches were reported. By November the League f e l t s u f f i c i e n t l y secure to hold i t s annual meeting i n Manchester i t s e l f , and on that occasion c a l l e d upon the Unionist Party to do a l l i n i t s power to provoke a general 148 el e c t i o n at the e a r l i e s t opportunity. An unusual s i d e l i g h t on the League's e f f o r t s at t h i s time was the opening of "dump shops" i n key l o c a l i t i e s to i l l u s t r a t e the nefarious practices of other states i n B r i t i s h markets. The Annual Register observed, i n commenting on these t a c t i c s , that the"... genuineness of the a r t i c l e s exhibited was frequently questioned by Free Trade v i s i t o r s . " Neverthe-l e s s , i t went on l a c o n i c a l l y , "...the promoters professed 149. s a t i s f a c t i o n with the r e s u l t s . " Simultaneously the T a r i f f Reformers sought to step up t h e i r attacks i n the House of Commons. Austen Chamberlain was p a r t i c u l a r l y zealous h e r e — e s p e c i a l l y i n seeking to en-courage his chief to pursue such a course. " T a r i f f Reform was our trump card. When we won, we won on and by T a r i f f • 150 Reform." Thus he argued i n a lengthy l e t t e r to Balfour at the end of January 1910; even the food duties he f e l t 146. The Times. A p r i l 12, 1910, p. 13. 147. The Times. June 14', 1910, p. 13. 148. The Times, November 9, 1910, p. 9. 149. The Annual Register, 1910, pp. 222-23. 150. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , pp. 197-7, 158 had proved to be no insuperable b a r r i e r . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , he declared, "When a man becomes a convinced T a r i f f Reformer, nothing w i l l shake him. I t i s a r e l i g i o n and he becomes i t s 151 ardent missionary. These are our best workers." S i g n i f i -cantly also he expressed the hope that the f i s c a l campaign would soon be transferred from the hustings to the f l o o r of the House of Commons—"... l i k e the Anti-Corn Law League i n 152. i t s seventh year ...." For a short while i t appeared that Austen Chamber-la i n ' s wish was to be granted. When he introduced the usual f i s c a l amendment i n the House on February 23, 1910 Balfour supported him very e f f e c t i v e l y — i n a speech which, f o r t y years l a t e r , s t r i k e s the reader as conspicuously sane—especi-a l l y when contrasted with many of the others delivered at 153 t h i s time. The amendment was rejected by a majority of only thirty-one votes (as opposed to 376 i n 1906)—a further 154 source of T a r i f f Reform r e j o i c i n g . 151. Chamberlain, l o c . c i t . 152. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 199. 153. Two additional highlights of the debate were: a. The declaration of T.M.Kettle, an I r i s h N a t i o n a l i s t , that "The business of the r i g h t hon. Gentleman f o r East Wor-cestershire (Austen Chamberlain) i s not to n a i l his colours to the mast ... but to n a i l his captain to the mast...." b. The notable maiden speeches of such T a r i f f Reformers as George Lloyd, H. Page Croft, George Tryon, and H.J.Mackinder (the geographer). 154. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 204. Austen Chamberlain was delighted with Balfour's speech. 159 Balfour was not prepared to go much farther i n emu-l a t i n g Cobden and Bright, however. As the year wore on, he turned h i s attention to and devoted more and more of his energy to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l issue which had been raised i n 1909, and which, i n view of the e l e c t o r a l r e s u l t and the clever t a c t i c s of the I r i s h , was c l e a r l y now going to be driven to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion ( i n preparation for Home Rule). As a consequence references to T a r i f f Reform were less frequently found i n Balfour's speeches a f t e r March, 1910, and disappeared almost e n t i r e l y from them between May and Novem-ber—even when he was addressing such gatherings as the Grand 155 Habitation of the Primrose League. Mr. Balfour's most v i t r o l i c c r i t i c , S i r George Peel, l a t e r made much of t h i s s i x months' si l e n c e . He argued that i t was a l l part of a subtle plot of the Unionist leader to f a i l the T a r i f f Reformers while ostensibly remaining i n t h e i r camp. Peel also placed much emphasis on the restlessness which began to sweep T a r i f f Reform ranks i n the l a t t e r h a l f of the year, when Mr. Balfour's silence continued. I t i s true that early i n October a small Unionist Splinter group launched a "Reveille movement," that i t contained some of the most extreme T a r i f f Reformers—such as Leo Maxse and Henry Page Croft (both M.P.'s) and that i t s manifesto included, amongst other things, a c a l l for i n d u s t r i a l insurance and T a r i f f Reform. I t i s also true that while the leaders of t h i s 155 The Annual Register, 1910, pp. 103-4. 160 group professed l o y a l t y to t h e i r party leaders, some neutral 156 observers had t h e i r doubts. I t i s quite evident, on the other hand, from a reading both of The Times of the day and of Austen Chamberlain's l e t t e r s that Peel had exaggerated the concern which he i n f e r s must have been f e l t amongst the whole T a r i f f Reform hierarchy. Balfour, i n f a c t , had good reason for his preoccu-pation with other matters. With the death of King Edward VI on May 6, 1910 p o l i t i c a l s t r i f e was temporarily s t i l l e d , and during the ensuing truce, leading figures i n both pa r t i e s , l i k e popular opinion, f e l t that a r e a l attempt should be made to s e t t l e the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l issue i n a manner which would avoid facing the new king with an impasse and the necessity of making prerogative decisions not r i v a l l e d i n importance since 1832. Thus i n June, 1910 the Prime Minister suggested to the Leader of the Opposition that the two men, each with three p o l i t i c a l associates, meet i n a series of private conferences to seek an a nswer to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l problem. Balfour readily accepted the i n v i t a t i o n . There i s no evidence to suggest that i n any of the twenty-two sessions of the Constitutional Conference which was thus convened any d i r e c t discussion took place on the  merits of the f i s c a l question; i t was hardly included i n the terms of reference, and was, i n any case, overshadowed com-pl e t e l y by the r i s i n g spectre of Home Rule—the r e a l stumbl-ing block (according to Austen Chamberlain, one of the four 156. The Annual Register. 1910, p. 213. 161 157 Unionist negotiators) on which the t a l k s eventually foundered. I t must have remained i n the minds of conferees, however, and i t was, i n f a c t , raised i n two s t r i k i n g l y diverse ways. In the f i r s t place i t was brought forward as a r e s u l t of the steps taken by the Unionists to undo the damage of 1909 by suggesting various schemes of House of Lords re-form, and by proposing means whereby deadlocks between the Upper and Lower Houses might be resolved. This led the 158 Unionist leaders i n the Conference to advocate that i n the case of a l l non-money b i l l s the 'Lords should have a suspens-ive veto of two years duration—followed, i f both Houses were s t i l l i n disagreement, by a Jo i n t S i t t i n g of the two i n which a f i n a l decision would be made. To t h i s l a s t suggestion the Unionists made one very importantPreservation or addition. B i l l s of exceptional gravity, they declared, should be r e f e r -red, not to a Jo i n t S i t t i n g , but d i r e c t l y to the people i n a referendum vote. Both parties to the negotiations immediate-l y r e a l i z e d that t h i s proposal raised a further problem, namely that of determining just which questions should be adjudged s u f f i c i e n t l y grave, organic and c o n s t i t u t i o n a l to receive t h i s treatment. Thus the Conference was led to con-sider the prospect of submitting contentious taxation issues 159 to a referendum. On Mr. Balfour's authority i t did so often, 157. Chamberlain, op. c i t . .PP. 190 - 191. 158. Balfour; Lord Cawdor; Chamberlain; Lord Lansdowne. 159. Balfour referred s p e c i f i c a l l y to the matter i n a l e t t e r to Austen Chamberlain on November 28, 1910. Chamber-l a i n , op. c i t . . p. 303. 162 and saw major objections to the procedure—although the evid-ence does not suggest what conclusions, i f any, were reached on the topic. On the other hand, i t would appear very im-probable, from a l e t t e r written l a t e r i n 1910 by Austen Chamberlain, that the Unionists allowed the discussion of budgets v i s - a - v i s referendum votes to go very f a r . The Unionist delegates, Chamberlain bl u n t l y wrote twenty-five years l a t e r , were at that time "...unanimously of the opinion that i t ( i . e . the Referendum) was unsuitable for a Budget, whether T a r i f f Reform or not, for i f i t were applied to Bud-gets we foresaw that the temptation to turn these Budgets into a bribe to the many at the expense of the few would be 160 i r r e s i s t i b l e . " Chamberlain appears to have stated the case f a i r l y , but i t i s apparent that he f a i l e d to r e a l i z e that some of his associates, while agreeing with the v a l i d i t y of the objections to submitting the budget to any such test were, i n Balfour's l a t e r words, of the opinion that the ob-jections were "... not so conclusive against r e f e r r i n g to i t new p r i n c i p l e s embodied i n the Budget on the f i r s t occasion 161 when those pr i n c i p l e s are adopted." This, however, i s a n t i c i p a t i n g events. The conference ended i n a stalemate on November 11, 1910, and with i t s conclusion the referendum threat to the introduction of T a r i f f Reform ostensibly passed 160. Chamberlain to Balfour, December 9, 1910. Chamberlain op. c i t . , p. 310. 161. Balfour to Chamberlain, November 28, 1910, Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 303. 163 away also. The second manner i n which T a r i f f Reform, was raised at t h i s time required even greater secrecy than that which accompanied the deliberations of the Constitutional Confer-ence. Remarkably enough, the i n i t i a t i v e was taken at t h i s stage by Mr. Lloyd George who, disgusted at the l e g i s l a t i v e stalemate, and convinced of impending danger abroad, launched (with Asquith's approval) during the summer of 1910 his then highly c o n f i d e n t i a l overtures to the Unionist high command seeking to f i n d common ground on which a National Government might be erected. Amongst the Chancellor's preferred terms were two which are of in t e r e s t to t h i s study: the one, an offer to grant an immediate preference to the Colonies on any e x i s t i n g duties: and the other, an offe r to launch "... a f a i r and j u d i c i a l enquiry into the working of our f i s -162 163 c a l system." I t i s obvious that such a concession as t h i s was bound to have a strong appeal to those T a r i f f Reformers ' i n the know'—notably Bonar Law, F. E. Smith, and Austen 164 Chamberlain, and, indeed, such was the case. Unfortuna-t e l y f or the cause of T a r i f f Reform, however, Mr. Lloyd George's advances here, though apparently quite sincerely 162. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 284; Lloyd George, D., War Memoirs. London, "O.dhams Press Limited, 1938, v o l . 1, pp. 21 - 3. 163. Lloyd George also suggested a stronger naval p o l i c y , and a system of national m i l i t a r y s e r v i c e — b o t h f e a t -ures of the Unionist platform. 164. Chamberlain, op. cit.,p.,193. made, were coupled with requests for major concessions from the Unionists on such issues as Home Rule, Education, and the Disestablishment of the Welsh Church. This price tag the Unionist leaders f e l t to be too high, and the negotiations were consequently broken o f f . They remained a secret from a l l but those d i r e c t l y involved u n t i l the publication of Mr. Lloyd George's War Memoirs. I t i s very evident that the leaders of the Unionist Party r e a l i z e d that the inevitable r e s u l t of the breakdown of the Constitutional Conference on November 11 would be another e l e c t i o n i n the near future, and that i n t h i s strug-gle t h e i r prospects for v i c t o r y were dim. F. E. Smith, f o r instance had written to Austen Chamberlain as early as Octo-ber 20, 1910, while there was s t i l l some hope of saving the Conference, expressing his conviction that an election would bode no good, and possibly much i l l , f o r the Party. I t would mean, amongst other things, he argued, " T a r i f f Reform beaten 165 three times running and another f u t i l e Colonial conference. " Chamberlain himself wrote on November 13, after a meeting of his party's high command, "Everyone except Curzon i s as gloomy as the weather, and you know what t h i s despondency i n the crew means i n s t r a i n and c o l l a r work for the Captain and o f f i -166 cers." I t i s equally evident that large and i n f l u e n t i a l 165. Birkenhead, E a r l of, Frederick Edwin. E a r l of Birken- head. London, Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1933, v o l . 1, p. 205. 166. Chambers, op. c i t . . p. 298. 165 sections of the Party began to look f o r some appeal whereby Unionist chances of winning the ninety odd seats required to return to power would be d r a s t i c a l l y improved. I t was thus during t h i s re-examination and re-adjustment of the Party's platform that attention was once again focused on the 'bug-bear' of the food duties. During the summer and early f a l l the T a r i f f Reform League succeeded i n making i t s arguments a 167 major topic of public interest throughout the country—yet, even with i n i t s own ranks i t had been unable to d i s p e l com-pl e t e l y doubts about the future cost of food under a T a r i f f Reform administration. Indeed, a prominent member of the League, S i r John Bingham, openly expressed his anxiety about t h i s 'Achilles heel' i n i t s programme before i t s annual con-168 vention on November 8. Arguments arose over the p o s s i b i l i t y or d e s i r a b i l i t y of a referendum before the.adoption of food duties. What now ensued i s best described i n Austen Cham-berlain's words—written on November 13, 1910. Yesterday ... A.J.B. sent f o r me i n the afternoon. The editor of the Express, Buckle, Norton G r i f f i t h s , M.P. for Wednes-bury, some others and Garvin—Garvin of a l l menl—had a l l been i n quick succession to t e l l Balfour that he could not win with the Food Duties, that he must-not indeed abandon them altogether, but announce that i f re-167. The Annual Register, 1910, p. 204. 168. George Wyndham answered him there by refer r i n g to the repeated public declarations of Mr. Balfour and Mr. Chamberlain, o r a l l y and i n w r i t i n g , that food would not be dearer under T a r i f f Reform. The Times, November 9, 1910, p. 9. 166 turned to power now, he would not impose any-new food duty without a further appeal to the country I B. sa id he d i d n ' t l i k e i t . He had come slowly to the food d u t i e s , but having come to them, he d i d n ' t l i k e to go back on them; The Party had shed some members by adopting T a r i f f Reform, he wouldn't s p l i t i t by abandoning i t . He wouldn't say that I was the only person he wished to c o n s u l t — t h a t would be i n v i d i o u s — b u t I was of course the person he wished most to consul t . He d i d n ' t c i t e Free Fooders; he thought nothing of them, but what was he to say i n the face of a l l these T a r i f f Reformers? 169 Austen, of course, fought e n e r g e t i c a l l y to counter these moves, and the agruments w i t h which he r e t a l i a t e d were 170 c e r t a i n l y l o g i c a l and p l e n t i f u l . But the key group of now h e r e t i c a l T a r i f f Reformers was not to be outdone, and con-tinued i t s pressure on the P a r t y ' s l eader . Austen Chamber-l a i n wrote on November 16 of the e f for ts made by Buckle and 171 N o r t h c l i f f e of The Times, " l o t s of o t h e r s , " and of Garvin who was guaranteeing the new p o l i c y the support of the whole U n i o n i s t press—with the exception of those two c i t a -dels of T a r i f f Reform, The Morning Post and the Birmingham  D a i l y Post . To complicate matters f u r t h e r , Asquith announced on November 18 that Parliament would s h o r t l y be d i s s o l v e d , and Lord Lansdowne almost immediately r e p l i e d by i n t r o d u c -ing i n t o the Lords proposals f o r the reform of that body which, were, i n substance, those sup-169. Chamberlain, Austen, op. c i t * , p . 298. 170. I b i d . , pp. 298-300. 171. ; I b i d . , p. 300. 16>7 ported by the Unionists at the Gonstitutional Conference, and which included the all-important provison: "... i f the d i f -ference (between the two Houses) relates to a matter which i s of great gravity, and has not been adequately submitted for the judgment of the people i t s h a l l not be referred to the Joint S i t t i n g , but s h a l l be submitted to the electors by Ref-172 173 erendum." This proposal Lord Ridley approved forthwith, and Austen Chamberlain added his endorsation on November 25 174 at Glasgow— i n spite of the fact that he was much too astute not to r e a l i z e the dangers inherent i n t h i s now widely accept-ed Unionist proposal. Notwithstanding t h i s fact he appears to have remained convinced u n t i l the end of November that Balfour would r e j e c t a l l suggestions that T a r i f f Reform be sidetracked, and, indeed, as the month wore on Balfour warmed considerably i n public to the Birmingham programme. He was p a r t i c u l a r l y energetic i n his espousal of i t at Nottingham 175 on November 17. In the end, however, Birmingham was simply overwhelmed. On November 28, the day on which Parliament was dissolved, Mr. Balfour sent a letter,.^by special messenger to Austen Chamberlain ( i n Edinburgh)—informing him of the new adherence of Bonar Law, Lansdowne and the Daily M a i l to the 172. Hansard (Lords), 4th Ser., November 21, 1910, v o l . 6, c o l . 809 - 810. 173. I b i d . . November 23, 1910, c o l . 886 - 887. 174. The Times. November 26, 1910, p. 11. 175. The gimes. November 18, 1910, p. 10. 