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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 F u l f i l m e n t of the Requirements f o r the Degree of MASTER  OF ARTS  i n the Department of HISTORY  The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver, Canada April,  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 B r i t a i n are i n s e p a r a b l e .  Free Trade had  the dominant p o l i t i c o - e c o n o m i c  theory  c l o s i n g years of the nineteenth t o B r i t a i n ' s i n d u s t r i a l and the United  the T a r i f f Reform Movement i n Great triumphed i n 1846  and  remained  i n the U n i t e d Kingdom u n t i l  century.  A f t e r 1870  serious  the  challenges  commercial supremacy came from Germany and  States. Attempts at T a r i f f Reform were made i n the e a r l y 1880's by  Lord Randolph C h u r c h i l l and Chamberlain was  others, but they came to n o t h i n g .  at t h i s p e r i o d a r a d i c a l reformer, but  a L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t i n o p p o s i t i o n t o Home R u l e . Reformer.  I n 1895  and a l s o an ardent  still  By 1902  not yet a T a r i f f Colonies,  Imperialist.  Trader  Although s t i l l nominally The  a Free  Unionist  party,  s t a u n c h l y Free Trade i n sentiment. the combined i s s u e s of p r o t e c t i o n and i m p e r i a l p r e f e r The  Education  sponsored by Lord S a l i s b u r y ' s government, was U n i o n i s t s were l o o k i n g f o r a new  issue.  Arthur B a l f o u r became Prime M i n i s t e r . now  he became  Chamberlain became S e c r e t a r y of S t a t e f o r the  ence were r a i s e d i n Parliament.  O f f i c e , was  i n 1886  He was  he began to i n t e r e s t h i m s e l f i n i m p e r i a l p r e f e r e n c e . however, was  Joseph  Bill  of- t h a t year, •  most unpopular and  the  Lord S a l i s b u r y r e t i r e d ,  and  Chamberlain, s t i l l a t . t h e C o l o n i a l  v e e r i n g 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 h i s views on t h i s a l l important subject.  In 1903  he launched h i s T a r i f f Reform campaign and  from the c a b i n e t .  A rift  i n the U n i o n i s t ranks soon became apparent.  Even the Prime M i n i s t e r was From 1904 Reform.  He was  to 1906  resigned  unable t o h e a l the  breach.  Chamberlain campaigned hard f o r T a r i f f  s u c c e s s f u l i n c a p t u r i n g the L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t  "machine"  -  2  -  and also obtained a strong f o l l o w i n g among the Conservative U n i o n i s t s . But the L i b e r a l party, h i t h e r t o s p l i t , closed ranks on the Free Trade i s s u e , and secured the support of Labour.  Balfour attempted, unsuccess-  f u l l y , t o hold the various sections of the Unionist party together, at l e n g t h he tendered h i s r e s i g n a t i o n on December 4, 1905.  The  but,  Liberals,  under Campbell-Bannerman were triumphantly returned t o power i n January 1906.  In the same year Joseph Chamberlain s u f f e r e d a stroke  and was never, t h e r e a f t e r , able p u b l i c l y t o lead the T a r i f f Reform campaign. The campaign, however, continued w i t h varying  success.  B a l f o u r , as u s u a l , 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 t u r n i n g 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 i s s u e was s i d e t r a c k e d . of Free Trade. i n 1911.  The 1910 e l e c t i o n s showed the strength  Balfour was forced to r e s i g n as Leader of the  Opposition  Bonar Lav/, the new leader, was not e n t h u s i a s t i c over T a r i f f  Reform and d i d 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 witnessed not only the .outbreak of the F i r s t World War,  1914  but the death  of Joseph Chamberlain. Chamberlain had accomplished much w i t h h i s 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 e a r l y 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 I II  Page An I n t r o d u c t i o n - to 1895 T a r i f f Reform and the U n i o n i s t Party, 1895 - 1906  III  202  T a r i f f Reform and Industry, Labour and A g r i c u l t u r e , 1895 - 1914  VII  170  T a r i f f Reform and Imperialism, 1895 - 1914  VI  I l l  T a r i f f Reform and the U n i o n i s t P a r t y , 1911 - 1914  V  42  T a r i f f Reform and the U n i o n i s t P a r t y , 1906 - 1910  IV  1  Conclusion Bibliography  . . .  . 257 297 304  ACKNOWLEDGMENT  This study was designed to supplement Benjamin H . Brown s "The 1  T a r i f f Reform Movement i n Great B r i t a i n 1881 - 1895, (New York, Columbia U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1943).  With the exception  of the a d d i t i o n of a rather lengthy i n t r o d u c t o r y chapter, the same general arrangement of m a t e r i a l has been f o l l o w e d .  1  CHAPTER 1.  An Introductory Survey to 1895  "In every country i t always i s and must be the i n 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 h i s t o r y of modern i n d u s t r i a l B r i t a i n have e x c i t e d more a c t i v e 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 d i s c u s s i o n preceded r a d i c a l change, and i n both the unexpected or chance development played a not i n c o n s i d e r a b l e role.  I n 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 c h i e f a c t o r s . " 1. Smith, Adam, An Inquiry i n t o the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, London, W. Strahan & F. C a d e l l . 1784, Book IV, p. 244. 2. Wight, M a r t i n , Power P o l i t i c s , London, Royal I n s t i t u t e of I n t e r n a t i o n a l 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 o f the popular a g i t a t i o n which l e d to the events of 1846 was the extent t o 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 l e a d i n g 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 w r i t i n g s of David Hume  i n England, and Turgot, Ques-  nay and the P h y s i o c r a t i c School i n France.  They were d e v e l -  oped and expanded a quarter century l a t e r by the celebrated genius o f Adam Smith, who a s s a i l e d the way i n which f o r c e n t u r i e s "Each n a t i o n has been made t o look w i t h an i n v i d ious eye upon the p r o s p e r i t y o f a l l the nations w i t h which 4 i t t r a d e s , and to consider t h e i r g a i n as i t s own l o s s , " and who put forward instead the r e v o l u t i o n a r y concept of the d i v i s i o n o f labour on an i n t e r n a t i o n a l s c a l e .  Smith's  heresy soon became o r t h o d o x y — a s i t found widespread acceptance amongst those t h i n k i n g along economic For red  lines.  a short w h i l e i n the 1780';s, indeed, i t appea-  that theory might almost immediately be converted i n t o  p r a c t i c e , as P i t t reduced the tea d u t i e s , consolidated the various sections of the Customs and Excise Departments, and negotiated h i s famous t r e a t y w i t h 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 h i s successors to so completely reverse t h i s p o l i c y , to r a i s e and m u l t i p l y revenue t a r i f f s and excise d u t i e s on a v a s t s c a l e , that the year 1815 found B r i t a i n w i t h an economy f a r more r i g i d l y protected and c o n t r o l l e d 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 essentially agricultural,  and r u r a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n 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 v i c t o r y — n a m e l y the passage of the famous Corn Law B i l l . Designed to ease the s u f f e r i n g i n farming areas which had f o l l o w e d a d r a s t i c c o l l a p s e i n the p r i c e of 6 g r a i n , t h i s measure banned the i m p o r t a t i o n of a l l corn, f l o u r and meal u n t i l the domestic p r i c e of wheat had reached 80s. a quarter, allowed i t f r e e entry t h e r e a f t e r and extended 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 f i g u r e s f o r 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 f o r 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, ( c i t e d h e r e a f t e r as Hansard) ( F i r s t S e r i e s ) , V o l . XXIX, February 17, 1815, c o l . 833. 6. Page, W., ed., Commerce and Industry, London, Constable and Company, 1919, V o l . 1, p. 22. 7. Hansard, (1st S e r i e s ) , XXIX, February 17, 1815, c. 807.  4  economic panacea.  