16'8 referendum suggestion, stating the arguments i n favour of i t , and informing him of his i n c l i n a t i o n to endorse the proposal 177 on the following night while speaking at the Albert H a l l . To t h i s communication Austen replied at once, but i n vain. Balfour accepted the Prime Minister's challenge, for such as i t was, by declaring on the night referred to, "... I have not the le a s t objection to submit the pr i n c i p l e s of T a r i f f 178 Reform to (a) Referendum." Balfour's celebrated move was at once a cause of great r e j o i c i n g amongst the Unionist rank and f i l e , who pro-fessed to see therein a r e a l prospect of winning the f l o a t i n g and even some of the old Free Trade vote. Lansdowne endorsed 179 i t on November 30. . S i r Frederick Pollock supported i t i n 180 a l e t t e r to The Times, and Professor Dicey saw i t as a 181 veto lodged i n the hands of the people...." The 182 Unionist Press l i v e d up to Garvin's forecast. The Spectator, once again the voice of the Unionist Free Fooders, was . 177. Chamberlain, Austen, op. cit..pp. 303 - 4. 178. The Times. November 30, 1910, p. 9. 179. The Times. December 1, 1910, p. 8. .180. The Times. December 12, 1910, pp. 11 - 12. 181- I b i d , p. 9. 182. The Spectator. December 3, 1910, pp. 957 - 8. As early • . as.February 26, 1910 i t had begun to retreat from i t s p o s i t i o n during the January e l e c t i o n . 16:9 n a t u r a l l y j u b i l a n t . Meanwhile, of course, the Liberals made much of the discomfiture of the diehard T a r i f f Reformers, and proclaimed that the f i s c a l question was no longer a cam-183 paign issue. Amongst the s t i l l ardent inner c i r c l e of Chamber-l a i n i t e s disappointment reigned. Austen Chamberlain made no 184 secret of his views i n private correspondence with Lans-downe and Balfour. He pleaded with the l a t t e r to deny the claims not only of the Liberals but also of such Unionist 185 papers as the Daily Mail with regard to the status of T a r i f f Reform. This Balfour c e r t a i n l y sought to d o — f o r instance i n 186 187 speeches at Grimsby and at Dartford. Nothing that he could say, however, could remove the now unquestioned f a c t that, whatever the r e s u l t of the el e c t i o n , the introduction of one of the key planks of T a r i f f Reform was s t i l l a matter for the distant future. T a r i f f Reform remained a formidable topic- • of e l e c t o r a l debate, but the discussion of i t was now on f a r more general terms than i t had been during the two previous 188 elections. The blunt fact was that as the T a r i f f Reformers feared, and t h e i r opponents did not hesitate to say, the whole 183. e.g. Asquith at Wolverhampton,December 1, 1910. The  Annual Register. 1910, p. 255; C h u r c h i l l at Dartford, December 10, 1910, The Times. December 11, 1910, p. 8. 184. Chamberlain, Austen, op. c i t . . pp. 307 - 312. 185. I b i d . . p. 302. 186. The Times. December 3, 1910, p. 9. 187. The Times. December 13, 1910, p. 6. 188. The Annual Register. 1910, p. 249. 169 a f i s c a l question had been relegated to a secondary p o s i t i o n , f o r the Government and i t s a l l i e s preferred to concentrate on 139 the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l question, and, as the campaigning pro-ceeded, the majority of the Unionists sought i n reply to raise 190 the spectre of Home Rule. In view of these new circumstances, therefore, the second /election of 1910 can hardly be described as the t h i r d succes-sive defeat for T a r i f f Reform. T a r i f f Reform was simply not a major issue. Furthermore, apart from a few seats won i n 191 Lancashire, i t i s doubtful I f the Unionists gained anything e l e c t o r a l l y by watering down the Chamberlain programme. 192 Party standings remained almost unchanged. I t i s undeniable that at t h i s time the T a r i f f Reform movement was weakened con-siderably > but th i s was primarily the r e s u l t , not of the elec-t i o n , but of the r i s e of other issues with a greater popular appeal, and of the decision of the Unionists themselves to adopt the referendum. 189. Asquith's address to the electors did not mention T a r i f f Reform. The Times, November 30, 1910, p. 10. 190. Asquith was very astute here. He refrained from accept-ing Balfour's challenge that he agree to submit Home Rule to a Referendum, and, indeed, did not even commit himself p u b l i c l y to the introduction of a Home Rule B i l l u n t i l the ele c t i o n was under way. 191. The Annual Register, 1910, p. 264. 192. Old House. New House. Liberals 274 272 Unionists 272 271 Labour 41 42 Iris h . Nationalists 71 76 170 Chapter IV T a r i f f Reform and the Unionist Party 1911 - 1914 "De l'audace, de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace." Danton A favourite quotation of Joseph Chamberlain. The opening days of 1911 found the T a r i f f Reformers i n a despondent mood. In common with a l l Unionists, they were smarting under the impact of two e l e c t o r a l defeats with-i n twelve months, and were hardly looking forward to the dismal process of re-examining the Party's platform and of conducting the i n q u i r i e s into 'the deficiencies of party or-ganization' which they knew were impending. They were, f u r -thermore, no more enthusiastic than the other members of the Opposition about the rather hopeless task ahead of them—of f i g h t i n g a rearguard action against two impending measures of exceptional g r a v i t y — t h e Parliament and the Home Rule B i l l s . Amongst the supporters of the Chamberlain programme there was, however, additional j u s t i f i c a t i o n f or defeatism. In the f i r s t place, many of them began to r e a l i z e , more c l e a r l y than previously, just what a tremendous obstacle to 171 the implementation of a T a r i f f Reform programme Balfour had created with the referendum proposal. They were now begin-ning to fear that, whatever his intentions, Balfour's pledge was i n e f f e c t , "... simply a proposal to commit T a r i f f Re-1 form to penal servitude for a long term or even for l i f e . " Secondly, t h e i r discomfiture was increased by t h e i r r e a l i z a -t i o n that Balfour's decision and t h e i r concession i n accept-ing i t for the election-made c e r t a i n l y at a cost of much embarrassment to them—had p r a c t i c a l l y no effect on the p a r l i -2 amentary strength of the parties. What hurt them most of a l l , however, was the fact that t h e i r prestige i n the Party, and the hold of t h e i r programme on i t s i n d i v i d u a l members— the vast majority of whom s t i l l nominally subscribed to i t — were unquestionably declining from 1906 and 1909 l e v e l s . I t should not be assumed, on the other hand, that t h e i r influence had completely vanished; they s t i l l wielded considerable, i f reduced power. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the Annual  Register recorded that i n the f i r s t by-election for the year 1911: The Unionist candidate for Horncastle, Captain Weigall, at f i r s t attempted to concentrate his supporters on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l question, declaring himself opposed to food taxes and 1. Peel, op. c i t . . p. 79. 2 Austen Chamberlain stressed t h i s point i n a series of analyses of election results which he sent to Balfour i n December, 1910. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . pp. 507 - 311. 172 desirous of opposing T a r i f f Reform; but he was promptly menaced with the opposition of the T a r i f f Reform League, and was constrained to make a profession of f a i t h i n i t s cause. 3 The T a r i f f Reformers were much less successful, however, when they tackled the f a r more important issue of the referendum as i t had been applied to t h e i r p o l i c y . P r i v a t e l y , and through the columns of The Times. they waged an energetic campaign i n January 1911, to have the Party reverse i t s stand on t h i s issue. Jesse C o l l i n s , one of the most ardent of them a l l , made t h e i r p o sition doubly clear when he described the referendum suggestion as a "...novel and an un-English proposal to over-ride the recognized functions of the Legislature...." He declared further, "The Referendum no doubt meets the views of Lord George Hamilton and his fellow "Free Trade" Unionists. They see i n i t the means by which T a r i f f Reform would be delayed—per-4 haps delayed i n d e f i n i t e l y . " Balfour, however, t h i s time could not be brought to bay. When he issued a statement on the Party's attitud e to Protection on January 12, he af f i r m -ed, a f t e r restating his conviction of the merits of T a r i f f Reform, that the p o l i c y of the Party had "undergone no change 5 ...." A month l a t e r he went even farthe r , and -argued before the Constitutional Club that the referendum "... ought 6 to be a permanent part of our Constitution...." although he 3. The Annual Register. 1911, p. 2. 4. The Times. January 3, 1911, p. 8. 5. The Times. January 12, 1911, p. 8. 6. The Times. February 7, 1911, p. 15. 173 admitted that i t was not suitable for dealing with ordinary-budgets. Thus the referendum remained for the time being an i n t e g r a l part of Unionist p o l i c y . In f a i r n e s s , i t should be noted that Balfour did not shrink from the T a r i f f Reform programme i n any other way. He continued, i n f a c t , to des-cribe himself as a strong believer i n i t , and repeatedly pledged himself during the next s i x months to keep the cost of l i v i n g l e v e l , or even to reduce i t i f T a r i f f Reform Virere 7 introduced. Two further disappointments were i n store for the ardent T a r i f f Reformers during the early weeks of 1911. One was the publication of the Board of Trade returns for the previous year; i n which a ten percent increase i n the value of the country's trade over 1909 was revealed. What p a r t i c u l a r l y angered the T a r i f f Reformers was the fact that t h i s figure was used by Free Traders i n a l l p a r t i e s , and by '. 8 the Free Trade Press, to r i d i c u l e the T a r i f f Reform conten-t i o n that a l l was not well with the country' s economic p'ro-9 gress. In vain did the T a r i f f Reformer:-,Press and such 10 stalwarts as Mr. Hewins seek to point out the dangers i n comparing raw scores. I t was almost a decade l a t e r before 7. e.g. at the Albert K a i l , May 23, 1911. The Times. May 24, 1911, p. 9. 8. e.;g. The Spectator, January 14, 1911, p. 45. 9. Referred to i n The Spectator, January 14, 1911, p. 45. 10. The Times. January 7, 1911, p. 9. 174 more objective observers realized that, i n f a c t , a general price r i s e had accounted for the r i s e referred to, and that, i n the years inrmediately before the war, r e a l wages i n 11 B r i t a i n were on a plateau. The other disturbing factor was the announcement la t e i n January, 1911 of the impending r e c i p r o c i t y agreement between Canada and the United States. To a l l ardent T a r i f f Reformers t h i s complication appeared to be frankly t r a g i c . Lead on th i s subject most energetically by Balfour, they made no secret of t h e i r fears, and sought to place f u l l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f or the 'catastrophe 1 12 on the L i b e r a l Government i n B r i t a i n . The dominant p o l i t i c a l struggle of 1911—that over the passage of the Parliament Act—was, as has already been seen, destined to injure the cause of T a r i f f Reform by the simple process of occupying so much of the li m e l i g h t over so much of the year—(introduced i n the Commons on February 21, i t did not pass the Lords f i n a l l y u n t i l August 10). I t was to have another important effect on the f i s c a l question, for during the controversy many of the T a r i f f Reformers s p l i t sharply, not over the p r i n c i p l e of the B i l l — w h i c h as Unionists they automatically opposed—but over the extent to which they f e l t Unionism should go i n f i g h t i n g i t . Large numbers of T a r i f f Reformers, possibly the majority of them, 11. Ensor, op. c i t . . pp. 500 - 501. 12. e.g. Balfour on February 6, 1911. The Times. February 7, 1911, p. 15. 175 rather understandably awaited a lead from the o f f i c i a l heads of the Party, and found i t long i n coming. Lansdowne sought to sidetrack the Government's measure by introducing a House of Lords Reconstruction B i l l of his own; Balfour, on the other hand, delayed making his p o s i t i o n known u n t i l July 26—when fee l i n g was at i t s height. In any case, a considerable num-ber of the most prominent T a r i f f Reformers—notably the Duke of Westminster, Bedford and Marlborough, Lord Selborne, Lord Milner, S i r Edward Carson, F. E. Smith, and Austen Chamber-lain—adopted i n the interim a most intransigent p o s i t i o n on the Parliament B i l l , refused to consider any 'surrender' whatsoever, and eventually joined the 'die-hard wing' of the Party—which grouped i t s e l f around Lord Halsbury, the ex-Chancellor. This group was keen to f i g h t to the end, even i f i t meant forcing the Prime Minister to take the ultimate step of creating new peers. The country thus witnessed an i n t e r -esting spectacle, and an unusual one, for associated with t h i s r i g h t wing group of T a r i f f Reformers as 'Ditchers' were some of the most noted Free Fooders—including Lord Salisbury and his brothers. They, T a r i f f Reformers and Free Fooders a l i k e , were a l l to share both disappointment and i n some cases r e a l anger when Balfour f i n a l l y came out against t h e i r p o s i-13 t i o n (threatening resignation i f his advice was not accepted) In addition, they found themselves branded i n some quarters as „ r , .... n ,.. . 13. He announced his stand i n a l e t t e r to Lord Newton. Newton, Lord Lansdowne, p. 176 14 rebels against t h e i r leaders. The Daily Express, which had been v i o l e n t l y opposed to the Parliament B i l l from the moment i t was f i r s t proposed, c l e a r l y r e f l e c t e d t h e i r dismay when i t described Balfour's advice as "... a t a c t i c a l f o l l y and a 15 national crime." Undoubtedly, Lansdowne was primarily responsible f o r the Unionist schism over the Parliament B i l l ; he acted so t a r d i l y amongst the Peers that when he did take up a p o s i t i o n , the Halsbury group was already out of hand. Nevertheless the p r i n c i p a l opprobrium for the mess, f o r such i t was, was vented on the unfortunate Balfour, and i t was his prestige which suf-fered most. Balfour c e r t a i n l y had continued to display f a r too long that genius for temporizing and f o r postponing action which, admittedly, quite often leads to solutions i f the tempo of events i s slow and measured, but which, when used i n times of c r i s i s , can only be described as weak leadership. Coming as did th i s debacle on top of three successive e l e c t o r a l de-feats, i t i s not to be wondered at that before the year was out, the Unionist Party had changed i t s command. 14. Austen Chamberlain gathered that Balfour was making such a charge i n his l e t t e r to Lord Newton, and wrote a hot l e t t e r to his leader on the i n j u s t i c e of such a stand. Balfour replied disclaiming any such inference. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , pp. 348 - 351. The Times openly referred to the Halsbury Club on July 26, 1911, p. 9 as "... a demonstration h o s t i l e to t h e i r (leaders') declared p o l i c y . . . . " and ca l l e d on i t to reconsider "the consequences which may follow i n j u -dicious perseverence i n a rash and i l l - c o n s i d e r e d a t t i t u d e . . . . " 15. The Daily Express. July 31, 1911, p. 4. Amongst the many factors which led to Balfour's f a l l must be included the discontent with his leadership which existed i n T a r i f f Reform c i r c l e s . I t i s quite obvious that by 1911 his v a c i l l a t i o n s on f i s c a l reform had angered i t s most extreme proponents, and had sadly disturbed most of the r e s t . In seven years, he had faced his country and his party with at least s i x approaches to the Birmingham programme the Economic Notes of 1903; the Two Elections scheme of 1904-5; the Valentine Letter of 1906; the 'Broadening the Base' approach to taxation i n 1907 - 9; the p a r t i a l eclipse during the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l c r i s i s of 1909 - 10; and the Referendum of the l a t t e r year. As early as midsummer, 1910, a small group of disgruntled Unionists had formed a short-lived R e v e i l l e Movement—with the avowed intention of re-awakening the Party. Its members—including Messrs Peto, Burgoyne, and Page Croft, a l l Unionist M. P.'s, Lord Willoughby de Broke, the President of the League of Young Conservatives, and Leo Maxse, the Editor of the National Review—were a l l ardent T a r i f f Reform-ers. They a l l professed nominal l o y a l t y to Balfour—although, l i k e s i m i l a r groups e a r l i e r , t h e i r - s i n c e r i t y i n t h i s respect 17 was openly doubted at the time. I t was from t h i s same extremist wing that, a year l a t e r , the cry was f i r s t openly raised for a change i n Union-i s t leadership. Leo Maxse was, from the f i r s t , the most 17. The Annual Register, 1910, p. 213. 178 energetic i n voicing t h i s sentiment. He i s generally credited 18 with having coined the phrase, "Balfour must go." In the October, 1911 issue of the National Review he bluntly declar-ed: What i s the pos i t i o n of the B r i t i s h T a r i f f Reformers? What i s the po s i t i o n of the , T a r i f f Reform League which has done magni-f i c e n t work i n the face of a Niagara of cold water? Does any serious T a r i f f Reformer pretend to believe that there i s the remotest prospect of our ever getting a serious measure of T a r i f f Reform from Mr. Balfour? Has Mr. Balfour the f a i n t e s t chance of securing a mandate from the nation for 'the f i r s t con-struc t i v e work of the Unionist Party,' which i s deliberately side-tracked at every oppor-tunity? The answer to both these questions i s a blunt negative...." 19 Maxse's cry was cer t a i n l y widely repeated, and yet i t was by no means echoed i n a l l Unionist, or even i n a l l T a r i f f Reform c i r c l e s . I t was, indeed, soon submerged i n a general restlessness which openly spread through the whole Party as the year wore on. Although, as a veteran p o l i t i c a l figure Balfour was no stranger to such c r i t i c i s m , he was s t i l l a most sensitive man, and f e l t such d i s a f f e c t i o n keen-l y — e s p e c i a l l y when he feared that i t might even include some of his close associates. Such c r i t i c i s m s on the part of the more disgruntled T a r i f f Reformers c e r t a i n l y had a share i n inducing Balfour to announce his resignation on November 8. 18. Dugdale, op. c i t . . p . 86. 19. Maxse, Leo., "Episodes of the Month," The National  Review, London, October, 1911, v o l . 