8  They were remarkable a l s o f o r the extent  to which they aroused p u b l i c i n t e r e s t , eventually r e s u l t i n g i n a f l o o d of p e t i t i o n s demanding r e p e a l 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 s i g n i f i c a n c e of t h i s o p p o s i t i o n to the Corn Law B i l l can h a r d l y be overemphasized, f o r i t marks one of the f i r s t steps i n the process of making the t a x a t i o n of food a predominant question, as i t was f o r over a century, whenever B r i t a i n ' s f i s c a l p o s i t i o n was s e r i o u s l y considered. I t was not u n t i l the e a r l y days of the r e i g n 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 m i n i s t e r , Lord 10 L i v e r p o o l , was himself a convinced Free Trader, and h i s c h i e f l i e u t e n a n t s , 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 r e i g n open-  ed, p e t i t i o n s c a l l i n g f o r a d r a s t i c r e d u c t i o n 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 capi t a l c i t y i t s e l f — d r a w n up by Thomas  .Todlce,  and presented to  parliament by Alexander B a r i n g . 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. I b i d . XXX, March 6, 1815, c. 1, 2, 3, 6, 8. 10. Brock, W. R., Lord L i v e r p o o l and L i b e r a l Toryism. 18201827, Cambridge, At the U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1941, p. 189. 11. eg. Hansard (New S e r i e s ) , 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 e x i s t i n g r e s t r i c t i o n s 12 on trade, and of a l l monopolies." Swift action followed, e s p e c i a l l y during the years 1822-1825 w i t h Robinson a t the Exchequer and Huskisson a t the Board of Trade.  The budget  of 1824, f o r i n s t a n c e , "... the f i r s t to contain proposals of 13 avowed f r e e trade...."  used a surplus to reduce some t a r -  i f f s and e l i m i n a t e some bounties.  In"the f o l l o w i n g year, the  whole customs system was overhauled; great c o n s o l i d a t i o n was 14 e f f e c t e d as a new s t a t u t e e a r l i e r laws.  replaced some three hundred  The 1825 budget went f u r t h e r , reduced the t a r -  i f f on a l a r g e number .of items, and set the maximum l e v e l of the p r o t e c t i v e d u t i e s on f o r e i g n manufactures a t t h i r t y per cent. Meanwhile, i n 1822, Robinson and Wallace had produced the f i r s t great r e l a x a t i o n 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 s t a t u t e of 15 1823  ;  which o f f e r e d complete e q u a l i t y of treatment i n the  B r i t i s h import-export trade to the ships of those nations p r o v i d i n g r e c i p r o c a l concessions.  At the same time, the 16  trade of the c o l o n i e s was almost e n t i r e l y f r e e d . Indeed, 12. Page, op. cit-. . p . 56. 13. c i t : was p. 193. t h i s Brock, l i b e r a lOJJ. trend challenged a t the time i n one d i r e c 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 A c t s , " E n g l i s h H i s t o r i c a l Review, v o l . 15 ( J u l y and October, 1910), pp. 480-501, p. 483.  6  t i o n o n l y , when Parliament refused to accept a f i x e d duty on imported corn (as recommended by Huskisson and P e e l ) , and adopted instead a s l i d i n g s c a l e . 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 November 1825 and the succeeding depression (as i t was to be both accelerated and delayed a f t e r s i m i l a r developments i n the f u t u r e ) .  Indeed, while parliamentary a t t e n t i o n during  the next f i f t e e n years was centered on the more p r e s s i n g 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 , comparat 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 o b j e c t i o n to i n terference (ie.on the p a r t of the s t a t e 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 a p p l i c a t i o n of such an a b s t r a c t 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 r e s e r v a t i o n s i n such a v e i n ; f o r example, h i s p r e f 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 n e c e s s i t y of a duty on imported g r a i n .  I t was not u n t i l a l a t e r and more e n l i g h t -  ened age that economic d o c t r i n e s were regarded as i n f a l l i b l e dogmas. 17. Clapham, J . H., An Economic H i s t o r y of Modern B r i t a i n , Cambridge, At the U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1930, ( c i t e d herea f t e r as Clapham), v o l . 1, p. 335.  7  Two developments i n the 1830's warrant considerat i o n i n t h i s h r i e f survey.  The f i r s t was the p u b l i c a t i o n i n 18  1830 of S i r Henry P a r n e l l ' s "On F i s c a l Reform."  In this  book P a r n e l l c a l l e d f o r an end to a l l p r e f e r e n t i a l and d i s criminatory d u t i e s , a l l l e v i e s on imported raw m a t e r i a l s , and f o r the e l i m i n a t i o n , not only of many excise taxes, but a l s o 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 c o a l and timber.  Even though P a r n e l l was s l i g h t l y ahead of h i s time,  and P o u l e t t 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, h i s arguments had a t e l l i n g e f f e c t 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 a s s a u l t on the Corn Laws.  As  e a r l y as 1836 an Anti-Corn Law A s s o c i a t i o n had been formed i n London under the domination of such parliamentary r a d i c a l s as Molesworth, Hume and Roebuck, but a dearth of p r a c t i c a l o r g a n i z a t i o n soon wrecked i t , and a number of i t s successors.  I t was not u n t i l October of 1838 that the founda-  t i o n s of the famous Anti-Corn Law League were l a i d i n Manchester, and the way was prepared f o r those  propagandist  'g-enius.es, Cobden and B r i g h t . At l e a s t 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 p r o t e c t i o n i n general should be noted. Perhaps the f i r s t and most important 18. Clapham, op_. c i t . . v o l . 1, pp. 495-6.  was  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  d i s t r e s s of the "Hungry F o r t i e s " to the general system 19  of p r o t e c t i o n , p r i v i l e g e and r e a c t i o n average Englishman.  i n the mind of the  A second, was the extent to which the  f i n a l or d e c i s i v e 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 a t l e a s t open to doubt  whether Peel would have adopted completely h i s f i n a l approach to imported g r a i n had not the; s i t u a t i o n required urgent and drastic action.  The m a t e r i a l p r o s p e r i t y of the n a t i o n was  to play a s i m i l a r l y key r o l e 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 p r i c e s and wages.  I t had been i n f e r r e d 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 r e s u l t of appeal there could be expected a d e c l i n e i n p r i c e s (and consequently, i n wages).  Undoubtedly, a considerable  p o r t i o n of the openly displayed mill-owning support to the League was based on j u s t such an assumption; Cobden h i m s e l f • 20 recognized the owners' "pecuniary i n t e r e s t s , " but he and 21 B r i g h t s t o u t l y denied t h i s c l a i m ,  and argued instead  that w i t h the r e s u l t i n g expansion i n trade j u s t 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, F i s h e r Unwin L t d . , (1879) 1920, p. 13. 20. Morley," op. c i t . p. 663. 21. I b i d . ; p. 320;  9 B r i g h t , "your wages must d e c l i n e . 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 o f  arguments such as t h i s , of course, that the League won over not only the urban workingman, but, remarkably, a l a r g e sect i o n of the r u r a l population.  N a t u r a l l y , other approaches as  w e l l were made to the tenant farmer and a g r i c u l t u r a l labourer.  Cobden, f o r i n s t a n c e , saw the shortage o f 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 r a p i d easing of t h i s d i f f i c u l t y a f t e r r e p e a l . Both Cobden and B r i g h t made l i b e r a l use o f the i n i q u i t i e s o f the Game Laws.  This two-fold approach to the country as w e l l as to  the c i t y must a l s o be remembered—for i t had a rather p a r a l l e l i n the Land Reform schemes o f both major p a r t i e s i n the years 1906-1913. A f u r t h e r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f 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 i n f l u e n c i n g p u b l i c o p i n i o n , and gave evidence o f very considerable f i n a n c i a l resources.  I n many  respects the T a r i f f Reform campaign of t h i s century was based on the breadth and magnitude o f 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 t o which Cobden and B r i g h t aroused, beyond pure s e l f i n t e r e s t , an a p p r e c i a t i o n of moral values. Both men foresaw a new 22. Trevelyan, S . M., The L i f e of John B r i g h t . 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 t r u t h 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 i d e a l i s m and i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s m of  Cobden, p a r t i c u l a r l y , made a strong impression upon the nati o n a l conscience.  S i x t y years l a t e r i t was s t i l l a not i n -  considerable f a c t o r i n B r i t i s h p o l i t i c a l  life.  