58, p. 195. 179 On the other hand, although many moderate T a r i f f Reformers had f e l t t h e i r disappointments just as keenly as t h e i r more r a d i c a l associates, there was no organized move by the T a r i f f Reform organization to oust Balfour. Austen Chamberlain's l e t t e r /make i t clear that he was no party to any such cabal; indeed, as l a t e as October 27, 1911 he was w r i t i n g p r i v a t e l y : "The leadership of the Party i s not i n 20 question. There i s no vacancy and we desire none." They do reveal, however, that Chamberlain made a major t a c t i c a l error e a r l i e r i n the same month when he agreed to remain associated with a 'continuing Halsbury Club' consisting of Die Hards who were keen to build and maintain an aggressive s p i r i t i n the Party. The extended l i f e of this group seems to have perpetuated some of the bitterness aroused during the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l struggle of the preceding summer. The 21 reorganization of the Club disturbed Balfour, and also -appears to have alienated several Party members who might otherwise have supported Chamberlain when his chance to suc-ceed Balfour came. Yet Austen's l e t t e r s leave no doubt that 22 he and other leading members of the Club were quite l o y a l to Balfour, and, indeed, i t appears that one of Chamberlain's motives i n joining i t at a l l was to prevent the wilder Die-hards, as he wrote at the time, "... running amuck as Leo 23 Maxse did." 20. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 371. 21. Loc. C i t . . 22. e.g. Selborne, Wyndham, F.E.Smith, Amery, Milner, Carson. 23. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 372, October 27, 1911. 180 From the T a r i f f Reform viewpoint, the choice of a new leader for the Unionist Party can be b r i e f l y t o l d . Balfour himself believed that Austen Chamberlain would suc-ceed him, and that Curzon would be the new leader i n the 24 Lords. Chamberlain, however, found that he had a strongly supported r i v a l i n Walter Long, behind whom were ranged the implacable foes of a l l things 'Birmingham' as well as many moderate Party members who had been offended by the a c t i v i t -ies of the Halsbury Club. The l a t t e r rather resented the f a c t that Austen Chamberlain had only recently joined the Carlton Club, and s t i l l described himself as a L i b e r a l Union-i s t . When i t became apparent that the Party was almost equally divided between these two candidates, Chamberlain proposed, and Long agreed, that they withdraw i n favour of Andrew Bonar Law. This was done and Law was elected unani-l . mously. j As adherence to the T a r i f f Reform programme had apparently been a sine qua non for candidacy for the Party's leadership, and as Chamberlain and Law were two of i t s most 25 outstanding supporters, i t s p o s i t i o n appeared to have been 26 strengthened by Balfour's retirement. I t i s probably true that Chamberlain had alienated some potential supporters on the very night that Balfour made public his i n t e n t i o n — 24. Dugdale, op. c i t . . v o l . I I , p. 87. 25. Long was always much more cautious i n his endorsation of i t . See Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 48. 26. Peel rather overemphasizes the importance of t h i s speech i n t h i s connection. Peel, op. c i t . . p. 113. 181 November 8—by announcing before the Annual Conference of the T a r i f f Reform League that he no longer f e l t bound by the referendum pledge, and by declaring that, as T a r i f f Reform had already been discussed at length i n the country, a Unionist Government, when elected would enact i t into law 27 without farther delay. But Law had also appeared at the same gathering, had openly and frankly associated himself with the various re-endorsations of the Food Taxes which featured i t s deliberations, and had declared (as paraphrased by The Times) "No party would ever come to vi c t o r y i f i t . 2 8 were always considering what was unpopular." The road thus seemed clear f or a new and vigorous approach. In spite of these favourable prospects, new compli-cations began to a r i s e , f o r , almost from the moment of his el e c t i o n , Bonar Law began to show a ne?/ caution, i n matters f i s c a l at l e a s t . He did not accede to Austen's implied 29 request that he also s c u t t l e the Referendum. His assertion, furthermore, at Leeds, on November 16: 27. The Times. November 9, 1911, p. 8. In his correspondence some three days l a t e r Chamberlain declared that his purpose i n making t h i s speech was that "... i f the party chooses me they should choose me knowing what the choice involved and that, i f I were not chosen, my p o s i t i o n should at any rate be clear before any other choice had been made." Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 392. 28. The Times. November 11, 1911, p. 10. 29. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p . ,^ 399. 182 I do not pretend that a change i n our f i s c a l system w i l l cure a l l e v i l s , hut I do contend that i t w i l l help the great-est of our s o c i a l e v i l s — c h r o n i c unemploy-ment. For t h i s claim there i s at least some j u s t i f i c a t i o n . 30 i s s t r i k i n g l y mild when compared to some of his e a r l i e r 31 utterances on the subject. The f a c t , of course, was that Bonar Law was now on the receiving end of two pressure camp-aigns: the one led by Chamberlain, and the other apparently 32 by Walter Long, who, early i n February 1912 sought to con-vince Law that the Referendum could not be abandoned. In addition, the Free Food element early i n the year bombarded 33 Law With requests that the Food Duties be abandoned altogether. 30. The Times. November 17, 1911, p. 10. 31. In his f i r s t major address as the Unionist Leader, on January 26, 1912, Law spent most of his time i n a b i t -ter attack on the Government, and only i n the closing minutes reached T a r i f f Reform. He referred to his eight years' advocacy of i t , admitted the continuance of a party schism over i t , affirmed that the party could not abandon i t because "...we believe In i t ...." and because the greatest measure of s o c i a l reform would come from a r i s e i n the l e v e l of wages — a r e s u l t to be expected from T a r i f f Reform. He declared that Unionist and other Free Traders would have to choose "... between T a r i f f Reform which they d i s l i k e , and Lloyd Georgeism which they detest." The Times. January 27, 1912, p. 10. 32... Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 416. 33. I b i d . , p. 408. 183 Bonar Law's newly-found hesitancy was w e l l i l l u s t r a t e d "by his reaction to Long's approach. He consulted Lansdowne, whom he found rather p a r t i a l to a continuation of the Refer-endum pledge, and informed the Unionist Lord that, i n view of his previous stand, he could not personally endorse i t . He consulted Balfour, who declared that he would take no of-fence i f the pledge were dropped. He than contacted Cham-be r l a i n , and made a proposal which Chamberlain described i n his correspondence as follows: ... he suddenly asked me whether I should mind his saying i n the course of the T a r i f f Reform debate t h i s week that we should submit a T a r i f f Reform Budget to the Referendum i f even now Asquith consen-ted to take the same course with Home Rule. He said that he did not think i t was possible f or Asquith to accept t h i s sug-gestion and that i t could therefore do us no harm. At the same time i t would make his p o s i t i o n easier with Long. 34 To t h i s proposal Chamberlain objected strongly, seeing great trouble ahead of i t , and.no j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r making a special case of a T a r i f f Reform budget. Nothing came of the suggestion. 34. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 416. Rather s i g n i f i c a n t l y , the debate to which Law refers was not based on an o f f i c i a l T a r i f f Reform amendment to the Address, but on an u n o f f i c i a l motion of Captain George Tryon. Apparently at th i s time even the most ardent T a r i f f Reformers were prepared to ' l e t sleeping dogs l i e ' u n t i l the Party's leaders o f f i c i -a l l y renounced the Referendum. The short debate Yrtiich did take place (Hansard, 5th Ser., February 22, 1912, v o l . 34, c. 748 - 862.) produced l i t t l e excitement and l i t t l e that was new. Cf. Annual Register. 1912, p. 28. 184 At the end of January, 1912 Bonar Law summoned the Unionist Shadow Cabinet for an exhaustive review of the Party's stand on T a r i f f Reform. At t h i s gathering a few Party leaders such as Lords Derby and Londonderry expressed outright opposition to the Food Taxes; almost a l l except Austen Chamberlain admitted that they were a considerable handicap tin the country; but the majority followed Lansdowne and Bonar Law i n affirming that they could not be dropped, and i n regarding the Referendum pledge as defunct. Bonar Law himself declared that he regarded the Referendum as dead, but rather speciously raised again h i s desire to avoid doing anything which might have the appearance of repudiating Balfour, and proposed that he speak i n future of T a r i f f Re-form simply as one of the f i r s t p o l i c i e s which a Unionist Government would enact into law—without any reference at a l l to the Referendum. Law apparently f e l t that by ignoring the Referendum, since the beginning of the year he had already k i l l e d i t — although both Chamberlain and the Party Whips pointed out that the average Unionist candidate was quite unaware of t h i s f a c t , and was i n a most d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n — b e i n g quite un-able to to answer "Yes" or "No" to s p e c i f i c questions associ-ating the Referendum with T a r i f f Reform. Before the gather-ing adjourned, Law promised to f i n d a suitable formula to express.the general consensus of opinion of those present, and to make a public statement on the question i n the near 185 35 future. As the course of events l a t e r determined, i t was many months before he made any formal pronouncement on the Referendum, and he never succeeded i n finding or dra f t i n g the formula to which he referred. There were a number of basic reasons which explain the increasing degree to which Unionists leaders ignored T a r i f f Reform as the year 1912 progressed, and Bonar Law found himself able, i n the interests of Party unity, to defer taking a concrete stand. One of the f i r s t and most import-ant was that other p o l i t i c a l issues simply relegated T a r i f f Reform on occasions to a secondary p o s i t i o n . The Govern-ment's proposals to grant Home Rule to Ireland and to Dis-e s t a b l i s h the Welsh Church, introduced i n A p r i l , 1912, the r i s i n g controversy over the suffragette demands, and the very widespread i n d u s t r i a l unrest of 1 9 1 2 — a l l were of im-mediate and major concern to the electorate. The Hon. George Peel, w r i t i n g i n the year 1913, very shrewdly and accurately noted two additional reasons for 36 the relegation of T a r i f f Reform. One, which he describes as economic could just as re a d i l y be termed i m p e r i a l i s t i c , and w i l l be discussed as such i n the next chapter. B a s i c a l l y , i t concerned a growing r e a l i z a t i o n at th i s time i n B r i t a i n of the weakness of the T a r i f f Reform argument concerning Imperial unity, and also a growing appreciation of the 35. Chamberlain, who was very pleased with the outcome of these deliberations, wrote of them i n d e t a i l on March 1, 1912. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , pp. 432 - 6. 36. Peel, op. c i t . . pp. 145-6. 186 inequality of Imperial s a c r i f i c e being made at that time on such matters as defence. His other c l a s s i f i c a t i o n was p o l i t i c a l . Peel pointed out that i n 1912 the Unionists found a second outstandingly popular cry beside that involved i n the Home Rule q u e s t i o n — i n the opportunities to attack the National Insurance A c t — to the contributory p r i n c i p l e of which strong opposition appeared i n the country at large, and especially i n those Free Trade strongholds, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland. The r e s u l t was that i n 1912 the Unionists found themselves winning some resounding by-election v i c t o r i e s without mak-37 ing a major appeal to the f i s c a l question at a l l . Under the circumstances, the temptation to continue t h i s l i n e of action was quite natural'and understandable. I t was, appar-ently, because they were keenly aware of t h i s general p o l i c y of d r i f t that, i n the early summer of 1912, the T a r i f f Reform Caucus decided on a renewal of vigorous action. 37. e.g. i n March at Manchester; i n July at Luton; i n August at Middleton; i n December at Kilmarnock, South Somerset, North Ayr, and Govan. Referring to the v i c t o r y i n March Austen Chamberlain wrote at the time: The T a r i f f Reform League was very active i n the Manchester D i v i s i o n , but I think the r e s u l t must be attributed to d i s s a t i s -f a c t i o n with the Insurance B i l l and i n part to a general and growing discontent with the Government. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p."440. 187 One of the f i r s t indications that the patience of the T a r i f f Reformers was running short was contained i n a statement issued on June 12, and l a c o n i c a l l y published by The Times thus: We have received the following for publication: The "Confederacy," an organization of which l i t t l e has l a t e l y been heard, has been c a r e f u l l y considering the tendency, shown by several Unionist candidates at recent by-elections to .place T a r i f f Reform i n the background of t h e i r programme, or even to repudiate Imperial Preference altogether. The Confederates, who have ample means at t h e i r disposal, have decided that i n the event of any Unionist candidates adopting a s i m i l a r p o l i c y at any future election they are f u l l y determined to put forward a candidate who w i l l subscribe to the f u l l p olicy of the Unionist Party. 38 A second feature of the T a r i f f Reform offensive was the launching of a monster drive to r a i s e funds for a great 39 forward movement of the T a r i f f Reform League. The July 8, 1912 e d i t i o n of The Times, for example, contained a l e t t e r from George Wyndham announcing the inauguration of a Birthday Fund to honour Joseph Chamberlain—-with subscriptions l i m i t e d to I s . — o n the understanding that he might use the money i n 40 any manner which he might desire. As Chamberlain was a wealthy man there was no p a r a l l e l here to the public subscrip-38. The Times, June 15, 1912, p. 7. 39. Already i n the f i r s t s i x months of 1912 the T a r i f f Reform League had supplied speakers for about 4,000 meetings, had issued 3,000,000 pamphlets and booklets, and had begun to stimulate 'recruiting' by using Chamberlain crosses and cer-t i f i c a t e s bearing photographs of the leaders of the movement to those successful i n bringing i n new members. 40. The Times. July 8, 1912, p. 8. 188 t i o n once raised f or Cobden, and i t must have been generally assumed that any sum raised would be devoted by him to his favourite cause. In any case, this appeal aroused no great 41 response. S i r Francis Trippel, as an expert fund-raiser, therefore suggested that a d i r e c t drive be made to amass a war chest of £250,000. The Duke of Westminster attempted toe stimulate the Campaign i n an unusual way by issuing an open i n v i t a t i o n to dinner at Grosvenor House to anyone donating £1,000 or more to the cause. Despite the lampooning of t h i s 42 unique move by L i b e r a l cartoonists, the League obtained i t s money—£21,250 at a founders' dinner on July 30, and £60,000 43 at a second function on October 16 alone. The t h i r d and by f a r the most important feature of the campaign was a determined e f f o r t by the T a r i f f Reformers to have the Referendum openly and f i n a l l y s e t t l e d . This they sought to do by accelerating a c t i v i t i e s of the League, by issuing lengthy and extremely optimistic reports on the sue- •" cess of i t s a c t i v i t i e s , and by exerting pressure p r i v a t e l y 41. The sum raised was £5,741, I s . (114,821s.) which Joseph Chamberlain duly presented to the T a r i f f Reform League. The Times. March 15, 1913, p. 10. 42. The Annual Register. 1912, p. 212. 43. Loc. c i t . . The T a r i f f Reform League apparently on occas-ions raised funds i n other novel ways. One came to l i g h t i n September, 1911 i n the pages of the National Review, when that journal carried a series of l e t t e r s between the T a r i f f Reform League's l e g a l advisers and those of Baron de F o r e s t , a Unionist M.P. who was elected at North West Ham Wk a' July, 1911 by-election, and who during the campaign claimed to have been offered a viscountcy i f he made a large enough contribu-t i o n to the T a r i f f Reform League. Nothing came of i t , but de Forest did not r e t r a c t . The National Review, September, 1911, v o l . 58, pp. 151-6. 189 44 on the Party's leaders. The l a t t e r were doubtful and he s i -45 tant, and the work progressed slowly. Eventually, however, persistent determination triumphed; Lansdowne and Bonar Law were apparently completely won over, and on November 14, 1912 f i n a l l y took the action which the T a r i f f Reformers desired. On that day, while addressing the Annual Conference of the National Unionist Association of Conservative and L i b e r a l Unionist Organizations, Lansdowne frankly referred to Mr. Balfour's referendum pledge, to the reaction of the L i b e r a l government to i t , and to the e l e c t o r a l r e s u l t which followed. "I suggest to you," he declared, "that from that moment we 46 regained our freedom." Bonar Law endorsed t h i s statement of po l i c y , although he went on to make i t clear that i t s a p p l i -cation would not be revolutionary, and that indeed the whole f i s c a l programme would only cause the smallest possible d i s -l o c a t i o n i n business. He went further, and promised that any revenue from a t a r i f f on food % o u l d not be regarded as or-dinary income, and would be used s p e c i f i c a l l y to lower the 47 tax burden on the poorer classes i n the community. 44. e.g. The Times. Report of an Executive eommittee meeting of the T a r i f f Reform League, May 15, 1912, p. 15. The Times. Report of the Annual Meeting of the South Vfales T a r i f f Reform Federation, June 4, 1912, p. 4. Smith, F.E., " T a r i f f Reform," The Fortnightly Review. August, 1912, v o l . 92, pp. 205 - 215. 45. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 495. 46. The Times. November 15, 1912, p. 8. 47. Loc. c i t . . 190 Apparently t h i s gathering received the news of the demise of the Referendum with great enthusiasm— just as, i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, a s i m i l a r gathering had cheered i t s b i r t h a short two years previously. When Henry Chaplin introduced a 48 T a r i f f Reform resolution, i t was passed unanimously. The T a r i f f Reformers were n a t u r a l l y delighted, and many undoubtedly hoped, as did A.W.S.Hewins when writing i n his diary, that they had seen the death of the "...anti-food 49 tax movement i n the Party." So secure did t h e i r p o s i t i o n appear to be that Lansdowne, some two weeks after his Albert H a l l speech, p u b l i c l y sought to make his e a r l i e r suggestion s p e c i f i c by endorsing a 2s. duty on foreign corn, and by 50 suggesting the free entry of c o l o n i a l wheat. Austen Cham-be r l a i n followed up and elaborated these statements at 51 Carnarvon on December 2. These concrete proposals, however, served a f a r d i f f e r e n t purpose from that a c t u a l l y intended, f o r they appear to have prodded the Unionist rank-and-file into r e a l i z i n g the true import of the Albert H a l l d e c i s i o n — namely, that with the Referendum dead, food taxation would be automatically included i n the f i r s t Unionist budget af t e r a favourable election. The r e s u l t was the appearance of . 48. The Times. November 15, 1912, p. 8. 49. Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 294. 50. At the Alexandra Palace, The Annual Register. 1912, p. :.:> 258. 51. The Times. December 3, 1912, p. 13. 191 vigorous opposition to the o f f i c i a l Party programme—first amongst the Unionists of Lancashire and Yorkshire, where the dissentients' views were endorsed by such strong papers as 52 the Manchester Courier and Yorkshire Post. The Unionists of U l s t e r soon adopted a s i m i l a r stand, and i n short order e the rot became country-wide. To the dismay of the T a r i f f Reformers, Lord N o r t h c l i f f e with The Times and the Daily M a i l took a s i m i l a r l y h o s t i l e stand. The r i s i n g clamour throughout the Party thus pro-duced the anomaly of December 16, 1912. On that day, Austen Chamberlain, who remained convinced that the 'Dear Food' cry was a bogey which could be r e a d i l y overcome i f boldly faced, spoke vigorously on the 2s. duty on corn, and the ten percent duty on manufactured goods, which the Unionists were prepared to levy. In s t r i k i n g contrast, Bonar Law, while speaking at Ashton-under-Lyne on the same evening, after endorsing T a r i f f Reform with the usual arguments went on to make th i s declaration: I f our countrymen entrust us with power-, we do not intend to impose food duties. What- we intend to do i s to c a l l a conference of the Colonies to consider the whole question of P r e f e r e n t i a l trade, and the question whether or not food duties w i l l be imposed w i l l not arise u n t i l those -negotiations are completed. „. We are t o l d the Colonies have made no o f f e r , that they do not wish such an arrangement. I f that i s true, no food duties w i l l be imposed under any circumstances. We do not wish to impose them. They are not proposed by us for the sake of Protection, and there i s not Protec-t i o n i n them. They are proposed solely f o r the sake of Preference.... 53 52. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 502. 53. The Times. December 17; 1912, j n . 8., 192 Bonar Law,- i n other words, had on his own authority r e i n t r o -duced an element of delay into the app l i c a t i o n of food taxa-t i o n , had stressed i t s p r e f e r e n t i a l aspect, and had, to some extent,, obviously sought to s h i f t the onus of such taxation on to the Overseas Empire. What he had t r i e d to do was to restate his Party's determination to s t i c k by Preference while at the same time stemming the Inc i p i e n t panic. In actual fact he succeeded i n doing neither; the T a r i f f Reform-ers were disheartened, and the clamour from the opponents of food taxation continued. The Times received Law's speech 54 very unfavourably. The Liverpool Courier, the Yorkshire Daily Post, the Manchester Courier and the Daily Graphic went further, and c a l l e d f or a r e v i v a l of the Referendum 55 pledge. On the other hand, Garvin t h i s time stood by the food duties, declaring that i f they were scuttled, "Mr. / 56 Asquith would grow as grey as Palmerston i n o f f i c e . " So rapidly did the discontent spread that by Decem-ber 18, 1912 The Times was reporting that some 60 - 70$ of Unionist M. P.'s were adverse to the food duties, and that Unionist f e e l i n g i n Scotland was as strong against them as i t 54. The Times1. December 17, 1912, pp. 6, 7. 55. The complete I r i s h Unionist Press did l i k e w i s e — I r i s h Unionists, keen to shelve T a r i f f Reform to leave the f i e l d open for b a t t l e on Home Rule and U l s t e r , were a l l i n favour of the change. So also were Conservative leaders i n such Lancashire c i t i e s as Liverpool, which had never been strongly T a r i f f Reform, and which had large Orange populations. 56. Cited i n The Annual Register, 1912, p. 268. 193 57 was i n Ireland and the North of England. Nearly a quarter century l a t e r Austen Chamberlain painted an even more dra s t i c picture of the reversal when he wrote: In a few weeks, almost i n a few days, the revolt had become general; the panic had spread to a l l but a few stalwarts. When we examined the l i s t s we found that we could only count on the constancy of some t h i r t y or forty men, including the veteran Henry Chaplin but mainly drawn from among the younger and more active s p i r i t s of the Party, not a few of whom had been drawn into p o l i t i c s by the c a l l to public service on behalf of a United Empire which was the theme of my father's great T a r i f f Campaign i n 1903. 58 The stage was thus set for the l a s t major change i n the o f f i c i a l stand of the Unionists to the Chamberlain dream before the onset of war i n 1914 s t i l l e d such debate. Faced with the large scale repudiation of t h e i r p o l i c y , - i t was at t h i s moment that Lansdowne and Bonar Law came to the conclusion that the only course open to them was to summon a Party meeting at which they should resign. When, however, word of t h i s i n t e n t i o n became known to t h e i r closest c o l l e a -gues, the l a t t e r (led by Edward Carson and F.E. Smithy)) drafted a memorial which strongly re-stated the Party's 57. The Times, December 18, 1912, p. 7. 58. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 503. Chamberlain wrote i n .: his l e t t e r of January 7, 1913: "The Whips' report was that though f i f t y - s i x t y Members would gladly support Law i f he determined to s t i c k to his guns, not more than twenty-five wished him to do so." Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 508. 59. The complete memorial i s printed i n P e t r i e , .op_. c i t . , v o l . 1, pp. 330 - 332. 194 support of i t s leaders, reaffirmed the adherence of the Unionist M. P.'s to Imperial Preference, and re-iterated t h e i r determination to "bring i t i n i f elected. In addition, and t h i s was the c r u c i a l point, the memorial revived the old 59 two elections scheme v i s - a - v i s the food taxes. Eventually, af t e r i t had been considerably modified by such T a r i f f re-60 formers as Hewins, the memorial was signed by almost a l l Unionist M. P.'s—except Austen Chamberlain—and presented to Lansdowne and Law, who accepted i t , on January 8, 1913. The c r i s i s was thus over, but there was now no question that the decision had gone heavily against the T a r i f f Reformers. Austen Chamberlain made no secret of his disappointment at the new policy of the Party, and even at Law's e a r l i e r Ashton Speech, when he addressed his own con-stituents at Acocks Green on January 13, 1913. He argued as he had done on many previous occasions, that T a r i f f Reform had not been an issue i n January 1906 or i n December 1910, and declared that the Food Duties were s t i l l a basic neces-s i t y to any system of preference. To him, the new decision was a mistake. Nevertheless, i n what appears to have been J V - . 62 an extremely effective speech, he set the o f f i c i a l p o l i c y of, the T a r i f f Reformers by declaring that he f e l t too strong-l y on the other causes represented by Unionism to do anything 59. The complete memorial i s printed i n P e t r i e , op. c i t . , v o l . 1, pp. 330 - 332. 60. Hewins, op. c i t . , p.296.It was Austen Chamberlain who suggested that i t be shown to Hewins before c i r c u l a t i o n . 61. Chamberlain, although he supported Law's retention of the Party's leadership, refused to sign the memorial him-s e l f , for he could not endorse such a change i n policy. 62. See p. 195. 195 but support the Party and i t s leaders. Bonar Law also took to the public p l a t f o r m — t h i s time at Edinburgh on January 24, 1913—to explain the position of Lansdowne and himself, the reason f o r t h e i r contemplated re-signations, and the basis of the pol i c y on which they agreed to remain. He declared i n part: I f we are returned to power we intend to do three things. We s h a l l impose a t a r i f f , a moderate t a r i f f , lower than exists i n any other i n d u s t r i a l country i n the world on foreign manufactured goods. We s h a l l also give to the Dominions of the Crown on our market a prefer-ence, and the largest preference, which i s possible without the imposition, of new duties on food. 63 A Unionist government, Law went on to add, would enter into conversations with the Dominions on the subject of Imperial cooperation i n trade and defense, and, i f Preference should be impossible without a readjustment of food duties, the issue would be taken to the people. Thus, i n what was i n fact the fourth Unionist T a r i f f Reform programme within three months, Law had placed his sign of approval on the two elections proposition f i r s t devised by Balfour i n 1904. From t h i s moment u n t i l the outbreak of war i n 1914 there were numerous signs that the fortunes of the T a r i f f 62. (From p. 194.) According to an anonymous writer i n The  Round Table, the speech "... made a profound impression on the whole country. " "The Unionists and the Food Taxes," The Round Table. March, 1913, v o l . I l l , p. 267. 63. The Times. January 25, 1913, p. 10. 196 Reform movement were declining st e a d i l y . One of the most obvious was the extent to which the vast bulk of the Unionist Press rapidly endorsed the new Party stand—leaving, i n f a c t , only the Morning Post and P a l l M a l l Gazette f i r m l y behind the whole Chamberlain programme. A second was the extent to which the T a r i f f Reformers were openly d i s i l l u s i o n e d and disheartened. Austen Chamber-l a i n ' s correspondence describing a meeting of Selborne, 64 Wyndham, Ridley, Hewins, Amery and George Lloyd on January 15 at his home to discuss the whole s i t u a t i o n makes t h i s quite 65 apparent. A l e t t e r written by Chaplin to Austen Chamberlain on the following day makes the point more c l e a r l y s t i l l . "We must take some decided l i n e , " wrote Chaplin, "or the 66 T a r i f f Reform League w i l l tumble to pieces." The League did not tumble, but i t became increasingly conscious of, and i n -censed at, the extent to which the one great f i r s t construct-ive plank had been relegated to the side l i n e s . Much a n t i -Bonar Law f e e l i n g appears to have spread amongst i t s ranks, 67 for i t was c e r t a i n l y i n evidence when the League held i t s 64. Hewins, who was in c l i n e d to be alternately unduly o p t i -mistic and pessimistic, was, on January 29, 1913— according to his d i a r y — q u i t e s a t i s f i e d with the outcome of events. On January 30, however, he was writing a n g r i l y , "But Bonar Law does not know where he i s and has no convictions," Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 298. 65. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p . 519. 66. Chaplin to Austen Chamberlain, January 16, 1913. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . 517. 67. Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 300. 197 68 annual conference i n March of 1913. At th i s gathering Chaplin personally disassociated himself from the Edinburgh Programme; George Wyndham announced that i f he were required to choose between the League and the Unionist Party he would 69 c e r t a i n l y choose the former, and a motion introduced by Leo Maxse reaffirming the 1903 p o s i t i o n of T a r i f f Reform was 70 / passed unanimously. Indeed, had Austen Chamberlain not addressed the gathering, i n which he noted "... a deep and 71 loud undercurrent of anger and discontent...." i t might wel l have broken out i n open r e v o l t . As i t was, after persuading the League to support a l l Unionist candidates who went along with Bonar Law's Edinburgh programme, Chamberlain made i t very clear that the T a r i f f Reformers would give no more ground. His r e a l view of the prospects of the movement, how-ever, he l e f t to.his p e n — f o r he wrote to his step-mother: Chaplin, who was i n the Chair, did not make my path any easier, f or he took a most gloomy view of the s i t u a t i o n and argued at length that the pos i t i o n was untenable and success impossible—-a view which finds only too much response i n my own breast, though I do not proclaim i t from the housetops. 72 A t h i r d i n d i c a t i o n of the extent to which T a r i f f Reform was being ignored was c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d i n Curzon's 68. At which Lord Duncannon presided. 69. The Annual Register. 1913, p. 62. 70. The Times. March 15, 1913, p. 10. 71. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 537. 72. I b i d . . p. 538. 198 May 2, 1913 address as the new Grand Master of the Primrose League (succeeding Balfour.) Apart from averring, "We are 73 united on the platform on which we stand...., " he said nothing of T a r i f f Reform, although he dealt at length Lloyd George's finance, the Marconi a f f a i r , f oreign po l i c y , U l s t e r , the T e r r i t o r i a l Army, National Defence, and Home Rule. At the same time i t should be noted that i t was s t i l l possible to draw large crowds to hear a discussion of T a r i f f Reform— as Austen Chamberlain did at H u l l and Lincoln on A p r i l 10 74 and 11, 1913. In December of 1913 the most extreme T a r i f f Reform-ers, now more exasperated than ever, caused another flare-up i n Unionist c i r c l e s . This arose from a speech delivered by 75 Chamberlain to a T a r i f f Reform conference at Manchester on December 15, i n which he declared that, keen as he was on T a r i f f Reform, he was a Unionist f i r s t , and found I t hard at the moment to think on any other subject than Ireland. When Spectator inferred that Chamberlain's declaration i n eff e c t meant that the Unionists would f i g h t the next election on Home Rule alone, there was a considerable howl from the old Confederate group which was only with d i f f i c u l t y calmed when Chamberlain corrected the Spectator and made i t clear that 73. The Times. May 3, 1913, p. 10. 74. The Times. A p r i l 12, 1913, p. 7. 75. Presided over by the E a r l of Derby, actu a l l y regarded as a Free Fooder, but presiding i n an impa r t i a l capacity. T a r i f f Reform was s t i l l major Party p o l i c y . The whole mis-understanding was i n i t s e l f a very minor a f f a i r ; yet i t was disruptive enough i n Unionist c i r c l e s , i n the opinion of the Annual Register, to more than counteract any benefit which the Unionists might have acquired at t h i s time from a con-temporary s p l i t i n L i b e r a l ranks over the question of naval 76 expenditure. Once again Chamberlain was able to exert control over the extreme wing, but events were soon to prove.that t h i s was the l a s t occasion on which, before the War, they could be brought into l i n e . When on March 16, 1914 the Tar-i f f Reform League met for i t s annual conference—now just a one day a f f a i r — t h e delegates were i n a rebellious mood, and, 77 i n spite of a strong statement by Chamberlain, openly repudi 78 ated Bonar Law's p o l i c y . The f a c t that t h i s action i n 1914 attracted very l i t t l e attention i s s t r i k i n g testimony to the declining status of the League; the simple t r u t h i s that, for the moment l e a s t , i n the realm of p r a c t i c a l p o l i t i c s the change had come too l a t e to matter. The discomfiture of the T a r i f f Reformers was also i l l u s t r a t e d i n other ways. For instance, i n a by-election at Kendal, Westmoreland, i n March 1913, the l o c a l Unionists 76. The Annual Register. 1913, pp. 259 - 260. 77. At the conference Chamberlain declared: I regret the change i n the attitude of the Unionist Party as much as you do, I did a l l I could to prevent i t , but the contrary opin-ion prevailed, and now we must do the best we can with the present programme. The Times. March 7,1914 78. Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 307. P« 1 0* soo rejected a Central Office nominee and adopted a Colonel Weston, a l o c a l figure who was very popular, even though he was an out-and-out Free Trader who had rejected the Edinburgh programme i n toto. The Central Office and the T a r i f f Reform League withdrew a l l support; some T a r i f f Reformers went f u r -ther, and followed the lead of the Observer, and the P a l l 79 Mall Gazette i n openly hoping that the L i b e r a l would win. Mr. Bonar Law, though not at a l l happily, endorsed the action of the Central O f f i c e . Colonel Weston, nevertheless, both won the election and increased the Unionist majority. At lea s t equally disconcerting to the enthusiastic T a r i f f Reformers was the almost complete eclipse of the f i s -c a l question as a topic of debate i n Parliament. The t r a d i -t i o n a l T a r i f f Reform amendment to the King's Address was con-tinued, but as the clamour of dispute over Ireland mounted, l i t t l e else was heard of i t at Westminster. Indeed, i n 1913 when the Unionists were slow to bring the usual amendment forward, i t was a L i b e r a l who raised the question by introduc-ing a motion t w i t t i n g the Unionists on t h e i r numerous p o l i c y changes. The l a t t e r had to be content with an amendment to thi s L i b e r a l motion, moved and seconded by Captain Tryon and Mr. Hewins, which once again stated the T a r i f f Reform pro-gramme and endorsed "...a moderate duty, not exceeding an average of ten per cent, ad valorem, on Foreign Manufactured 80 Goods...." The res u l t i n g debate lasted only one evening, 79. The Annual Register. 