P a r a l l e l i n g the a s s a u l t on the Corn Laws was a s e r i e s o f bold moves made against the general p r o t e c t i v e system.by Parliament i t s e l f .  A Parliamentary Committee s e t  up i n 1840 l e d o f f by sharply a t t a c k i n g the complexity o f the t a r i f f , the high and p r o t e c t i v e d u t i e s , and the p r i n c i 25 p i e of d i s c r i m i n a t i o n i n favour of the c o l o n i e s .  Peel's  Government r e f l e c t e d these views i n a s e r i e s of outstanding budgets i n the years 1842, 1844, and e s p e c i a l l y i n 1845, when 430 out of 813 items on the t a r i f f l i s t were completely freed. P r o t e c t i o n i t s e l f as a p o l i c y completely disappeared between the years 1846 and 1849, when the Whigs under Lord John R u s s e l l continued Peel's w o r k — f o r example,'by ex- 26 24. Hobson, J . A., Richard Cobden. n t e rc no la ot ni io en sa,l Man, tending complete commercial freedom The to Ithe and, London, F. F i s h e r Unwin L t d . , 1919, p. 39. 25. Page, op., c i t . , pp. 88. 26. August 28, 1846. By a s t a t u t e 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 A c t s . As a p r a c t i c e , however, i t was to continue on an i n c r e a s i n g l y modest scale f o r another twenty years.  Some doubts  e x i s t e d f o r 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 p a r t y , but they were set at r e s t when Derby and D i s r a e l i made no move to r e s c i n d 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 c l e a r that he no longer subscribed to h i s 1846 views,  and  sought to remove any p r o t e c t i o n i s t tinge from h i s party's platform.  "The  s p i r i t of the age tends to f r e e i n t e r c o u r s e , "  he declared i n the party's e l e c t i o n manifesto, "and  no  statesman can regard w i t h 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 P e e l : f i r s t , i n h i s 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 p r o t e c t i v e or d i f f e r e n t i a l d u t i e s , unless we apply t h a t 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 p r o t e c t i v e and d i f f e r e n t i a l . d u t i e s , 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 f o r e i g n producer. You w i l l have a great extension and increase of trade,.... 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. t;  12  The p r o s p e r i t y of the e a r l y ' s i x t i e s enabled him to go  still  f a r t h e r i n reducing or a b o l i s h i n g a number of the revenue tariffs.  The l e v y 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 o b v i -  ously f e l t that he had sealed the tomb of P r o t e c t i o n f o r e v e r when, i n d e s c r i b i n g t h i s l e v y 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 o d i o u s — t h a t i s , i t i s a duty on an a r t i c l e that i s produced i n England w i t h no c o u n t e r v a i l i n g Excise duty 29 upon i t ; I t i s therefore e f f e c t i v e as a p r o t e c t i v e duty.... " L i t t l e d i d he r e a l i z e as he thus expressed the o f f i c i a l Free Trade p o s i t i o n 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,  f o r B r i t a i n , a period of unparalled p r o s p e r i t y i n a g r i c u l t u r e , industry and commerce.  There were i n t e r r u p t i o n s i n the  trend, of course, but i t can be s a f e l y s a i d that i n t h i s period B r i t a i n ' s economy s u f f e r e d "...no r e a l l y serious s e t back; and even the years of the cotton famine i n Lancashire were a time of p r o s p e r i t y over the greater part of the 50 country."  Her exports, f o r i n s t a n c e , 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 L i m i t e d , 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 f o r t y per cent r i s e i n the general p r i c e l e v e l . Her imports 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 i n t e r e s t on overseas  investments, and returns from such s e r v i c e s as shipping and insurance, more than made up the i n c r e a s i n g l y adverse b a l ance o f trade.  The N a t i o n a l Debt was lower i n 1875 than i t  had been i n 1850; during the same p e r i o d , the income t a x 34 was cut from 7d. to 2d. i n the pound.  I t was a g r a t e f u l  land which had r a i s e d £75—£80,000 as a N a t i o n a l T e s t i m o n i a l and presented i t to Gobden a f t 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, t h e r e f o r e , that the commercial p o l i c y which ushered i n t h i s E r a should have become so c l o s e l y associated w i t h i t that l a r g e 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 n a t i o n a l 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. S l a t e r , G i l b e r t , The Growth of Modern England. London, Constable .& Co., L t d . , 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 s t i m u l a t i n g e f f e c t of improvements i n trans p o r t a t i o n , the marked increase i n the gold supply, B r i t a i n ' s vast l e a d i n the i n d u s t r i a l process, and the great world36 wide advance i n p r o d u c t i v i t y — h a d c o n t r i b u t e d m i g h t i l y to the new p r o s p e r i t y . The unanimity w i t h which the n a t i o n accepted Free Trade was remarkable.  Perhaps John Stuart M i l l , the econo-  mist of the age, r a t h e r overstated the case when he named Mr. H. C. Carey, an American, as the "...only w r i t e r of any r e p u t a t i o n as a p o l i t i c a l economist, who now adheres to the 37 Protectionist d o c t r i n e — . , "  but there was general agre-  ement i n England w i t h h i s r e j o i c i n g that few laws of a pro38 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 pract 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 c o n v i c t i o n . " Comparatively few remained a g g r e s s i v e l y P r o t e c t i o 40 n36. i s t Cole, — l i k e op_. the c Tory C. N. Newdegate and A. S. i t . . M. p. P's. 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, H i l l ,TheandC o llandlords l i k e (1848) the Duke of vRutland. Prince o n i a l Press, 1900, o l . 2, p. The 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.  Consort remained d o u b t f u l ;  41  and Lord Robert C e c i l ( l a t e r  Lord S a l i s b u r y ) was never more than "... a s c e p t i c a l Free T r a d e r , — a c c e p t i n g the arguments upon which the case of Free Trade was based, but very dubious as to the a c t u a l advantages which i t had!secured.... (He) would never consent to t r e a t f i s c a l questions on e i t h e r side as questions of p r i n c i p l e . "  42  43 D i s r a e l i a l s o regarded Free Trade as an expedient;  but i t was a happy one, and he dismissed p r o t e c t i o n w i t h h i s i  famous phrase, 'dead and dammed.' I t has already been noted that Cobden prophecied both a new day f o r B r i t i s h a g r i c u l t u r e and the world-wide adoption of Free Trade p r i n c i p l e s . see the former p r e d i c t i o n come t r u e .  He c e r t a i n l y l i v e d to In the ' f i f t i e s , the  wheat p r i c e s were almost on the same high l e v e l as those i n the r o a r i n g ' f o r t i e s ; the p r i c e 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 i n d i c e s 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 d i d 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 t e m p o r a r y — t h a t 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 tM ia vret i nl ,i m iSti ronTheodore, the amount e i g nPrince grain Consort. available. 41. L i f of e off o rthe London, Smith, E l d e r & 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 L t d . , 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," J o u r n a l 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  A c t u a l l y , the amount o f wheat imported i n t o B r i t a i n rose q u i t e slowly u n t i l the ' s e v e n t i e s — f r o m 4,850,000 quarters 45 i n 1850 t o 8,611,000 i n 1870.  I t was not u n t i l a f t e r 1870  that g r a i n from abroad began t o inundate the B r i t i s h market, and to d r i v e the home farmer to the verge of r u i n . Cobden's second p r e d i c t i o n , the dream of a Free Trade World never approached r e a l i t y .  Admittedly f o r 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 : H o l l a n d , Switzerland and Portugal had no p r o t e c t i v e b a r r i e r s ; Spain, Russia, A u s t r i a , 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 I I I seemed to be working towards t h i s g o a l .  Napoleon  The Anglo-  French Commercial Treaty of January 25, 1860, which Cobden d i d so much to negotiate, appeared to f u r t h e r the trend. I t was no s u r p r i s e to him, however, that the agreement met 46 strong o p p o s i t i o n i n France, f u r t h e r progress i n that State.  