1913, pp. 61 - 62. 80. Hansard. (5th Ser.), v o l . 51, A p r i l 2, 1913, c. 485. and the amendment was, of course, defeated. In the following year the T a r i f f Reformers were somewhat more prompt and raised the question themselves i n t h e i r t r a d i t i o n a l manner on February 16, 1914. Once again, however, the debate was of l i t t l e consequence; i t lasted only four hours, and Bonar Law was the only Front Bench man 81 of either side to speak. By May of 1914 the parliamentary silence of the Unionists on t h i s subject was so marked that Mr. Lloyd George was constrained to observe: T a r i f f Reform i s s t i l l chained i n i t s lonely kennel. I t i s not even allowed to bark, and i t i s only the Hon. Member for Bournemouth (Mr. Page Croft) who goes there with a bone now and again to furnish i t with a repa.st. 82 81. Hansard. (5th Ser.), v o l . 58, February 16, 1914, •' c o l . 671 - 726. 82. Hansard. (5th' Ser.), v o l . 62, May 11, 1914, c o l . 776. (Insertion mine). 202 Chapter V T a r i f f Reform and Imperialism 1895 - 1914 We can draw closer the growing nations, the s i s t e r states, and by a commercial union we can pave the way for that federation which I see constantly before me as a p r a c t i c a l object of a s p i r a t i o n — t h a t federation of free nations which w i l l enable us to prolong i n ages yet to come a l l the glorious t r a d i -tions of the B r i t i s h race. Chamberlain's l a s t speech. - 1906 Reference has already been made to the mounting wave of imperial sentiment which was such a factor i n the 1 1895 triumph of the Unionists at the p o l l s . During the greater part of the next decade at l e a s t , t h i s was to become the dominant fact i n B r i t i s h public l i f e . For the twenty years from 1895 - 1914 there was a steady retreat on the part of the average Br i t o n from the f a t a l i s m of the ' L i t t l e Englander,' and an equally strong advance towards a p o s i t i v e imperialism—although the degree to which the l a t t e r was espoused and the manner i n which i t was expressed varied widely. Broadly speaking, the p a r t i c u l a r l y ardent i m p e r i a l i s t i n B r i t a i n , unlike his compatriot i n the Overseas Empire, was 1 Chapter I I , page 44. 203 i n c l i n e d to champion some c e n t r a l i z i n g concept for the 2 Empire, whether i t involved p o l i t i c a l union, commercial t i e s , or most popular i n B r i t a i n at t h i s time—cooperation i n de-fence expenditures. On the other hand there were many who were i n t h e i r own way strongly i m p e r i a l i s t — f o r imperialism i n the day of K i p l i n g , Elgar, the Jubilee and the Boer War was, as i t must always be to a large degree, a matter of the heart—who had no clear conception of the.way i n which they wanted the Empire to go. They were f o r i t , and proud of i t , 3 but they were content to leave i t alone. Those i n the f i r s t category were in c l i n e d to give expression to t h e i r enthusiasm, and were more l i k e l y to be Unionists than L i b e r a l s ; those i n the second category were t y p i c a l l y r e t i c e n t , and as often as not were adherents of the L i b e r a l Party. Certainly, l o y a l t y and i n t e r e s t i n the Empire was the monopoly of no one p o l i t i -c a l group. As the new imperialism was above party, so indeed was i t above economic theory and f i s c a l p o l i c y . The United 2 The sharp contrast between the dominant i m p e r i a l i s t views i n B r i t a i n and i n the colonies, p a r t i c u l a r l y Canada and A u s t r a l i a , i s wel l expressed i n Amery, Chamberlain, pp. 414 - 416. 3 viz-. The Economist. August 28, 1897, p. 1230. Mr. Chamberlain's own speech, we must confess, only serves to confirm us i n our opinion that the wisest, safest and best thing to do with the B r i t i s h Empire i s to leave i t alone. 204 Empire Trade League, which S i r Howard Vincent and his Protec-t i o n i s t friends had established i n 1892 f o r the avowed pur-pose of un i t i n g the Empire on economic l i n e s , was no more successful i n associating i t s e l f with the r i s i n g enthusiasm fo r the Empire than the F a i r Trade League had been i n the 1880's. Indeed, after 1895 i t usually attracted the atten-4 t i o n of the press only when i t issued i t s annual report; i t s " . . . meetings and luncheons to c o l o n i a l v i s i t o r s hardly 5 raised a r i p p l e on the national waters...."" After 1903, of course, i t was completely eclipsed by the T a r i f f Reform League—although the two were never merged, and Vincent apparently kept i t a l i v e as a personal sounding board u n t i l hjs death i n 1908. Similar evidence of the bi - p a r t i s a n nature of the new imperialism was to be found i n the creation of the B r i t i s h Empire League i n 1896. I t s predecessor, the Imperial Federa-t i o n League, which had played such a notable role i n the 1880's, had been widely supported by members of both p o l i t i c a l p arties, and was i n fact under the presidency of Lord Rose-bery i n 1894 when i t evaded an i n t e r n a l schism over Preferen-t i a l duties by voluntary d i s s o l u t i o n . With members of the old City of London branch of the Imperial Federation League 6 and such Colonial enthusiasts as Col. George Denison playing 4 e.g. The Times. A p r i l 5, 1899, p. 8; A p r i l , 24, 1899, p. 8. 5 Salmon, Edward, "Mr. Chamberlain," The Fortnightly Review, February, 1914, v o l . 95, p. 217. 6 The formation of the new league i s described i n Denison, on. c i t . . pp. 206 - 212. The Imperial Federation League i n Canada changed i t s name to The B r i t i s h Empire League i n Canada on March 4, 1896. 205 a leading r o l e , negotiations to launch a new body were begun 7 i n 1895, and i t was formally inaugurated i n 1896. In s p i t e , however, of the most strenuous e f f o r t s of Denison and others to move the new League towards Preference—at leas t to the extent of endorsing the proposal to denounce the Belgian and German trade t r e a t i e s — i t s membership remained adamantly neutral then and l a t e r on f i s c a l matters. I t was thus able to function i n a slow though impressive way throughout the whole of the stormy period which followed, and to command support from a l l walks of B r i t i s h l i f e . I n spite of t h i s , i t remains a fact that i n the minds of a very considerable section of the B r i t i s h public, a f t e r the year 1903, proposals for P r e f e r e n t i a l trade and a f i s c a l revolution at home did become complementary to and indeed almost synonymous with l o y a l t y to the Empire i t s e l f . That t h i s was s o — t h a t the f i r s t assault against Free Trade i n B r i t a i n on a r e a l l y major scale- should have been launched i n t h i s way—was the r e s u l t of the deliberate action of one man, Joseph Chamberlain. 7 The t i t u l a r head of the new league,ithe Duke of Devonshire, accepted o f f i c e on the understanding that S i r Robert Herbert, a former Prime Minister of Queensland, and for many years Permanent Under Secretary for the Colonies, would become chairman of the Executive Committee and would d i r e c t the League's a f f a i r s . Interestingly enough, Herbert i n time became a complete convert to Joseph Chamberlain's views, and served as the chairman of Chamberlain's T a r i f f Commission from 1904 u n t i l his death i n 1905. 206 Chamberlain's choice of the Colonial Office i n 1895 was i n i t s e l f testimony to the.importance which he attached to things imperial. Already i n that year, he was disturbed . by the extent to which P r o t e c t i o n i s t states were cutting into 8 B r i t i s h markets i n the colonies at home and abroad. Already he was convinced that there was approaching "... a c r i t i c a l stage i n the h i s t o r y of the rela t i o n s between ourselves and the self-governing colonies." Already also he was a convinc-ed champion of the proposal to strengthen the formal t i e s of Empire. "I am t o l d on every hand," he declared i n a speech i n November, 1895, "that Imperial federation i s a vain and empty dream." He c l e a r l y stated his hopes for i t , declaring: " I f i t be a dream, i t i s a dream that appeals to the highest 10 sentiments of patriotism and even to our material i n t e r e s t s . " Any remaining doubt about Chamberlain's philosophy at t h i s time was swept away i n two notable speeches which he delivered i n 1896. In the f i r s t of these, before the Canada Club on March 25, he referred to the Old Imperial Federation League, and viewed i t s basic objectives as: :...a matter of such magnitude and such compli-cation that i t cannot be undertaken at the present time. But i t does not follow that we should give up our aspirations. I t i s only a proof that we must approach the goal i n a d i f -ferent way, that we must not t r y everything a l l at once, that we must seek the l i n e of least resistance. 11 8. Chapter I I , p. 46. 9. — a t the Hotel Metropole, celebrating the completion of the Natal-Transvaal Railway, November 7, 1895 The Times, p. 6. 10. Loc. C i t . 11. March 26, 1896, The Times, p. 10. (Underlining mine). 207 He went on to ask, "What i s the greatest of our common obliga-tions? I t i s Imperial defence. What i s the greatest of our ' 12 common interests? I t i s Imperial trade." He argued that defence, trade and union are a l l closely related, before going on to state his proposition that "... experience has taught us that t h i s closer union can be most hopefully appro-13 ached i n the f i r s t instance from the commercial side." In t h i s speech, i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, he came out strongly against the proposal that B r i t a i n and the colonies extend to each other mutual preferences, and i n doing so used arguments which were often turned against him i n l a t e r days. I t would be a bad bargain,; he declared, to accept a scheme which, by levying duties on food and raw materials, would raise the cost of l i v i n g of the B r i t i s h workingman, which would jeopardize B r i t a i n ' s competitive position i n neutral markets—where she did the bulk of her trading, and which would be of much greater benefit to the Colonies than to B r i t a i n . " - What he did espouse was a much broader concept, i n short, an Imperial Z o l l v e r e i n . But the p r i n c i p l e which I claim must be accepted i f we are to make any, even the sl i g h t e s t progress i s that within the d i f -ferent parts of the Empire protection must disappear, and that revenue duties must be revenue duties, and not protective duties i n the sense of protecting the products of 12 The Times. March 26, 1896, p. 10. 13 Loc. C i t . 208 one part of the Empire against those of another part. 14 F i n a l l y , he pointed out that while he was a supporter of Free Trade, he was not a pedantic admirer of i t , and was prepared to accept modifications as, he pointed out, Cohden had done v i s - a - v i s France. As Garvin remarks, to the extent to which Chamber-la i n ' s objective at th i s time was to stimulate discussion he was supremely successful, for t h i s speech raised an "uncommon 15 s t i r . " I t was soon evident, however, that the Colonies were much too closely wedded to Protection, and r e l i e d f a r 16 too much on duties for t h e i r national revenue, to be very keen about the Zol l v e r e i n proposal. Opinion, furthermore, was divided at home. Chamberlain, nevertheless, came back to his plan when delive r i n g the keynote address before the Third Congress of the Chambers of Commerce of the Empire i n June, 1906. Once again he portrayed his scheme as a tremendous ex-tension of Free Trade, although he admitted that exceptions to the p r i n c i p l e would have to be made, and described as "...an essential condition of the proposal--that Great 14. The Times. March 26, 1896, p. 10. 15. Garvin, op. c i t . , p. 181. 16. The Times, which was very favourably i n c l i n e d to Chamber-l a i n ' s suggestion, noted as one obstacle to i t the fa c t that Customs and Excise provided three-quarters of the revenue of the Canadian Government, and about one-quarter of the revenue of the Australian and South Afr i c a n governments. March 26, 1896, p. 9. 209 B r i t a i n s h a l l consent to place moderate duties upon c e r t a i n 17 a r t i c l e s which are of large production i n the colonies." Fundamentally, however, as Chamberlain soon saw, his approach was based on a misinterpretation of the c o l o n i a l attitude to imperialism, and to Protection. He soon there-fore had to drop the plan, although i n Garvin's words, "... f o r some years he not only held to the p r i n c i p l e as an 18 i d e a l but saw no practicable a l t e r n a t i v e . " Joseph Chamberlain's endeavours at the Imperial Conference of 1897 are also r e l e v a n t — i n so f a r as they f i t 19 into the larger story of T a r i f f Reform. In his opening speech he described federation as by f a r the greatest ques-t i o n before the Conference, and saw i n i t s consummation the avenue to the solution of the numerous other questions which were doubtless to be brought forward. He then went on to propose his famous scheme for a great Council of the Empire, and raised the issue of Colonial contributions to naval defence. On the subject of commercial relations he was s t i l l f e e l i n g his way, but he did s p e c i f i c a l l y admit that a f u l l Z o l l v e r e i n was apparently an i m p o s s i b i l i t y . He looked with favour on the recent action of the Canadian Government i n granting a 12|$ reduction i n the Canadian t a r i f f on B r i t i s h 17. June 9, 1896. Boyd, op. c i t . . pp 370 - 371. 18. Garvin, op. c i t . , , v o l . 3, p. 182. 19. F u l l y described i n Garvin, op. c i t . . v o l . 3, pp. 182-195. 19a goods, and recognized the problem involved therein—namely, that as long as B r i t a i n had most-favoured-nation t r e a t i e s 20 with Germany and Belgium, any concessions extended by the Colonies to B r i t a i n had to go to these states as w e l l . He made i t clear that i f the Colonial representatives so request ed i t , the tr e a t i e s i n question would be,denounced. By i m p l i cation, he conveyed the impression that i f such action were taken, i t was his hope that the other Colonies would follow Canada's lead. He made his purpose very clear. "I have said," he declared, "that I believe i n sentiment as the greatest of a l l the forces i n the general government of the world, but, at the same time, I should l i k e to bring to the reinforcement of sentiment the motives which are derived 21 from material and personal i n t e r e s t . " In the deliberations which ensued, no advance was recorded towards the Colonial Secretary's p o l i t i c a l goal, and no change was made i n defence arrangements. I t was probably 19a. When Mr. F i e l d i n g , the Canadian Minister of Finance, announced t h i s move on A p r i l 23, 1897, he referred to a further proposed reduction of 12\% i n the following year. 20. The incl u s i o n of most-favoured-nation clauses i n these t r e a t i e s — t h e Belgian i n 1862, and that with the Zo l l v e r e i n states i n 1863—was "... r e a l l y the high water mark of Free Trade policy applied to the B r i t i s h Empire." Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 45. After 1880 the B r i t i s h government began to give the Solonies the r i g h t to excuse themselves from p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n new t r e a t i e s . Annett, op. c i t . , p. 34. 21. Confidential Report of Conference at the Colonial Of f i c e , i n June and July, 1897, p. 6 , c i t e d i n Garvin, op. c i t . . p. 189. 22 no surprise to Chamberlain, furthermore, that the debates put an end forever to any hopes of complete Free Trade within the Empire. No s p e c i f i c action was taken on extending Preference; the Colonial Prime Ministers a l l favoured the idea, but could not commit t h e i r countries i n advance. Chamberlain was much too i n t e l l i g e n t not to r e a l i z e why. A l l the Premiers, he observed i n a memorandum to the Duke of Devonshire, ...are personally favourable to closer union. Mr. Reid, the cleverest of them a l l , i s gener-a l l y p a t r i o t i c and ready to r i s k something for the idea. The others are Premiers f i r s t and patriots second—and they have a natural fear that i f they commit themselves too f a r , they may be reproached when they go home with having s a c r i f i c e d c o l o n i a l i n t e r e s t s to the flesh-pots of Egypt. 23 At the Conference, therefore, no s t a r t l i n g advances were 24 made. By the time of i t s conclusion Chamberlain himself r e a l i z e d that no step.towards union was possible u n t i l the lesser consolidations i n A u s t r a l i a and South A f r i c a had been achieved. "Our pol i c y , " he fra n k l y wrote the Duke, " i s to continue to impress our wishes and hopes for union and to leave the leaven to work." He added: "... the great thing i s 25 — t o use a railway expression—to get the points r i g h t . " 22. Held i n camera, and never p u b l i c l y reported. 23. Cited i n Garvin, op. c i t . , p. 193. 24. Led by Laurier, the Colonial Prime Ministers unanimously urged the denunciation of the Belgian-German trade t r e a t i e s . 25. ©irted: in" Garviru , o'©, -bit. . p. 193:.-212 From t h i s moment until'1902'Chamberlain was to remain s i l e n t on his great dream. For t h i s i n t e r v a l of silence Garvin suggests two explanations: the f i r s t , Chamb-erlain's preoccupation with other Imperial a f f a i r s , notably In South A f r i c a ; and the second, the pr o b a b i l i t y that he had already begun to r e a l i z e that any move towards closer com-mercial r e l a t i o n s inevitably meant attempting a f i s c a l r e v o l -ution at home. This, Garvin h i n t s , Chamberlain realized was fraught with danger, and at the time had no prospect of 26 succeeding. The Times made one b r i e f reference to t h i s sub-ject i n March, 1900, v/hen commenting on Mr. Fielding's . 2 7 l a t e s t budget speech i n Canada, but i t saw l i t t l e prospect of B r i t a i n imposing, any t a r i f f s , and s t i l l favoured the Free Trade-within-the-Empire proposal. Just at the end of the year 1900, however, W.A.S. Hewins wrote an a r t i c l e for publication i n Germany on Imperi-alism and i t s probable effect upon the commercial p o l i c y of  the United Kingdom which makes i t clear that proposals for commercial t i e s within the Empire were at th i s time a t t r a c t i n g the attention of a small but able group of Britons (including himself). As the work of a very competent observer of the B r i t i s h scene, i t i s worth quoting from at some length: 26. Garvin, op. c i t . , p. 194. 27. In which F i e l d i n g declared: " I t i s perhaps within the bounds of p o s s i b i l i t y that England might be induced to impose a duty for the benefit of the colonies." The Times, Weekly Edi t i o n , March 26, 1900, p. 200. 213 The unanimity which has prevailed with regard to the South African war should not he mis-taken for general agreement as to the methods hy which the larger aims of Imperialism are to be achieved. I f we exclude, on the one hand, the r e l i c s of the Manchester School, whose p o l i t i c a l views are l i m i t e d by the English horizon, and on the other, the so-called Jingoes, who would plant the B r i t i s h f l a g on a l l the unoccupied and many of the inhabited por-tions of the globe, there remain at the present time three important groups of Imp e r i a l i s t s , and representatives of these groups are to be found amongst both Liberals and Conservatives. 28 The f i r s t group he described as Imperialists of the l a i s s e z f a i r e school. The second, and he claimed "...by f a r the 29 largest group...." he named p o l i t i c a l I m p erialists. They, he held, "... contemplate no change i n the economic po l i c y of the country, but t h e i r aims involve economic issues of great importance.... They, for the present, hold f a s t to the l a i s s e r f a i r e policy so f a r as economic questions are concern-30 ed and confine t h e i r Imperialism to p o l i t i c a l objects." Hewins argued that i n time t h i s group would be self-destruc-t i v e , that one section of i t would revert to the f i r s t cate-gory, and that the other would advance to his t h i r d position-;;. b e l i e f i n a constructive p o l i c y "... based upon the s o l i d a r i t y of Imperial interests and involving important changes i n re-l a t i o n to domestic a f f a i r s , the commercial system and public 31 finance." Hewins' description of the views of these con-28. Cited i n Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 50. 29. Ibid.", p.. 53. 30. Loc:. c i t . . . . 31. I b i d . , p. 56. 214 s t r u c t i v e Imperialists exactly foreshadowed Chamberlain's l a t e r philosophy. By 'constructive Imperialism' I mean the deliberate adoption of the Empire as d i s -tinguished from the United Kingdom as the basis of public p o l i c y , and, i n p a r t i c u l a r , the subst i t u t i o n i n our economic policy of Imperial interests for the interest of the consumer, those interests being measured, not necessarily by the immediate or even the ultimate gain of a purely economic character a r i s i n g from a p a r t i c u l a r l i n e of p o l i c y , but by the greater p o l i t i c a l or s o c i a l s t a b i l i t y , of the greater defensive power of the Empire. But while Imperialists of this school must undoubtedly contemplate the p o s s i b i l i t y of temporary economic loss as a consequence of t h e i r p o l i c y , they would look for a great increase of the wealth and productive power of the Empire from the establishment of even closer commercial re-latio n s between the mother country and the colonies. 32 I t was against t h i s background that Hicks-Beach, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, made his decision to revive Lowe's r e g i s t r a t i o n duty on imported corn i n his 1902 budget, and thus set i n motion the f i n a l t r a i n of events leading to the T a r i f f Reform campaign. Hicks-Beach' proposal was at once attacked by the Li b e r a l s , of course, but i t i s s i g n i f i c -cant that at f i r s t i t was dealt with on purely domestic l i n e s ; the possible use of the duty P r e f e r e n t i a l l y was not a topic f o r early debate. Chamberlain himself appears to have 33 thought of i t as a "... domestic and purely f i n a n c i a l matter." 32 Hewins, op. c i t . , p. 56. 33 Amery, Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 402. 215 Outside the h a l l s of parliament, however, the champ-ions of Imperial consolidation launched an aggressive cam-paign f o r positive action, especially along commercial l i n e s . They vrere greatly assisted, seemingly, by the shock to B r i t -i s h public opinion of the announcement i n A p r i l of t h i s year that a syndicate headed by J. P. Morgan had attained control of almost a l l the major B r i t i s h trans-Atlantic shipping l i n e s . Col. George Denison, who arrived i n B r i t a i n to campaign again f o r an Imperial P r e f e r e n t i a l system just at t h i s moment, was delighted with the effect which the above news had i n London. I t was, he afterwards wrote, " ... my f i r s t stroke 34 of good luck...." The thinking public, he declared, was considerably disturbed, and, as a r e s u l t , "They were i n a 35 mood to l i s t e n to questions as to t h e i r future prospects." For some weeks, during A p r i l and early May, 1902, as the t h e o r e t i c a l discussion of commercial bonds within the Empire mounted considerably, Chamberlain continued s i l e n t . P u b l i c l y and p r i v a t e l y , however,.he was regarded as the key man i n any suggested action. Denison l o s t no time i n seeing 36 him personally, and i n arguing his case before him. E. J . D i l l o n , i n the Contemporary Review, saw the consolidation of the Empire as the v i t a l question, and declared, " I t i s at 34 Denison, op. c i t . . p. 292. 35 Ib i d , p.. 293. 36 Denison, op. c i t . , p. 298. 216 t h i s point that Mr. Chamberlain must make his influence f e l t 37 fo r good." I f through the use of external Protection and i n t e r n a l Free Trade the various continental peoples could weld powerful empires, D i l l o n argued: "... the d i f f i c u l t i e s i n the way of consolidat-ing our own h a l f - f i n i s h e d Empire, composed as i t i s of men of the same race and language, ought to vanish before a great p o l i t i c a l a r c h i -tect l i k e mists i n the summer sun." 38 The whole s i t u a t i o n was changed, however, on May 12, 1902, when Laurier, i n replying to a suggestion i n the House of Commons that that house endorse by resolution the p r i n c i p l e of an Imperial P r e f e r e n t i a l system, declared: Now what am I going to England for? I am going to England to discuss the commercial relations of the empire. I am going to England at the instance and i n v i t a t i o n of the imperial government. The imperial government has something to propose to us, therefore, upon the subject of imperial r e l a t i o n s , I cannot conceive that Mr. Chamber-l a i n , the Colonial Secretary, would i n v i t e the representatives of the colonies to come to England to discuss commercial relations unless the B r i t i s h government has something to propose on the subject of commercial re-l a t i o n . " 39. The manner i n which Campbell-Bannerman raised t h i s pronouncement i n the B r i t i s h House of Commons, and i n which Balfour completely disavowed Laurier's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , has 40 already been dealt with. What must be noted i s the way i n 37. D i l l o n , E.J., "The Commercial Needs of the Empire," The Contemporary Review, v o l . 81 ( A p r i l 1902), p. 475. 38. I b i d . , p. 481. 39. Canada, House of Commons Debates, May 12, 1902, v o l . 57, c o l . 4730. 40. Chapter I I , pp. 54-55. 217 which Chamberlain reacted to the new s i t u a t i o n . As f a r as can be ascertained Chamberlain was not yet an out-and-out adherent of Protection, although, i n Amery's words, "...he 41 already leaned towards i t . " Convinced as he always was, however, that Canada was the key u n i t i n the Overseas Empire, he apparently determined that the door should not be completely slammed i n the face of Laurier's expressed hope. He thus delivered at Birmingham on May 16 a powerful speech i n which he decried "... the lack of foresight which distinguishes, 42 the L i t t l e Englander and the L i t t l e Scotchman," described the dangers of economic i s o l a t i o n , and, i n c a l l i n g f o r new techniques to meet new situations and to grasp new opportuni-t i e s , c l e a r l y forecast his own economic apostasy i n 1903. 43 Remarkably, the speech raised no unusual s t i r , but i t did achieve i t s purpose, and the question of economic Preference was l e f t open for the Colonial Conference of 1902—just as Chamberlain had wished. Br i e f reference to t h i s gathering was made i n Chap-43 ter I I ; more must be said about i t here, although the tr e a t -ment w i l l s t i l l be l i m i t e d , for the whole subject i s thorough-44 l y dealt with by J u l i a n Amery. 41. Chapter I I , pp. 54-55. 42. The^imes^-^Mayll7y, 1902; ^ju 12. 43. Amery, Chamberlain, p.. 406. 43. Chapter, I I , p. 59. 44. Amery, Chamberlain, pp. 412 - 447. 218 Chamberlain dominated the proceedings completely—although he did more l i s t e n i n g than t a l k i n g . In his opening address he drew attention to the paramount object of the Conference— 45 "...to strengthen the bonds which unite us...." and l i s t e d as the three avenues by which i t might be approached some form of p o l i t i c a l federation, a possible economic union, or some arrangement a r i s i n g out of the problem of mutual defence. Once again he made a strong plea for a Council of Empire which would lead to union based upon a federal c o n s t i t u t i o n . But now t h i s proposal, which had prompted such lengthy d i s -cussion i n 1897, was simply ignored by the Colonial Prime Ministers, and thus, long before the Conference was over, Chamberlain r e a l i z e d that t h i s part of his great dream was at the moment unattainable. On the t h i r d l i n e of approach, cooperation i n de-fence, Chamberlain was none too sanguine from the s t a r t , f o r he had been warned ahead of time of some of the d i f f i c u l t i e s 46 involved. Nevertheless, the Admiralty and the War Office were determined to seek some agreement, and Chamberlain sup-ported them. Once again, the results were negative In the slec'onci f i e l d of approach, prospects of economic union, the s i t u a t i o n was d i f f e r e n t . Here the r i s i n g nationalism of the Colonial B r i t o n found a means whereby he i; retained a l l the sovereignty which he had already obtained-!--45. Minutes of the Colonial Conference of 1902. p. 2,— ! c i t e d i n Amery, Chamberlain, p. 420. J 46. by George Denison. Amery, Chamberlain, p. 423. I 219 and which so many inhabitants of the B r i t i s h Isles f a i l e d to r e a l i z e he was under no circumstances prepared to give u p — while at the same time he could recognize, i n a tangible way, the i n t e r n a t i o n a l aspect of h i s p l o y a l t y . The P r e f e r e n t i a l idea, placing his own interests f i r s t , and thereafter d i s -criminating i n favour of the Briton against the foreigner, as Amery r i g h t l y says very accurately expressed the r e l a t i o n -'s' ship which the Colonial wanted to develop with B r i t a i n i n a l l 47 walks of l i f e . There was thus strong support for i t i n the Overseas Empire—although, i n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, i n 1902 none of the Colonies but Canada had done anything to put the P r e f e r e n t i a l resolution of the 1897 Conference into e f f e c t , and t h e i r representatives were, thus, hardly i n a p o s i t i o n to press f o r counter concessions from. B r i t a i n . The Canadian delegates were i n a d i f f e r e n t p o s i t i o n , for Canada had grant-ed a preference, and, furthermore, when i t was increased to 33§$ i n 1900, i t had incurred some opposition from l o c a l commercial i n t e r e s t s . Thus the Canadian Government was faced with the prospect that i t might have to reduce the margin of Preference, i f i t was unable to obtain some counter conces-sion. I t was for t h i s reason that Laurier moved so quickly to c a p i t a l i z e on the new Hicks-Beach corn duty. Just where Chamberlain stood on the subject of Preference before the eonference began, even Amery i s not too sure. 47. Amery, Chamberlain, p. 432. 220 As an Imp e r i a l i s t , he was nat u r a l l y sympa-thet i c to any policy on which the Solonies had set t h e i r hearts and which might help to b u i l d up trade within the Empire. As an economist, however, he s t i l l douibted whether preference could be defended as a s t r i c t l y business proposition. 48 His economic fears were undoubtedly l i n g e r i n g remnants of his Free Trade up-bringing, but were reinforced by the opinions of such personal advisers as S i r Robert Giffen, and by those of the Board of Trade s t a f f — f o r almost a l l of the 'experts' i n B r i t a i n s t i l l placed very l i t t l e value on P r e f e r e n t i a l treatment for B r i t i s h goods i n the Colonies—whether i t was re a l or promised. Nevertheless,'in spite of his p r a c t i c a l reservation, i t was Chamberlain who tent a t i v e l y made the f i r s t move on Preference, before the Conference opened, by casting out to Denison the suggestion that Canada might place c e r t a i n B r i t i s h manufactured goods on her free l i s t , while B r i t a i n , i n ex-change, freed Canadian wheat from the duty on corn—and by suggesting that Denison pass the thought along to Laurier and 49 the Canadian delegation. This was duly done, and Laurier, hoping f o r B r i t i s h action before the Imperial Parliament rose for the summer recess, made a formal request for such a con-cession through the Colonial Office. When Hicks-Beach heard of i t , i t came to naught. 48. Amery, Chamberlain, p. 434 - 5. 49. Denison, op. c i t . , p. 332. 221 and S t i l l , Laurier was encouraged,/once the Conference had begun, a m i i t was he who brought the matter to a head by asking "...whether i t would not be possible that the 50 Colonies should be given a preference." Laurier recogni-zed the d i f f i c u l t y of expecting B r i t a i n to levy new duties; • i what he referred to s p e c i f i c a l l y was the new impost on grain, which he f e l t could be reduced without creating any problems. He did not hesitate to f i n d a precedent f o r his proposal i n Cobden's use of wine duties during the Anglo-French negotia-tions of the l a t e 1850's. He pointed out, furthermore, that eliminating to some degree the effect of the duty would surely not run counter to the interests of B r i t i s h consumers. To t h i s request the Colonial Secretary had to reply, and i n doing so, conditionally at l e a s t , he appeared to accept the P r e f e r e n t i a l p r i n c i p l e . .His provisos were: that Prefer-r ence be a step towards fre^/trade within the Empire; and that i t be a sound f i n a n c i a l proposition from the B r i t i s h point 51 of view. At once, Messrs F i e l d i n g and Paterson of the Cana-dian delegation set to work to eliminate any fears which Chamberlain s t i l l possessed over the fairness of the bargain. 52 From the verbatim dialogue which Amery has reproduced, i t 50.. Minutes of the Colonial Conference of 1902, p. 4 9 — ci t e d i n Amery,"Chamberlain, p. 45b). 5 1« I b i d , pp. 50-52—Cited i n Amery, Chamberlain, pp. 440-1. 52. Amery had before him the complete unpublished t r a n s c r i p t of the proceedings. Amery, Chamberlain, pp. 441-3. 222 i s evident that succeeded only too w e l l , and, i n the process, destroyed forever Chamberlain's confidence i n the economic views of the Board of Trade. From t h i s point i n the conference Chamberlain and Laurier proceeded to i n i t i a t e detailed negotiations on the question of the precise concessions Canada would offer to match any rebate of the duty on corn. Here, however, a snag appeared, for when the Canadians made a submission to the Conference, i t became obvious that the Canadian 'concession' was to be made, not by reducing t a r i f f s on B r i t i s h goods, but by r a i s i n g those against foreign products. This was, of course, a f a r step from Free Trade within the Empire; i t was a P r o t e c t i o n i s t approach to Preference, and what was more, i t soon appeared to be an approach which was widely supported by the other Colonial delegates. Considerable discussion followed. Chamberlain again showed (and undoubtedly realized) that he was none too well briefed by the Board of Trade. Eventually a reso l u t i o n which sought to bind the Home Government to the introduction of r e c i p r o c a l Preference had to be dropped. In i t s place the Conference went so f a r as to endorse the value of r e c i p -rocal trade within the Empire, admitted that Free Trade with-i n i t was not practicable, and declared i t advisable that a l l the Colonies might make P r e f e r e n t i a l concessions to the Mother Country. 223 I t further resolved: That the Prime Ministers of the Colonies respectfully urge on His Majesty's Govern-ment the expediency of granting i n the United Kingdom p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment to the products and manufactures of the Colonies either by exemption from or reduction of duties now or hereafter imposed. 53 Here we can leave the Conference. In a formal way i t had achieved l i t t l e ; i t had rejected again B r i t i s h re-quests f or an Imperial Council and f o r Colonial contribu-tions to Imperial defence. I t had not resulted i n any great advance along the l i n e s of economic collaboration. Neverthe-less i t had taught Chamberlain a great lesson, and had be-come a major factor i n leading him to the great decision on which he was to f i g h t his l a s t major p o l i t i c a l b a t t l e . The only road towards the unity of the Empire which had Empire-wide support was some form of Preference. But as the over-seas conception of i t was P r o t e c t i o n i s t , B r i t a i n ' s would have to be sim i l a r i f there was to be any equality of concession and gain therefrom. "Here at l a s t , " as Amery put's i t , "Chamberlain came face to face with the great problem of his time. There could not be a closer union of the Empire with-54 out a f i s c a l revolution at home." As f a r as Amery has been able to t e l l , Chamberlain had not yet reached his great decision when the Colonial 53. Minutes of the Colonial Conference of 1902. p. 189— ci t e d i n Amery, Chamberlain, p. 446. 54. Amery, Chamberlain, p. 447. 