and that Free Trade made no I n 1861 the United States  •adopted the M o r r i l l T a r i f f , which was r a i s e d 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.  I n the next decade France reversed i t s  e a r l i e r stand; Germany l i k e w i s e adopted the h i g h t a r i f f programme advocated t h i r t y years e a r l i e r by F r e d e r i c k 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 S o c i a l H i s t o r y , New York,. F. S. C r o f t s & Co., 1941, p. 356.  17  No encouragement was to be found i n the colonies overseas, where, l e d by Canada, revenue t a r i f f s came to have an i n 48 creasingly protectionist flavour. These, however, were a l l remote considerations to the average Englishman, who, as long as the general prosperi t y continued, seldom i f ever thought of questioning the nation's t r a d i n g p o s i t i o n .  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.  I n 1868 a number of pamphlets  produced c a l l i n g f o r the adoption of a r e t a l i a t o r y  were  tariff  programme—whereby B r i t a i n could f o r c e other states i n t o r e c i p r o c a l Free Trade.  I n the next year appeared the  A s s o c i a t i o n of the 'Revivers' of B r i t i s h Industry, w i t h 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 d e s i r e to t a x imported corn,  and  claimed, as d i d so many of i t s successors, that i t simply wished to use p r o t e c t i o n as a means to c r e a t i n g a Free Trade World, i t f a i l e d to win a f o l l o w i n g , and died w i t h i n a year. A F i s c a l Reform League i n 1870, and a R e c i p r o c i t y Free Trade A s s o c i a t i o n i n 1871 had s i m i l a r l y b r i e f careers, as the business c y c l e once again resumed i t s upward surge. 48. Skelton, 0. D., The L i f e and Times of Andrew Tillo:ch, G a i t , Toronto, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y 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 L i m i t e d , 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 U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1943, p. 6.  18  I t was not u n t i l 1874 that the t i d e of prosperitygave signs of having turned, and the n a t i o n entered on the 51 twenty-one year period i n which p r i c e s , employment moved s t e a d i l y downward.  i n t e r e s t and o f t e n  The e a r l y 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 a v a i l a b l e f o r 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 a g r i c u l t u r e i n which so f a r as we know there was more unemployment than i n any year during the 52 second h a l 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, f o r a "... c e s s a t i o n of party s t r i f e to d r i v e the wolf from the door," and was recommend53 ing "... a voluntary curtailment of the l u x u r i e s of the rich'.' A f t e r 1879 economic c o n d i t i o n s o s c i l l a t e d , w i t h 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 ,  51. when Clapham, op_. c i t . . a vc to ilv.i t3, and the increased y p. of 12. the above years tapered 52. I b i d . , p. 6. Mr. Punch's i s t o again r y of Modern o53. f f i Graves, n 1891, C. theL., downward plunge H was resumed.England, Most London, C a s s e l l and Company, L t d . , 1922, v o l . 3, p. 74. 54. Page, OJJ. c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 73.  19  p r i c e s reached 'rock bottom' i n 1896, and then rebounded r a 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 n a t u r a l that under such circumstances, con56 cern, though o f t e n q u i t e unfounded,  should be f e l t about  the nation's i n t e r n a t i o n a l t r a d i n g 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 s t a t e s i n both home and overseas markets.  Germany's economic pro-  gress had come as no s u r p r i s e , f o r 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 ' n i n e t i e s , Ger57 man exports were the object of concern rather than of alarm. I t was> r a t h e r , the tremendous r i s e i n America's exports of manufactured goods which was "...to most Englishmen s u r p r i s 58 ing...."  and d i s q u i e t e a i n g .  Statesmen, business men, and  p a r t i c u l a r l y men who v/ere both, became i n c r e a s i n g l y aware of v i t a l changes i n world trade as the economic stagnation a t home continued.  Not, however, u n t i l Joseph  Chamberlain  reached the C o l o n i a l O f f i c e were d e t a i l e d steps taken to assess the i m p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s new f a c t o r . I n t e r n a l economic d i s t r e s s produced a much quicker r e a c t i o n i n another d i r e c t i o n .  As e a r l y 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 L i v e r p o o l Free Trader, W i l l i a m Rath55. 56. 57. 58.  Loc". cit..-..:. Clapham, op_. c i t . , v o l . 3,' p. 33. I b i d . . p. 38. 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 i n t o i t s savings." Retrenchment on a n a t i o n a l and i n d i v i d u a l basis was h i s suggested remedy— t a r i f f s were not mentioned.  A much more daring  however, was Lord Bateman, who,  observer,  i n the same month i n a l e t t e r  to The Times, l a i d the blame f o r B r i t a i n ' s economic i l l s 61 squarely at the door of " . . . f r e e imports." This l e t t e r 62 " . . . l e t the floodgates down....," the t o p i c was almost immediately revived i n a host of p u b l i c a t i o n s . " A f t e r 63  1877  p r o t e c t i o n was part of England's t a b l e 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 s o c i e t i e s appeared.  Such c i t i e s as Brad-  f o r d , the home of the depressed worsted i n d u s t r y , became centres of the a g i t a t i o n . Numerous farmerst became openly p r o t e c t i o n i s t .  organizations  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 G a i t , T i l l e y , Tupper and Macdonald—who made no secret of t h e i r 64 c o n v i c t i o n 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 arrangements. By f a agrees r the most i v e so support f o ryears the t a1875-77, r i f f re59. Clapham that e tf hfiesc twas f o r the and p o s s i b l y u n t i l 1879. c f . Clapham, op_. c i t . v o l . 3 , p . 2 3 . 60. The Economist, November 24, 1877, p. 1396. 61. The Times, November 12, 1 8 7 7 — c i t e d 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 l e a d e r s h i p appeared f o r the newly organized N a t i o n a l F a i r Trade League.  So vigorous was the campaign of t h i s a s s o c i a -  t i o n during i t s ten year l i f e , that ' F a i r Trade' and various forms of p r o t e c t i o n suggested a t t h i s time became almost synonymous.  This was the case, i n s p i t e of the f a c t that  large.numbers of a c t i v e P r o t e c t i o n i s t s never joined i t s ranks, and of those who d i d many e v e n t u a l l y l e f t i t .  The  F a 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 a t some l e n g t h . ' I . . . . no renewal of Commercial T r e a t i e s , unless terminable a t a year's n o t i c e , so that no entanglements of t h i s kind.may stand i n the way of our adopting such a f i s c a l p o l i c y as the i n t e r e s t s of the Empire—and the a c t i o n of f o r eign nations—may render u s e f u l . I I . Imports of Raw M a t e r i a l s f o r Home I n d u s t r i e s Free, from every quarter,.... I I I . Adequate Import Duties to be l e v i e d upon the Manufactures of F o r e i g n States r e f u s ing to receive our manufactures i n f a i r exchange, to be removed i n the case of any n a t i o n agreeing to take B r i t i s h Manufactures duty f r e e . IV.' A very Moderate iDuty^to be l e 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 f r e e from a l l parts of our own Empire, prepared to take our manufactures i n reasonably f r e e interchange.' 65. The r e a c t i o n of the L i b e r a l Party to these sugg e s t i o n s , were, of course, an u n q u a l i f i e d 'No.' 65.  Gait  C i t e d 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  i n t e r p r e t e d as a popular re-endorsation of Free Trade- p r i n c i p l e s , and amongst L i b e r a l ranks, only S i r Charles D i l k e at a l l i n c l i n e d to the ' R e c i p r o c i t y Heresy.' D i l k e "...  Gait added that  q u i t e laughed, however, at the idea of Gladstone's 66  consenting to anything of the k i n d . . . . "  John B r i g h t took  up the issue again, and re-asserted h i s c o n v i c t i o n that "...the best defence we can have against the e v i l of f o r e i g n 67 t a r i f f s i s to have no t a r i f f of our  own."  The Conservative P a r t y , on the other hand, was i n a somewhat d i f f e r e n t p o s i t i o n .  I t i s true that general  p r o s p e r i t y and the popular appeal of the 'cheap l o a f * almost completely  had  s i l e n c e d p r o t e c t i o n i s t sentiment i n i t s  ranks f o r n e a r l y 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 f o l l o w e r s of Gladstone.  