224 Conference ended on August 11, 1902, although he was now convinced that both B r i t a i n and the Colonies would have toe retreat from t h e i r hitherto adamant stand—the one on f i s c a l p o l i c y , and the other on defence.. Sometime during the balance of the month of August, while he rested at Highbury, his mind was made up. Henceforth, as Amery shrewdly points out: Chamberlain's plan was essentialy chemical i n i t s conception. He would r a i s e the tempera-ture of Imperialism to a point where the pre-judices and objections which s t i l l separated the Colonies from the Mother Country would be dissolved l i k e impurities i n a c r u c i b l e . 55 As a primary means to-this end he resolved to go on a grand tour of each of the major Colonies. A c o n f i d e n t i a l l e t t e r which he wrote on September 4 informing Milner of his proposed v i s i t to South A f r i c a leaves no doubt that by t h i s time he had resolved on a new course. In part he wrote: I think that the time has come, when, i f a further marked advance i s to be made i n the rela t i o n s between the Mother Country and the Colonies, I must take some new steps of a rather sensational kind, and, accordingly, when Balfour became Prime Minister I t o l d him that I had i t i n my mind to make a v i s i t to a l l the self-governing Colonies. 56 Meanwhile, an unauthorized campaign overseas had added a certain note of urgency to the s i t u a t i o n , for I s r a e l xlarte had just launched a drive for high t a r i f f s i n Canada, .55. Amery, Chamberlain, p. 474. 56. ci t e d i n Amery, Chamberlain, p. 476. 225 and F i e l d i n g — i n Europe u n t i l early i n October—was very desirous of getting an assurance of favourable B r i t i s h action which would enable him to take the wind out of Tarte's s a i l s i n the next Canadian budget, which he was keen to begin preparing. Certainly i n October and November F i e l d i n g wrote ' 57 to Chamberlain asking for a concrete answer to his requests. I t was at t h i s stage that there ensued i n B r i t a i n the cabinet meetings of October-November, 1902, already 58 discussed i n Chapter I I . A s i g n i f i c a n t fact about the tentative cabinet decision reached on November 19 not men-tioned previously, however, i s that although Chamberlain had apparently won his point, the new Chancellor, R i t c h i e , had succeeded i n persuading the Cabinet that no communication binding i t to any f i s c a l p o l i c y — s o f a r ahead of his 1903 budget—should be despatched to Canada. None ever was sent. Chamberlain wrote to Fie l d i n g on the following day, November 20, just before leaving for South A f r i c a , but he made no mention of the decision taken on the previous day, and went out of his way to ?;arn Fielding of the obstacles which he, Chamberlain, faced i n B r i t a i n . 57. Amery, Chamberlain, pp. 516-519.'(Amery surmises that at a meeting between Fielding and Chamberlain on August 31, at Highbury, Fielding had- offered concrete t a r i f f concessions, and Chamberlain had promised i n return to press:' a preference i n corn on the B r i t i s h cabinet) 58. Chapter I I , pp. 59 - 60. 226 I f Chamberlain l e f t B r i t a i n with any l i n g e r i n g doubts about the wisdom of his views on Imperial union and f i s c a l reform they were soon d i s p e l l e d , f o r on at l e a s t one occasion while i n South A f r i c a he outlined i n conversation with S i r Percy F i t z p a t r i c k and S i r A l f r e d M i l n e r — p o s s i b l y for the f i r s t time to a n y o n e — p r a c t i c a l l y the v/hole case for 59 T a r i f f Reform as he was l a t e r to u n v e i l i t at home. Certainly he returned to B r i t a i n i n 1903 with very d e f i n i t e ideas of the l i n e s on which he hoped to steer B r i t i s h Imper-i a l and economic po l i c y . Details concerning the actual inauguration of the T a r i f f Reform campaign have already been presented. The s i g n i f i c a n t point to record here i s that the basis of Chamber-la i n ' s action was his imperialism. His speeches themselves are proof enough of t h i s p o i n t — b u t there i s plenty of other substantiating evidence. Hewins repeatedly emphasizes i t — while recording that Chamberlain was r e a l i s t enough to remark to him "'we s h a l l have to do something f o r the manufactu-60' re r s . ' " H.A.Taylor, Bonar Law's biographer, makes the same point. He declares that on the very next day a f t e r the May 15, 1903 speech i n which Chamberlain launched T a r i f f Reform, Law personally gave his support to Chamberlain, and referred 59. F i t z p a t r i c k recorded t h e i r conversation i n a remarkable memorandum which he published i n The Times on November 28, 19 '3, pp. 13 - 14. 60. Taylor, op. c i t . , p. 78. 227 to his own conviction that English working men hated to see th e i r products challenged at home while abroad they were excluded. Taylor adds: Chamberlain r e p l i e d : "That may be true, but i f that were a l l , I should not have moved i n t h i s question. I should have l e f t i t to younger men. I have taken t h i s step because I believe i t i s the one way by which i t i s possible for us to secure the real.union of the B r i t i s h Empire." 61 Certainly, Chamberlain's action i n setting up c r i t e r i a f o r membership on the T a r i f f Commission which he created at the end of 1903 was i n l i n e with t h i s stand. His one requirement was that members believe i n and be keen about his Imperial p o l i c y . He did not require acquiescence with his f i s c a l proposals, and, indeed, on Hewins' authority a number of Free Traders were on the Commission and others 62 were on i t s s t a f f . Austen Chamberlain c l e a r l y i l l u s t r a t e d the extent to which the Imperial dream inspired T a r i f f Reform when he wrote to Balfour i n 1904 as follows: I believe i n the policy of Colonial Prefer-ence. I believe i t to be the greatest object to which we i n our time can devote ourselves not only for i t s e l f but f o r all..to which i t may lead and which we cannot r e a l i z e without i t . I believe i t to be worth great immediate s a c r i f i c e s , i f such were c a l l e d f o r , both from the Party and the nation, f o r the sake of the future advantages i t promises. 63 61. Taylor, Bonar Law, p. 78. 62. Hewins, op. c i t . . p. 68. 63. Austen Chamberlain to Balfour, Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 32. (September 12, 1904). 228 The evidence of Lord Birkenhead's biographer i s equally d e f i n i t e . When the young F.. E. Smith met Chamberlain early i n 1905, he said to the great man: : Cannot you postpone the proposal to tax food u n t i l we are p o l i t i c a l l y stronger? Cannot you, i n the f i r s t place, use the Pr o t e c t i o n i s t argument which has great value i n the i n d u s t r i a l constituencies, and postpone, u n t i l we are stronger, the f u l l and ultimately indispensable programme. To t h i s Chamberlain r e p l i e d : My young fr i e n d . . . you have mistaken my purpose, a l l these matters were deeply con-sidered by me before I conceived and dec-lared my proposals. 64 T a r i f f Reform to Chamberlain and his closest sup-porters was f i r s t and foremost a means towards the consolida-t i o n of the Empire. I t i s true, that the campaign also had a P r o t e c t i o n i s t slant from the beginning; i t was inherent i n Chamberlain's gloomy reviews of the prospects of B r i t i s h industry. I t was also at the heart of the following declara-t i o n which he was reported to have made during the speech at Glasgow on October 6, 1903—in which he launched his appeal to the public:, The Colonies are prepared to meet us. In return for a very moderate preference, they w i l l give us a substantial advantage. In the f i r s t place I believe they w i l l reserve to us the trade which we already enjoy. They w i l l arrange for t a r i f f s i n the future i n order not to st a r t industries i n competition with .64. Cited i n Birkenhead, E a r l of, i n Frederick Edwin, E a r l ' of Birkenhead, London, Thornton Butterworth Ltd., 1933, • v o l . 1, p. 137. 229 those which are already i n existence i n the Mother Country. 65 Nevertheless, as directed by him, T a r i f f Reform was never an out and out attempt to remake the f i s c a l system of B r i t a i n f or the dir e c t economic benefit of Britons themselves. From the outset of his campaign, i n f a c t , Chamberlain did not hesitate to lay stress upon the s a c r i f i c e which he f e l t Britons were being c a l l e d upon to make—to the dismay of such 66 advisers as Hewins, who profoundly disagreed with his e s t i -mation of the effect of Preference here. Furthermore, f o r quite a time he sought to appeal to the B r i t i s h public as a Free Trader campaigning for a great extension of t h e i r p r i n -c i p l e . In t h i s he was not deceptive, for he saw the strength-ening of the t i e s of Empire (however achieved) as leading to an accelerated and easier flow of goods from one end of the Empire to the other. But the over a l l point i s that his basic appeal ca l l e d upon the Briton of his day, for the time being, to put the economic interests of others before his own — f o r the sake of a great i d e a l . That he did so i s important, for i n a r e a l sense i t compromised his arguments from the beginning. 65. The Annual Register, ^QQZ; p^2WV ;At^the'tlme-this' • : Suggestion aroused much unfavourable comment i n B r i t a i n "... as connecting Imperialism with the economic stunt-ing of the Colonies." A.R., p. 207. I t was consider-ably watered down when a corrected version of the speech was shortly thereafter published. 66. Hewins, op. c i t . . pp. 64 - 65. 230 Obviously, once he had admitted that a Preference on Colonial produce coming into B r i t a i n meant a s a c r i f i c e on the part of the B r i t i s h working man, he and his followers were hard put to i t to answer l o g i c a l l y the 'Dear Food' cry which the Liberals immediately raised. How, for instance, could T a r i f f Reformers stoutly deny the claims of an inevitable r i s e i n the cost of l i v i n g when t h e i r leader spoke of s a c r i -f i c e s ? The way was thus opened for such c r i t i c s as Lord Welby, who attacked Chamberlain's scheme as ". . . that dream of a prematurely forced confederation which would stimulate Colonial l o y a l t y by taxing, for Colonial benefit, the work-67 ing classes of t h i s country." Chamberlain's plan, nevertheless, was to appeal to the sentiment of a l l sections of the public at home, and i n t h i s he was remarkably successful. Not a l i t t l e of his early support rose d i r e c t l y from the great picture of Imperi-a l Unity which he painted. His t h e s i s — t h a t the only event-u a l alternative to unity lay i n the complete break-up of the Empire—was widely accepted, and gave a p r o s e l y t i s i n g zeal \ to the T a r i f f Reformer which should not be under-rated. Benjamin Kidd, wr i t i n g i n the Contemporary Review of July, 1903, was t y p i c a l of a large number of Unionists who accepted 68 Chamberlain's views completely. Lord Brassey was another; 67. Welby, Lord, "Mr. Chamberlain's F i s c a l P o l i c y , " i n Contemporary Review. July, 1903., v o l . 84, p. 1. 68, Kidd, B., "Imperial Policy and Free Trade," The Nine-teenth Century and After. July, 1903, v o l . 54, pp. 53—4. 231 he hoped a d d i t i o n a l l y to see T a r i f f Reform leading to a shar-69 ing of the burdens of Imperial defence. Dr. Cunningham, the Cambridge economist came out. i n support of T a r i f f Reform both on an economic and a p o l i t i c a l basis, "... holding that our present f i s c a l policy was tending towards Imperial d i s -70 integration." Lord Esher, so close to the King, was much i disturbed by Chamberlain's resignation i n September, 1903, but hoped that through i t Chamberlain might become another P i t t by preventing "... a disruption which, is', inevitable 71 unless f i s c a l unity i s established." Yvnile Chamberlain soon won the vast bulk of organi-zed Unionists to his cause, he did not win them a l l . The majority of those who refused to j o i n him remained aloof, undoubtedly, because they were not prepared to renounce Free Trade and to endorse Protection. A small but thoughtful minority—which was to grow i n time—had the i r doubts of his was views on Imperial p o l i c y . 'Some, l i k e Milner, who/in time to become a very enthusiastic T a r i f f Reformer, were both dazzled by and enthusiastic about Chamberlain's v i s i o n , but f e l t that he was much too sanguine about the prospects for success i n the near future. From the moment that Milner heard of 69. Hythe, Problems of Empire, p. 138. 70. The Annual Register. 1903, p. 188. 71. Brett, M. V., ed,, Journals and Letters of Reginald, Viscount Esher, London, Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1934, v o l . 2,' p. 13. 232 Chamberlain's views first-hand i n the winter of 1902-3 he was convinced that the Colonial Secretary had under-estimated 72 the strength of the Free Trade appeal to the B r i t i s h public. So was Professor Dicey, an otherwise sympathetic c r i t i c . Dicey r e a l i z e d only too c l e a r l y the extent to which the Opposition would c a p i t a l i z e on the 'Dear Loaf,' and f e l t that Chamberlain, by proposing his scheme i n such a way that the chief immediate economic benefits would go to the Colonies overseas, had unwittingly been sowing seeds of future dissen-73 t i o n . Some Unionists at t h i s time had no great quarrel with the Protection i n T a r i f f Reform at a l l , but challenged com-pletely i t s claims on the future of the Empire. They were few i n number, and not widely listened to i n t h e i r own p a r t y — even though time was to prove them r i g h t . Typical of them, and indeed l a t e r the leader of them was Curzon, who admired Chamberlain's courage but not his judgment. From f a r - o f f India i n 1903 he wrote to Arnold Foster: I do not believe that the continued existence of the Empire depends upon P r e f e r e n t i a l T a r i f f s (though I am personally ready to throw away any number.of 'fly-blown phylacteries'). But i t looks to me as i f the future existence of the Unionist Party for some years at any rate, were l i k e l y to be compromised by the manner i n which the question has been raised. 74 72. Amery, J . , Chamberlain, p. 532. 73. Dicey, E., "The Unionists and I m p e r i a l i s t s , " The Contem-porary Review, September, 1903, v o l . 84, pp. 305 - 17. 74. Cited i n Ronaldshay, op. c i t . , vol.. 3, p. 22. -253 If the march of events was to render obsolete the T a r i f f Reformers' view of unity within the Empire, as of course i t d i d , i n one respect at le a s t Chamberlain and his . supporters were much more far-seeing i n matters Imperial than t h e i r c r i t i c s . This concerned t h e i r view of the a b i l i t y of the Colonies to expand t h e i r food production. While the T a r i f f Reformers were quite convinced that the Overseas Empire could, i n time, s a t i s f y a l l of Britain.'s needs, and did not hesitate to say so, there were numerous Unionists and very many Liberals who just frankly did not believe i t . Thus, they argued, a scheme of Preference was a snare and a delusion, for i n practice the Colonies would obtain l i t t l e economic advantage from J i t . S i r Robert Giffen, a Unionist who d i s l i k e d the excesses of the T a r i f f Reformers and t h e i r Free Trade opponents, and who had been for years an adviser to Chamberlain, was t y p i c a l of those who held t h i s view. To what extent the L i b e r a l s ' denunciation of Cham-berlain's view of the Empire was the res u l t of i t s being proposed by a P r o t e c t i o n i s t , to what extent i t was the r e f l e c -t i o n of a desire to simply leave things alone, and to what extent i t was the expression of a more enlightened view of the Empire as a league of completely sovereign s t a t e s — i t i s impossible to say. Very probably the f i r s t two considera-tions were paramount for most L i b e r a l s . Nevertheless i t i s undeniable that the leaders of the L i b e r a l Party showed con-siderable prescience i n t h e i r attacks on the Imperial aspect 234 of T a r i f f Reform. During the early days of the controversy the substance of t h e i r stand was c l e a r l y put by Harcourt: To forecast a future of separation seemed of a l l things the most absurd, i t was s e l f -government that held them together. You might as w e l l take immediate precautions to save the Empire i n view of an insurrection by the Primrose League to over thro?; the Monarchy. 75 Asquith, who dogged Chamberlain's footsteps i n the years 1903 to 1906, repeatedly challenged Chamberlain's thesis re 76 the Empire. Campbell-Bannerman did like w i s e , describing as a'wicked slander' the view that the Empire could only be 77 held together by a revolution i n B r i t i s h f i s c a l p o l i c y . Rosebery, s t i l l regarded as the spokesman of L i b e r a l Imperi-alism, also came out heavily against Chamberlain, arguing that "... t h i s proposal would tend to dis l o c a t e , and i n time 78 to dissolve, the bonds of Union of the Empire. In spite of pre-eminent place which—to use S i r Edward Carson's words— the "glorious e d i f i c e of a world 79 wide economic Empire," occupied i n Chamberlain's plan and i n the objectives of the T a r i f f Reform League, i t remains a fact that almost from the moment that Chamberlain began his 75. Apparently a paraphrase of some of his correspondence by Gardiner, A. G., The L i f e of S i r William Harcourt. op. c i t . , p . 555. 76. The Annual Register, 1903, p. 209. 77. I b i d . , p. 213. 78. Crewe, op. c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 578. 79. Sited i n Marjoribanks, op. c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 354. 235 great campaign i n October, 1903 there was a steady tendency on the part both of the T a r i f f Reformers and t h e i r opponents to debate the issue less and less, on Imperial l i n e s , and increasingly as an extension of the old Protection vs Free'Trade argument. This was probably in e v i t a b l e . . Protec-t i o n was at the heart of Chamberlain's proposals; i t was fundamental to the whole concept. Furthermore, I t soon became apparent that any economic change of the size proposed by Chamberlain had to be j u s t i f i e d to the voting public on 'nat-i o n a l l i n e s . ' The B r i t i s h working man, i n other words, was more concerned with the present and future l e v e l of his standard of l i v i n g than he was with Imperial consolidation. This Chamberlain soon r e a l i z e d ; he was quite convinced that i n the long run T a r i f f Reform would be of great material benefit to every Briton. But the point i s , that i n attempting to prove i t he and his associates had to concentrate on Pro-t e c t i o n i s t arguments. There was another explanation for t h i s d r i f t . Most L i b e r a l s — f r o m the beginning of the dispute chose to ignore the Imperial side of T a r i f f Reform. They fought i t as sheer Protection—destined to r u i n the country and-to revive the horrors of the 'Hungry For t i e s . ' What was more, on t h i s basis they began to win by-elections. Was i t any -wonder, therefore., that as time went on less and less was heard from the T a r i f f Reformer about the P r e f e r e n t i a l side of his programme and the duty on food which i t involved. An interesting i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s change i n the 236 T a r i f f Reform campaign appeared i n 1905. I t arose out of a meeting between S i r William Muloek, Joseph Chamberlain and W.A.S. Hewins on July 21. Mulock informed the other two that Canada.was about to revise her t a r i f f , that a T a r i f f Commis-sion had been set up to gather evidence on which the changes . . i would be based, and that ( i n Hewins' words): ...Canadian Ministers, before making t h e i r recommendations should be informed as to the l i n e s upon which Chamberlain's p o l i c y from the B r i t i s h point of view would work out. 80 As a r e s u l t Chamberlain decided (with the approval of the Canadian Government) to send Hewins to Ottawa to determine exactly what the Canadian Government would offer i n return for T a r i f f Reform i n operation, and to determine i f the Food Duties were needed after a l l . Hewins went, accompanied by the Hon. Vere Brabazon Ponsonby ( l a t e r the E a r l of Bessbo-rough), and had numerous meetings with Laurier, F i e l d i n g and leaders of the Canadian business world. He eventually re-ported to Chamberlain (1) that the Canadian offer of Mutual Preference was quite genuine, (2) that Laurier and F i e l d i n g were emphatic i n t h e i r plea that the B r i t i s h proposal to grant a preference on wheat be retained, (3) that Canada had not a c a r e f u l idea of the concessions which she would l i k e from B r i t a i n , (4) that the Laurier government was prepared to admit B r i t i s h goods not produced i n Canada free, or else over a low revenue t a r i f f , and that i n the ease of other goods, was prepared to examine each case on i t s merits to make the 80. Hewins, op. c i t . , p. 111. competition between the Canadian and B r i t i s h produced a r t i c l e s as f a i r as possible. 811 Chamberlain, who apparently had hoped to see Hewins e n l i s t Laurier wholeheartedly i n his campaign, was disappointed with t h i s report. Hewins found him depressed when he, Hewins, returned to England just before the Jan-uary, 1905 -election. "He had taken up the question," Hewins describes Chamberlain as saying, "because they had asked for preference and he thought Laurier ought to back him up strong l y . He considered the results of the negotiations rather vague, and hoped the Canadian Government would make an option 82 a l t a r i f f which we could accept or refuse." Chamberlain's s p i r i t s rose when he was assured that his outlook was unneces s a r i l y gloomy—yet i t i s noteworthy that he placed only secondary emphasis on his Imperial p o l i c y i n his remaining 83 campaign addresses. After the great Unionist defeat i n the January 1906 el e c t i o n the tendency i n T a r i f f Reform c i r c l e s to 'play down' the Imperial phase of the programme increased noticeably. 81. Hewins correctly noted: "... i t i s impossible not to see that the rapid changes taking place i n Canadian business must make i t more d i f f i c u l t with the lapse of time to select suitable commodities for preference." Hewins, op. c i t . , p. 151. 82. I b i d , p. 153. 83. I b i d , p. 157. 238 I t was evident, for instance, i n the f i r s t debate which the new parliament had on the subject of f i s c a l reform on March 84 12 and 13. I t was equally evident at the end of the year when J.L.Garvin was reviewing the future of T a r i f f Reform 85 i n the National Review. Nevertheless, i t was s t i l l a very important item i n T a r i f f Reform p o l i c y . Chamberlain, again convinced of the necessity of the Food Duties, championed the whole programme vigorously during the f i r s t s i x months of the year, and sought to bury the L i t t l e Englander with Free Trade i n the l a s t public speech which he delivered on July 9, 1906. But his i l l n e s s followed soon thereafter, and was, of course, a tremendous blow to the cause of closer commercial union within the Empire. As has been seen, even Chamberlain had an imperfect grasp of the highly involved Imperial prob-lem. Neither' of his successors i n the T a r i f f Reform high command—his son Austen, and Andrew Bonar-Law—were to have even his knowledge or perspicacity when dealing with the Empire. Balfour, Hewins declares, was the only Conservative leader after Chamberlain's retirement who r e a l l y appreciated 86 the magnitude of questions affecting the whole Empire. .Only i n February of 1906 i n the Valentine l e t t e r s , however, had Balfour closely associated himself with the T a r i f f Reform 84. On S i r James Kitson's motion. Hansard, (4th Ser.). March 12, 1906, v o l . 153, c o l . 949. 85. Garvin, J.L., "Future of T a r i f f Reform," The National  Review, December 1906, v o l . 48, pp. 613-631. 86. Hewins, op. c i t . , p. 281. t 239 movement i n i t s d e t a i l s , and, although he and Chamberlain were colleagues f o r years, they had never been intimate personally. Balfour thus had much to learn before he had mastered the ramifications of Preference on an Empire-wide basis I t was against t h i s background that the T a r i f f Reformers watched the making of preparations for the 1907 Imperial Conference--the gathering at which they had so hoped Chamberlain would preside. Their chagrin at being on the outside was only heightened by the knowledge that Preference was ' i n the a i r . ' A u s t r a l i a and New Zealand had recently been engaged i n re c i p r o c i t y negotiations, and Canada had just adopted her new t a r i f f — w i t h General, Intermediate and B r i t i s h P r e f e r e n t i a l l e v e l s . I t was obvious to those ' i n the know,' furthermore, that the Colonies had trade t r e a t i e s i n the offi n g which would have the same effect as the recent Canadi-an t a r i f f change—namely, a general dimunition of the Prefer-ence formerly granted to B r i t i s h goods. The T a r i f f Reformers were thus as convinced that action by B r i t a i n was as impera-t i v e as they knew i t was impossible—with a L i b e r a l govern-ment i n o f f i c e . They were determined to make use of the gathering i n l o c a l party warfare, and sought to do so i n various ways. The Unionist Press was p a r t i c u l a r l y b i t t e r about the oppor-t u n i t i e s which i t f e l t the B r i t i s h Government was missing; 240 indeed, some of the more extreme T a r i f f Reform journals went so far as to hint sensationally that the Colonial Prime Min-i s t e r s might have a Colonial Conference of t h e i r own to l e t the people of B r i t a i n know what the Overseas Empire thought 87 of the Home Government. When the Conference ended these same extremist papers played i t up as a f a i l u r e , and questioned the s i n c e r i t y and accuracy of those issuing the o f f i c i a l precis. This l a s t cry ceased when a f u l l report on the pro-ceedings was published on June 5. The T a r i f f Reformers were delighted8§o f i n d that almost a l l of the v i s i t i n g Prime Ministers were keen on Pref-erence, and that some were prepared to campaign outside the Conference for i t . Laurier, who led the Canadian delegation, was much too astute to follow t h i s p o l i c y . On A p r i l 19, 1907 he spoke at the Imperial Industries Club i n London explaining Canada's P r e f e r e n t i a l t a r i f f and her willingness to go further with it—matching concession for concession. But he also made i t clear that B r i t i s h policy was a matter for B r i t a i n to de-cide; he refused to i n t e r f e r e . Deakin of A u s t r a l i a , Jameson of the Cape and Moor of Natal, however, were prepared to go much farther, and both before and a f t e r the Conference—at which the B r i t i s h Government refused to consider any measure of f i s c a l change—they stumped London i n the cause of Prefer-ence. Deakin especially was displeased with the attitude of 87. The Annual Register. 1907, pp. 90-91. 88. Hewins was an exception. Hewins, op. c i t . , p. 217. — i n that he doubted the wisdom of those Premiers who stumped London for T a r i f f Reform. 241 E l g i n (the Colonial Secretary), Asquith and Laurier, and with the semi-secrecy imposed on the Conference. He was hand-in-89 glove with the T a r i f f Reformers and encouraged them greatly. The L i b e r a l Government i n B r i t a i n was, of course, none too pleased by these t a c t i c s . The efforts which Chamb-erlai n ' s T a r i f f Commission made to provide a l l Colonial dele-gates with memoranda on almost every economic issue raised-, during the proceedings, the huge r a l l y which the T a r i f f Reform-ers staged on A p r i l 25 to focus public attention on the oppor-tunity of the Conference to i n i t i a t e P r e f e r e n t i a l negotia-tions, and even the extra-sessional a c t i v i t i e s of the v i s i t o r s were i r r i t a t i n g to i t , but l i t t l e more. The claims of the c r i t i c a l Unionist journals, however, angered i t , and eventu-a l l y evoked a notable reply on May 18 from the Under-Secretary for the Colonies. Winston C h u r c h i l l denounced what he cal l e d the 'pothouse' Press; he suggested that the Colonial Prime Ministers; as guests of the Home Government, had obligations, as had th e i r hosts, and he boasted that the Government had 90 "banged, barred and bolted the door" against the Imperial taxation of food. This l a t t e r phrase i n p a r t i c u l a r was often thrown up at the Liberals i n succeeding years. 89. Austen Chamberlain wrote to his step-mother on May 9, 1907: "...a meeting has been arranged for Deakin at the B a l t i c , which gives him a good non-party platform. The Chairman happens to be a good T a r i f f Reformer." Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 84. 90. The Times. May 20, 1907, p. 10. 242 The years 1907-8-9 were a period of great T a r i f f Reform a c t i v i t y , and :'of r i s i n g approval for T a r i f f Reform 91 amongst the populace. While t h i s was undoubtedly true, the steady transformation of Chamberlain's programme continued, and by the end of 1908 Chamberlain was commenting sadly to Hewins on 11 ...the neglect of the Empire i n T a r i f f Reform 92 speeches." To t h i s generalization, of course, there were ex-ceptions, and, on occasions, i t was reversed. Milner's adherence to the ranks of the T a r i f f Reformers i n 1907 was a case i n point, for while he accepted the whole programme, he placed p a r t i c u l a r stress on i t s role as a bond of Empire, and 93 championed i t energetically thereafter. Indeed, t h i s a t t i -tude was f a r more prevalent i n the Lords, where Imperial aspects of the problem were much more frequently raised and 94 sanely debated than i n the Commons. There were other out-spoken champions of the P r e f e r e n t i a l cause. One, Norman Chamberlain, published a p a r t i c u l a r l y f o r c e f u l a r t i c l e i n the National Review of June 1908 on "The New Imperialism and the Old Parties" i n which he argued: "... i t i s the f i g h t for T a r i f f Reform which w i l l decide the fate of B r i t i s h Imperial-95 ism, at any rate for many years." Equally enthusiastic were 91. Chapter I I I , pp. 92. Hewins, p. 227. 93. e.g. i n speeches on October 24, 1907 and June 26, 1908. Milner, Lord, The Nation and the Empire, London, Constable and Company, Ltd., 1913, pp. 204-5, 300. 94. e.g. Hansard. (4th Ser.) House of Lords, May 20, 1908, v o l . 189, c o l . 211. 95. Chamberlain, N.,"The New Imperialism and the Old Parties," The National Review. June, 1908, v o l . 51, p. 653. 243 the newly organized Confederates, who saw themselves at t h i s time as "...a "body that places Imperialism before everything 96 else and i s determined that nothing s h a l l come before i t . " Other factors which tended for a time to re-assert the Imperial side of T a r i f f Reform were the result of over-seas developments. One was the recommendation i n 1909 by a B r i t i s h Royal Commission headed by Lord Balfour of Burleigh favouring the inauguration of P r e f e r e n t i a l trade between the West Indies and Canada. This suggestion attracted much attention i n Unionist c i r c l e s , where i t was regarded as a great v i n d i c a t i o n of t h e i r policy. Another and more import-ant development was the projected extension i n 1909 of the -new Canadian commercial treaty programme—especially i n the di r e c t i o n of rec i p r o c i t y , v i s - a - v i s the United States. As early as February, 1909 Milner was alarmed at this proposal, and was urging Balfour to warn the public of the dangers inherent i n i t . Hewins, to whom the suggestion was relayed, advised against any such move, and noted i n his diary: "I think Milner i s doing harm by the l i n e he i s taking, and i t 97 would be disastrous i f Balfour imitated him." At the time, Balfour wisely remained s i l e n t . A year l a t e r , as the Canadian-American negotiations proceeded, interest i n them mounted considerably amongst the 96. A Confederate, "The Confederacy," The National Review. January, 1909, v o l . 52, p. 744. 97. Hewins, op. c i t . , p . 245. 244 T a r i f f Reformers—even though the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l and f i n a n c i a l issues raised over the Lords and the Budget were a powerful d i s t r a c t i o n . On Hewins' evidence "... i t was extremely d i f -f i c u l t to keep the Conservative party s o l i d on an Imperial policy i n so far as i t concerned the steps w h i c h — i n the 98 spring of 1910 would have to be taken i n t h i s country." The T a r i f f Commission reflected the r i s i n g i n t e r e s t i n Reciprocity i n May of 1910 by publishing a memorandum on Pre f e r e n t i a l p o l i c y , the course of Canadian trade under i t , and the Canadian t a r i f f arrangements with France, Germany 99 and the United States. The Standard of Empire—a strongly T a r i f f Reform paper which took a very sane view of Canadian trade policy—drew from t h i s memorandum the moral "...that 100 preferences which are not reciprocated cannot endure." I t also approved Canada's action, although i t s comment was t y p i c a l of T a r i f f Reform sentiment: "From the point of view of the Mother Country our congratulations are tempered with 101 some regrets." Much less moderate and considered was the view of that organ of T a r i f f Reform i n extremis. the Morning Post, for i t went so far as to describe the action of the 102 Canadians as treasonable. 98. Hewins, op. c i t . . p.254. 99. The Times. May 7, 1910, p. 10. 100. The Standard of Empire. May 20, 1910, p. 3. 101 The Standard of Empire. A p r i l 1, 1910, p. 3. 102. The Annual Register, 1910, p. 205. 245 As the drafting of the Reciprocity Agreement drew to a close i n January, 1911, the discomfiture i n T a r i f f Reform ranks—already heightened by the adoption of the Referendum and the two e l e c t o r a l defeats—was increased considerably. Those who s t i l l adhered to the complete T a r i f f Reform pro-gramme f e l t that the implementation of Reciprocity would be a serious blow to t h e i r cause. In the words of the Annual  Register, "...the Imperialists expressed the gloomiest appre-hensions of i t s possible effects i n drawing the two countries together to the detriment of Anglo-Canadian trade and the 103 Imperial connection." They were thus happy to see Balfour enter the l i s t s on t h e i r behalf. On February 6, 1911 at the Constitutional Club the Unionist leader referred d i r e c t l y to the Reciprocity Agreement. "The f a u l t does not l i e with Canadians," he argued, " i t l i e s at Westminster. I t l i e s with a party who 103a have consistently refused to l i s t e n . . . . " From t h i s p o s i -t i o n he went on to "... the verge of taking a side i n Canad-104 ian p o l i t i c s . " Other Unionists went even further at t h i s time, "...notably Mr. Justice Grantham and Mr. Joseph Chamb-105 e r l a i n . " 103. The Annual Register. 1910, p. 205. 103a. The Times. February 7, 1911, p. 15. 104. The Annual Register, 1911, p. 18. 105. Loc. c i t . 246 Garvin, though i n a sense the progenitor of the Referendum, nevertheless remained keen on T a r i f f Reform, and followed the Reciprocity negotiations c a r e f u l l y . He regret-ted the e a r l i e r loss of glorious opportunities, but rejoiced that Canada had kept the B r i t i s h P r e f e r e n t i a l p r i n c i p l e i n spite of American pressure. He admitted frankly i n the March, 1911 issue of the Fortnightly Review that "...the 'food-duties' as Mr. Chamberlain o r i g i n a l l y proposed them, may 106 or may not be practicable." But he was s t i l l I mperialist and P r o t e c t i o n i s t enough to argue: I f Imperial preference i s to be permanently harmonized with American r e c i p r o c i t y the Mother Country w i l l have to do her part by emancipating herself from f i s c a l impotence and adopting a t a r i f f p o l i c y even wider and stronger than Mr. Chamberlain's own. 107 Mr. Bryce, the B r i t i s h Ambassador at Washington, was a noted opponent of T a r i f f Reform at home. This caused considerable dismay to the supporters of the Chamberlain programme, and they suspected him of a l l sorts of M a c h i a v e l -l i a n t a c t i c s , and attacked him so strongly i n and out of 107a parliament that the B r i t i s h Government issued a Parliamen-tary Paper on the Negotiations on Miarch8, 1911. The paper showed that the i n i t i a t i v e had come from President Taft i n Washington, not from Bryce, that the Ambassador had kept Imperial interests before the Canadians, and that he thought 106. Garvin, J.L., "Imperial Union and American Reciprocity," The Fortnightly Review. March, 1911, v o l . 89, p. 404. 107. a. e.g. i n the Lords on March 6, i n the Commons on March8. £47 "...the Agreement would aff e c t B r i t i s h trade but l i t t l e and 108 the p o l i t i c a l independence of Canada not at a l l . " This f a i l e d to s a t i s f y the T a r i f f Reformers of course, and they continued t h e i r personal attacks on B r y c e — e s p e c i a l l y i n the 109 House of