Nevertheless,  the  average supporter- of D i s r a e l i , and l a t e r of- S a l i s b u r y , was much l e s s r i g i d i n h i s adherence to Free Trade than was h i s 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 i s s u e of R e c i p r o c i t y 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 w i t h which to bargain) had been given u p — h e 68 66. Skelton, op_. ic itt .as, ap. p r534. refused to disown inciple. " I hold myself f r e e 67. Trevelyan, opv c i t . p. 441. 68. Hansard, (3rd S e r i e s ) , CCXLV, A p r i l 29, 1879, c.192-5.  23  on that part of the subject,"  69  he declared.  Furthermore,  he went so f a r 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 a c t i o n taken i n 1846.  Thus i t was that f o r " . . . 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 d e s c r i p t i o n , every road l e d d i r e c t l y to the Conservative Party." As a r e s u l t , the stage was set f o r numerous Tories to embrace T a r i f f Reform i n the e a r l y ' e i g h t i e s — n o n e w i t h more enthusiasm than Lord Randolph C h u r c h i l l , who  espoused  the cause i n 1881 "... w i t h c h a r a c t e r i s t i c vigour and happy 70 irresponsibility."  Conservative, Lord Dunraven, became  p r e s i d e n t of the F a i r Trade League.  Another, Mr. W. F a r r e r  Ecroyd, the head of a great f i r m of worsted spinners, and one of the organizers of the F a i r Trade League, was e l e c t e d to Parliament i n May of 1881 on a s t r a i g h t P r o t e c t i o n i s t programme.  Lord S a l i s b u r y , who was to dominate Conservative  Party a c t i o n and much of i t s thought on t h i s i s s u e f o r twenty years, soon made h i s p o s i t i o n c l e a r — b y 1883, "...  an  j':open-minded' r e c o n s i d e r a t i o n 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 h i s p u b l i c l y avowed o b j e c t i v e s .  The Cobdenite Economist, i n r e p o r t i n g t h i s observation, was able to add rather sourly that S i r S t a f f o r d Northcote, .the Conservative leader i n the Commons, had gone at l e a 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., L i m i t e d , 1907,. p. 235. 71. This footnote omitted. 72. The Economist. A p r i l 14, 1883, p. 427.  24  as t h i s as e a r l y as 1881.  73  During the next two years Lord  S a l i s b u r y went s t i l l f a r t h e r : f i r s t , by speaking " . . . r e g r e t f u l l y o f our i n a b i l i t y t o combat h o s t i l e t a r i f f s by the imp o s i t i o n o f c o u n t e r v a i l i n g d u t i e s upon imports i n t o t h i s country..."  74  and l a t e r , by asking "...why should we not im75 pose d i f f e r e n t i a l d u t i e s i n favour o f our c o l o n i e s . . . " Nevertheless, he r e t o r t e d to L i b e r a l charges that these sen76 timents endangered the cheap l o a f w i t h " I t ' s a thumping l i e , " and r e a f f i r m e d h i s adherence t o "Free Trade as i t issued from 77 the hands o f 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 , o f course, but i t a l s o r e f l e cted h i s r e f u s a l to adopt prematurely a stand which he w e l l knew would mean p o l i t i c a l s u i c i d e . 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 i n c l u d e d s i x cabinet m i n i s t e r s known to be favourable t o the cause. P o s s i b l y , 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 p a r t .  Gladstone h i m s e l f wrote  to Goschen a t t h i s time: "... i n my o p i n i o n the r e l a t i v e p r o s p e r i t y of Toryism i n the E n g l i s h Boroughs has been due i n the main to the two Bogies o f 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 d i d go so f a r as t o appoint 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78.  Loc. c i t . • The Economist. A p r i l 19, 1884, p. 476. I b i d . . November 7, 1885, p. 1347. C i t e d i n C e c i l , Lady G., op., c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 627. The Economist. November 7, 1885, p. 1347. November 26, 1885, c i t e d i n E l l i o t , A.D., The L i f e o f George Joachim Goschen, London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1911, v o l . 1, p. 314.  a Royal Commission to i n q u i r e i n t o the s t a t e o f the n a t i o n ' s t r a d e and i n d u s t r y — i n the f a c e of s t r o n g o p p o s i t i o n 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 a c t u a l f o r m a t i o n o f t h i s body l e d to a s e r i e s o f p a r t i san b a t t l e s , i t s r e p o r t , i s s u e d i n 1887  aroused very  few.  I t acknowledged the e x i s t e n c e o f a d e p r e s s i o n , and d e s c r i b e d i t s causes as f a l l i n g p r i c e s , f o r e i g n c o m p e t i t i o n , and over 80 production. ever, and  I t made no mention o f t a r i f f r e t a l i a t i o n , how-  the d i s a p p o i n t e d F a i r Traders had to be 81  with a minority report s t a t i n g t h e i r In 1886 ing  content  case.  the P r o t e c t i o n i s t s had  the bad l u c k o f f i n d  t h e i r cause s a d l y complicated by the Home Rule i s s u e ,  the r e s u l t i n g L i b e r a l P a r t y schism. which came to power t h a t y e a r was  The U n i o n i s t Government  e n t i r e l y dependent upon the  continued adherence of the L i b e r a l wing under H a r t i n g t o n Chamberlain—both, pions.  and  and  a t t h i s time, o u t s t a n d i n g Free Trade cham-  During the next y e a r and a h a l f , however, i n s p i t e of  t h i s d e t e r r e n t , there was a p o l i c y i n Conservative  a steady d r i f t  to f i s c a l reform  as  ranks.  F u r t h e r set-backs appeared i n 1 8 8 7 — n o t a b l y when Lord 79. 80. .81.  Randolph C h u r c h i l l changed h i s p o s i t i o n , and openly Brown, op. c i t . . p. 63. Fuchs, op., c i t . . p. 199. The s i g n a t o r i e s o f the m i n o r i t y r e p o r t were a l l w e l l known F a i r T r a d e r s : F a r r e r E c r o y d ; P. A. Muntzj N. Lubbock; 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 w i t h the P r o t e c t i o n i s t s i s that I b e l i e v e t h a t low p r i c e s 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 h i g h p r i c e s 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 c o 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 h i s son, Lord Randolph had come to the conclus i o n "... 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 C o l . 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 o r "...speedy reform i n the p o l i c y 84 of the United Kingdom as regards f o r e i g n imports...."  He  d i d t h i s i n s p i t e of the w e l l known i n s i s t e n c e of Lord S a l i s bury that the subject be not r a i s e d , and was d e l i g h t e d to 85 see the meeting approve i t by a vote of one thousand to twelve, The Prime M i n i s t e r w e l l knew t h a t the gathering "... served 82. c i t e d i n C h u r c h i l l , op..- c i t . . p. 692. 83. 695. c h i e fI lb yi d .as. p. an opportunity f o r the more ardent young men to 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 V i n cent. London, George A l l a n and Company L t d . , 1912..  t o blow o f f steam....," and "...wisely enough, r e f r a i n e d from 86 s i t t i n g on the safety v a l v e . "  When addressing  the conven-  t i o n himself, however, and p r a i s i n g . t h e two c h i e f elements i n the U n i o n i s t ranks f o r t h e i r cooperation and  abstention  from contentious i s s u e s , 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:  mous emphasis on that a d j e c t i v e .  " I l a y enor-  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 f u t u r e , you may  f i n d grave d i f f e r e n c e s of o p i n i o n . "  A month l a t e r , while p u b l i c l y emphasizing h i s own l a c k of "...enthusiasm f o r the extreme s i m p l i c i t y of f i s c a l arrange89 ments which i s due to Mr. Gladstone's i n t r o d u c t i o n , "  he  went f u r t h e r , and openly chided F a i r Traders f o r t h e i r l a c k e i t h e r of p r e c i s i o n or agreement. What had happened? B a s i c a l l y the explanation i s simple.  Lord S a l i s b u r y had recognized t h a t , while o p p o s i t i o n  to the e s t a b l i s h e d f i s c a l p o l i c y was widespread i n the ranks of h i s f o l l o w e r s , i f i t was allowed to become a demand f o r a c t i o n the c o a l i t i o n would disappear. h a l t , and the Conservatives,  Thus, he had c a l l e d a  as a party, followed him  I t was no wonder that i n December, 1887, rejoice:  loyally.  the Economist could  "A:\word from Lord S a l i s b u r y , and the mighty e d i f i c e compounded of f a l l a c i e s and r h e t o r i c that 86. I b i d . , pp. 215-216 Mr. Howard 87 - 88. C e c i l , Lady Vincent G., op., has c i t .been v o l .busy 4, p.blowing 178. f o r the 89. I b i d . , l va so tl .two 4, months p. 181.has melted i n t o t h i n a i r . " 90. 90. The Economist. December 24, 1887, pp. 1622-3.  28  Only Vincent and a few d i e 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 o p p o s i t i o n forces a f t e r the G l a d s t o n e - P a m e l l s p l i t , and by the gradual mellowing of the L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t s i n t h e i r new a s s o c i a t i o n . Furthermore, 91 the impact of the McKinley u a r i f f , the shock of which " . . . d i d more than ten years of Free Trade a g i t a t i o n to b r i n g 92 d i s c r e d i t to the Cobdenite school," strengthened the P r o t e c t i o n i s t s ' case.  Their f e r v o r r o s e , u n t i l i n 1892 Lord  S a l i s b u r y 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 p a r t i n the e l e c t i o n of that y e a r , but to what extent i t a c t u a l l y influenced v o t e r s faced w i t h such quest i o n s as Home Rule and Disestablishment i t i s impossible to say.  C e r t a i n l y , the unexpectedly narrov/ L i b e r a l v i c t o r y d i d  have the e f f e c t of convincing many a Tory that P r o t e c t i o n 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 approved by a l a r g e m a j o r i t y a r e s o l u t i o n c a l l i n g f o r t a r i f f reform. 91. Clapham p o i n t s out that i t s e f f e c t on B r i t a i n was probably exaggerated a t the time. The trend which i t accentuated already e x i s t e d . 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 p a r a d o x i c a l , to have to r e f e r , f i n a l l y , to an almost complete e c l i p s e i n t a r i f f reform a g i t a -  :  t i o n amongst the Conservative r a n k - a n d - f i l e during the years between 1892 and 1895.  A number of explanations can be o f f -  ered: the n e c e s s i t y f o r compromise during the continuing  ;  f u s i o n of U n i o n i s t ranks; the great concern i n the B r i t a i n of the ' n i n e t i e s w i t h i m p e r i a l expansion r a t h e r than i m p e r i a l preference; the pre-occupation of Parliament and the country w i t h such domestic issues as Home Rule; and the apparent r e v e r s a l of the pendulum i n the United States w i t h Cleveland's re-election.  Whatever the cause, during t h i s p e r i o d 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 i n t o a g r i c u l t u r a l hands; b i - m e t a l l i s m was proposed by many as a s o l u t i o n to the coun-^ t r y ' s i l l s ; arid Mr. Vincent was reduced to harassing the government on i t s purchases of f o r e i g n made s u p p l i e s , arid on i t s a l l o w i n g the importation of the manufactures of f o r e i g n prisons.  A s i g n i f i c a n t f e a t u r e 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 r e p u d i a t i o n , i n a l l walks of l i f e , of the p e s s i m i s t i c view of the f u t u r e of colonies so long preached by the Manchester School. 95. 96.  E a r l y F a i r Traders, such as Ecroyd, G a i t , and S i r  Brown, op_. c i t . . p. 95. Hansard. (4th Series) XXV, June 15, 1894, c o l . 112-13 XXVII, J u l y 30, 1894, " 1240 XXVIII, August 16, 1894, c o l . 1221  30  F r e d e r i c k Young of the Royal C o l o n i a l I n s t i t u t e , were amongst the most e n t h u s i a s t i c supporters of the new i m p e r i a l c o n s c i ousness and f r a n k l y sought to a s s o c i a t e t h e i r economic proposals w i t h t h i s r a p i d l y growing sentiment.  I t w i l l be r e -  membered that the i d e a l of an I m p e r i a l Preference had been adopted by the F a i r Ticade League i n 1881, w i t h the 97 that a l l c o l o n i a l food be admitted duty f r e e .  proposal  When, there-  f o r e , the I m p e r i a l 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 a c t i v e members. The attempt to a s s o c i a t e these two movements, however, was none too s u c c e s s f u l .  Not only was the new  imper-  i a l i s m n o n - p r o t e c t i o n i s t i n i t s i n c e p t i o n , but, although i t came c l o s e to i t f o r a while i n the 'seventies, i t was e x c l u s i v e monopoly of n e i t h e r p o l i t i c a l party.  the  W. Ei. Forster,  i.  Chamberlain and D i l k e — a l l noted L i b e r a l Free Traders a t the time—were amongst i t s strongest supporters. 1  Thus, the  I m p e r i a l Federation League refused to become embroiled i n the f i s c a l question, and w i t h c h a r a c t e r i s t i c stubbornness, maint a i n e d t h i s p o s i t i o n u n t i l i t s demise.  There was a f u r t h e r  reason f o r the f a i l u r e of these e a r l y attempts to combine P r o t e c t i o n w i t h 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 s u s p i c i o n i n England that " . . . F a i r Traders were, as a group, p r o t e c t i o n i s t s f i r s t and i m p e r i a l 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, p e r s i s t e d i n t h i s avenue o f approach t o t h e i r g o a l .  Numerous attempts  were made to have the Imperial Federation League d e f i n e or plan i n d e t a i l i t s o b j e c t i v e s .  The P r o t e c t i o n i s t s s t r o n g l y  urged, f o r instance, that the concept o f a Z b i l l v e r e i n was complementary to that o f the widely advocated K r i e g s v e r e i n , 100 or "... combination f o r defence."  A l l failed.  Similarly  unsuccessful were the attempts made i n 1886 to win the F i r s t Congress of the Chambers.o:f Commerce o f 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 p r o t e c t i o n i s t p o i n t of view was the F i r s t C o l o n i a l Conference of 1887. Here the issue was r a i s e d , i n s p i t e o f the declared wish of Lord S a l i s b u r y that discussions on I m p e r i a l Federation and an Imperial Customs Union be put a s i d e — i n favour o f the K r i e g s v e r e i n idea, which he b e l i e v e d t o be "... the r e a l and 102. most important business...." upon which the delegates were 99. I b i d , p. 89. engaged. c u l p r i t s Problems on t h i s of occasion were Jan of 100. Hythe,The Viscount, Empire—The F a i Hoj^fmeyr t h of a Fede r a l i s t . London, Longmans Green and Co., 1913, p. 18. Cape Colony op_. and S ci irt .Samuel G r i f f i t h o f New Zealand, who pre101. Brown, , p. 92. 102. Jebb, R., The I m p e r i a l Conference, London, Longmans Green and Co., 1911, v o l . 1, p. 18.  32  sented the case f o r ' d i f f e r e n t i a l d u t i e s ' i n able speeches. These e f f o r t s , and Hoffmeyr's adroitness i n suggesting that revenue thus r a i s e d be used f o r I m p e r i a l Defence notwithstanding, the Home Government q u i c k l y 'sat on' the i d e a , and f o r reasons already discussed, cut o f f any d i s c u s s i o n of i t both a t 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 r a t h e r than at- Home that the cause o f 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 t o win over the I m p e r i a l Federation League.  To the 103  disgust o f such ' c o l o n i a l ' enthusiasts as Sirc Georg.ecDBriison, :  and such l o c a l s t a l w a r t s as Howard Vincent, i t a l s o f a i l e d . The l a t t e r , t h e r e f o r e , took the lead i n 1891 i n o r g a n i z i n g 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. C u n l i f f e L i s t e r , J . Lowther, and D. Maclver; S i r J . M i l n e r was prominent i n i t s e a r l y d e l i b e r a t i o n s , and S i r A. T. Gaii> was a v i c e - p r e s i d e n t . Soon a f t e r i t s incept 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 I m p e r i a l U n i t y . London, MacMillan and Co., L i m i t e d , 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 r e s p e c t i v e l y , were charter members- of the F a i r Trade League. Lowther was a noted parliamentary advocate o f p r o t e c t i o n f o r a g r i c u l t u r e .  33  For a while the United Empire Trade League seemed to be having considerable success.  The N a t i o n a l 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 r a p i d tour of Canadi-  an c i t i e s and found widespread gement.  enthusiasm f o r such an a r r a n -  To some extent, apparently, S a l i s b u r y had given him  the 'go ahead' s i g n a l to s o l i d i f y p u b l i c o p i n i o n .  However,  the second Congress of Chambers of Commerce of the Empire, meeting i n 1892, again refused to endorse P r o t e c t i o n — e v e n of the Imperial v a r i e t y .  Furthermore, when i n 1891, 106  Canadian Parliament i n a j o i n t address  the  c a l l e d f o r an end  to the B e l g i a n and German Commercial T r e a t i e s , and l a t e r followed t h i s request w i t h 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 r e c i p r o c a t e ,  the  U n i o n i s t government made i t c l e a r t h a t i t was s t i l l not prepared to take any d e f i n i t e a c t i o n i n t h i s d i r e c t i o n .  Sir  Michael Hicks Beach, the C o l o n i a l Secretary,, made i t c l e a r that, the government was unhappy about the s i t u a t i o n , but unw105. i l l i nBrown, g to drop which brought r e a l b e n e f i t s to op. agreements c i t . . p p . 78-9. 108 106. T y l e r , J . E7T~The Struggle f o r I m p e r i a l U n i t y . (1868the Mother Land. S a l i sGreen b u r y took s i m i l a r 1938, stand pp.195-6. when 1895). London,Lord Longmans and aCompany, 107. The ' o f f e r * was i n the form of a r e s o l u t i o n 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 r e c e i v i n g 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 a p p r e c i a t i o n i n England of a fundamental d i f f e r e n c e between Imperial Preference as i t was advocated there, and as i t was almost always propounded overseas. i t was  In other words,  gradually r e a l i z e d that the Colonies* goal of 110  f r e e r trade w i t h i n the B r i t i s h Empire....,"  ..."  as Tapper put  i t , meant anything but f r e e trade under the Union J a c k . T a r i f f Reformers thus had to acknowledge t h a t an I m p e r i a l Z'ollverein was an i m p o s s i b i l i t y — b e c a u s e of the extent to which customs and excise d u t i e s provided c o l o n i a l revenue.  But Free Trad-  ers were quick to point out t h a t the i s s u e was much deeper, and became, ultimately;, one of continued c o l o n i a l adherence to p r o t e c t i o n .  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 f o r the b e n e f i t of c o l o n i a l producers.... And while we are to tax ourselves f o r t h e i r b e n e f i t , the Colonies are to continue to r a i s e revenue by the t a x a t i o n 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 f r e e entry i n t o the home markets.... ' 1  .Any u n c e r t a i n t y about the a t t i t u d e of the Home Government during the l a s t three years of the period under 109. T y l e r , 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 I m p e r i a l defence." p. 17. 111. The Economist. A p r i l 15, 1893, p. 441; T y l e r , op., c i t . . p. 203.  review disappeared w i t h the L i b e r a l triumph of 1892.  Glad-  stone was as adamant as ever; i n 1893, f o r i n s t a n c e , he f l a t l y refused to meet a d e l e g a t i o n 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  s u r p r i s i n g , t h e r e f o r e , that the movement f o r I m p e r i a l P r e f e r ence passed once more l a r g e l y i n t o the hands of i t s c o l o n i a l supporters.  The i d e a was c l e a r l y endorsed a t 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 w i t h i n the Empire may be placed on a more favourable f o o t i n g than that which i s 112 c a r r i e d on w i t h f o r e i g n c o u n t r i e s . " But Lord Rosebery, the new B r i t i s h Prime M i n i s t e r , was as e n t h u s i a s t i c a Free 113 Trader as h i s predecessor.  Thus the year 1895 opened  w i t h a famous c i r c u l a r d i s p a t c h from Lord Ripon, the C o l o n i a l Secretary, i n which a l l C o l o n i a l Governors were informed that the Home Government would not adopt d i f f e r e n t i a l d u t i e s favouring the Overseas Empire, and t h a t i t was very dubious about the merits of r e c i p r o c a l preference among the Colonies 114 themselves. Reference has already been made to the f a c t 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 i n t e r e s t s dominated the majori t y of the P r 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 r u l e the a c t i v i t i e s of such bodies f l o u r i s h e d when the d i s r u p t i o n of trade was a t i t s height, and were i n 115 c l i n 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 supporting F a i r T r a d e — f o r  centers  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 c y c l e , which were often the targets of f o r e i g n t a r i f f s , which were o f t e n s p e c i a l t i e s of the new i n d u s t r i a l s t a t e s , and which had already found extensive markets i n the Colonies overseas.  E x a c t l y how wide-  spread the d e s i r e 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 e x i s t e d to the extent that sharp d i f f e r e n c e s of opinion w i t h i n the ranks of many Chambers of Commerce were r e f 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 Com116 mission on the Depression i n Trade and Industry i n 1886. I t i s somewhat e a s i e r to assess the r e a c t i o n of organized labour to the new h e r e s i e s , f o r 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 r a t h e r sorry t a l e . 115. Brown, op., c i t . p. 142. 116. I b i d . . p. 141.  I t i s c l e a r that some trade  37,  u n i o n i s t s had "begun to question the wisdom of Free Trade i n the 'seventies; indeed, a few h o l d i n g such views had  attended  the Trade Union Congress Convention at B r i s t o l , i n 1878, 117 had "...made a serious disturbance."  E a r l y i n the  decade, however, the approach to unionized labour was  and  new compli-  cated by a rather f a n t a s t i c d e c i s i o n on the part of some F a i r Trade League leaders to o b t a i n the support of the working m a n — i f necessary, at any cost.  Thus a N a t i o n a l 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 s u b s i d i z a t i o n of trade union leaders w i t h p r o t e c 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 a t t r a c t e d a group of b i z a r r e and d i s r e p u t a b l e advocates; and i t l e d 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 o r g a n i z a t i o n s 118 which they nominally represented.  Even t h i s debacle,  the r a p i d c o l l a p s e of the N a t i o n a l League, d i d not  and  convince  the F a i r Traders of the i n e f f e c t i v e n e s s of t h e i r p o l i c y , and the support to the 'mercenaries'  continued.  The movement,  however, r a p i d l y degenerated, and when an attempt was made to question  the i n t e g r i t y of the Trade Union Congress l e a d -  ers i n 1882, the F a i r Trade U n i o n i s t s were completely d i s credited.  Those l e f t by 1886 had become rabble rousers,--  a p t l y described by Punch as " s e d i t i o n spouters," and 117. Webb,--Sidney..-and B e a t r i c e , The H i s t o r y of Trade Unionism. - London, Longmans Green and Co., 1920,. p. 394. 118. I b i d . . p. 395.  i  38  "...cowardly Catttlines of the g u t t e r . "  119  Somewhat greater success met the e f f o r t s of the B r i t i s h sugar r e f i n e r s and the West Indian p l a n t a t i o n 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 significant  that the sugar i n t e r e s t s dis"claimed not only P r o t e c t i o n i s t (  aims (as d i d p r a c t i c a l l y a l l other t a r i f f reformers a t t h i s t i m e ) , but also any connection w i t h the F a i r Trade movement. The widespread unemployment amongst r e f i n e r y workers undoubtedly aroused considerable sympathy i n the ranks of labour, but the extent of i t , and the degree to which i n the trade u n i o n i s t ' s eyes i t j u s t i f i e d ' c o u n t e r v a i l i n g d u t i e s ' — o n e of 120 the suggested remedies—remain unknown. B r i e f l y , i t i s c l e a r 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 i s s u e , he was i n formed that the labouring classes would support Free "Trade "...so long as i t seems to f u r t h e r t h e i r i n t e r e s t s , " and that they would adopt " . . . P r o t e c t i o n or F a i r Trade, without dogmatic or t h e o r e t i c scruples, should they at any time see 119. Graves, op_. c i t . , 122 P. 7. The d e s c r i p t i o n was intended to any advantage i n i t .to " the But of John course, was an overapply equally f o l l ot wh ei sr ,s of 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 h i s own f o l l o w e r s was strong.  s t i l l immensely  Furthermore, the S o c i a l i s m which he and K i e r Hardie  were at that time so e f f e c t i v e l y p l a n t i n g was  to make any  f u t u r e attempt to r a t i o n a l l y a s s o c i a t e the i n t e r e s t s of the working men w i t h those of the manufacturers a tough p r o p o s i 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; f o r the twenty years f o l l o w i n g 1875 were, to them, a period of complete d i s a s t e r . I t would be f a r from c o r r e c t , however, to assume that even here economic d i s t r e s s meant e i t h e r a r a p i d or a unanimous r e p u d i a t i o n of Free Trade.  In f a c t , during the l a t e 'seven-  t i e s , when d e c l i n i n g p r i c e s and crop f a i l u r e s were reducing the country side to a p i t i f u l s t a t e , the b a s i c cause of the d i f f i c u l t y was l a r g e l y overlooked,  and,instead, was assumed  to be, i n the words of an i n v e s t i g a t i n g Royal Commission, " . . . p r i m a r i l y a matter of weather, of a q u i t e abnormal c y c l e 123 of d r i p p i n g years." Nevertheless,  i t was only n a t u r a l that the though-  t s of farmers i n B r i t a i n , and i n Western Europe g e n e r a l l y , 124 should turn to P r o t e c t i o n as a cure f o r 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 I n t e r a c t i o n s 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 S e r i e s ) , 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 l a r g e l y r e s t r i c t e d to the l a r g e land owners.  The tenant  farmers as a whole were s t i l l unconvinced, and rather i n c l i n e d to look f o r a s o l u t i o n i n improved weather conditi o n s , or i n a change i n the system of land tenure.  By the  time, however, that ten years of ever-mounting d i s t r e s s had followed one another w i t h no signs of improvement, i t was obvious that other explanations f o r the trouble had to be found; thus the importance of the tremendous increases i n 126 the consumption of f o r e i g n g r a i n 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 cons i d e r a b l e proportions, and an observer a t Cambridge was writing:  The h a l f - r u i n e d farmers and landlords are complaining of the unequal competition- w i t h Indian wheat, and probably nothing but the character of our land system has prevented the i m p o s i t i o n 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 f o r  P r o t e c t i o n , however, was an acute r e a l i z a t i o n that the obs t a c l e s i n the way of i t s success were much more complex than the one mentioned above, and were, indeed a t t h i s time 125. Brown, p_p_. c i t . , v o l . 2, p. 281. 126. Imports of wheat i n t o 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 . , v o l . 2 , pp.140-141 127. Foxwell, H. S., "The Economic Movement i n England," Quarterly J o u r n a l of Economics, v o l . 2, October 1887, pp. 84-105, p. 96.  41  w e l l - n i g h insuperable.  The farmers' defeatism may have been  p a r t l y 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 a n a l y s i s .  They were  w e l l aware that Mr. Ecroyd's F a i r Trade involved a re-endors a t i o n of the cheap l o a f .  They were equally cognizant of the  f a c t that the leading Parliamentary 128 ural protection after.  advocates of a g r i c u l t -  were U n i o n i s t s f i r s t , and P r o t e c t i o n i s t s  I t was, consequently, no s u r p r i s e to them that i n  meither U n i o n i s t 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 E n g l i s h farmers as "...Buridan's Ass between two p i l e s ' of ISO sapless c h a f f — T o r y and L i b e r a l . . . . " Well might a modern h i s t o r i a n bewail t h a t , when successive governments f a i l e d to heed the c r y 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 s o c i e t y went down i n t o the p i t . "  128. 129. 130. 131.  Mr. James Lowther, and Mr. Henry Chaplin, the U n i o n i s t M i n i s t e r of A g r i c u l t u r e i n 1892. Clapham, op_. c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 13. Graves, OJJ. c i t . , v o l . 4, p. 113. Ensor, cvp_. c i t . . pp. 21-22.  42  CHAPTER I I .  T a r i f f Reform and the U n i o n i s t P a r t y 1895 -  1906  '•• "And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he t o l d i t h i s brethern, and they hated him yet the more." Genesis,  37:5.  In view of the prominent r o l e played by reform i n the l i f e of the U n i o n i s t P a r t y a f t e r  fiscal  1903,  the  extent to which i t was p u b l i c l y ignored during the years -1901  can only be described as remarkable.  1895  I t seldom appear-  ed as a subject of debate i n parliament, and was even l e s s 1 f r e q u e n t l y mentioned In the learned j o u r n a l s , press.  or i n the  On t h i s t o p i c , d i s c r e e t s i l e n c e was the approach of  Conservative and L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t a l i k e . For t h i s there were a number of d e f i n i t e tions.  explana-  I n the f i r s t p l a c e , although the second S a l i s b u r y  government was a strong one (indeed, one of the strongest i n 2 British history)  i t was s t i l l a c o a l i t i o n , and the Prime  M i n i s t e r undoubtedly wished to keep p o t e n t i a l l y d i s r u p t i v e issues under cover. In the second p l a c e , the f a i l u r e of the 1. During the years 1895-1901, f o r instance, The Nineteenth Century ran three a r t i c l e s on b i - m e t a l l i s m , but none exp r e s s l y on the f i s c a l problem. 2. Ensor, R.C.K., England. 1870-1914. Oxford, At the Clarendon 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 p o s i t i o n stronger than ever.  Cert-  a i n l y i n the l a s t years of the century no outstanding s t a t e s 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 f o r I r e l a n d , educational changes, f r i c t i o n w i t h Germany, w i t h France, and w i t h 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 f u r t h e r 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 U n i o n i s t Free Traders.  F i n a l l y , and perhaps the most im-  portant of a l l considerations was the f a c t that at t h i s time the heart of Conservative strength was i n the boroughs, i n the l a r g e towns. M.P.  Thus, although the Conservative-Unionist  was t r a d i t i o n a l l y the r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a g r a r i a n i n t e r -  e s t s , the broad i n d u s t r i a l urban e l e c t o r a t e was of n e c e s s i t y his  f i r s t concern.  The Economist r a t h e r shrewdly  analyzed  the Conservative p o s i t i o n as f o l l o w s : " I f a Conservative Government ever adopts a p o l i c y of p r o t e c t i o n , the trade which they w i l l most d e s i r e to p r o t e c t 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 t o l e r a t e d i n t h i s country. And who can b e l i e v e that the f r i e n d s of a g r i c u l t u r e w i l l set up a system of p r o t e c t i o n 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 j o u r n a l erred, of course, i n the extent to which i t f a i l e d to appreciate the p o t e n t i a l r a m i f i c a t i o n s of the l e a d i n g f a c t o r i n the U n i o n i s t e l e c t o r a l triumph, the r i s i n g enthusiasm f o r things i m p e r i a l . That some expressions of p r 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 p r i m a r i l y from those Unionist rebels James Lowther and Howard Vincent. aggressive.  Lowther, f o r a w h i l e , was p a r t i c u l a r l y  On A p r i l 6, 1897, f o r instance, he proposed i n  the House of Commons the l e v y i n g o f a 5s. duty on imported 4 corn;  on May 20 i n the same year, he went f a r t h e r while  moving an amendment advocating a broadening of the b a s i s 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 manufactured goods—accompanied by a p r e f e r e n t i a l , but not a f r e e 5 r a t e , 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 t o l e r a n c e , 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 Exchequer, and S i r W i l l i a m Harcourt, h i s predecessor, arose t o dismiss h i s nonsense.  Lowther eventually withdrew the amen-  dment. Several years elapsed before such a debate again 4. Hansard. (4th S e r i e s ) , 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 d u t i e s on such produce as c o f f e e , tea and cocoa. He c a l c u l a t e d that the net cost o f h i s scheme t o the adult B r i t o n would be I s . 7d. per y e a r — a small p r i c e , he argued, f o r r e s t o r ing B r i t i s h a g r i c u l t u r e . 5. Hansard. (4th S e r i e s ) , May 20, 1897, v o l . 49, c. 961-3.  !  45  appeared. Vincent pursued the same o b j e c t i v e i n a more caut i o u s manner, and maintained h i s parliamentary f i g h t against the importation of goods manufactured i n f o r e i g n prisons u n t i l rewarded w i t h the passing of an a c t embodying h i s 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 p r o t e c t i o n a c t u a l l y i n v o l v e d was correspondingly minute.  Furthermore, when he sought the  passage of an amendment to the Merchandise Marks Act of 1887 w i t h the avowed i n t e n t i o n 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 f o r e i g n manufact7 ures, the House turned him down.  I n the next year Vincent  moved an amendment to the Queen s Speech welcoming the gov1  ernment' s awakening to the a r t i f i c i a l s t i m u l a t i o n of sugar produced abroad, and i t s e f f e c t s on the B r i t i s h West I n d i e s , and c a l l i n g f o r a s i m i l a r approach to "...the a r t i f i c i a l stimulus given to f o r e i g n competition w i t h the staple trades of the U n i t e d Kingdom by f o r e i g n t a r i f f s , bounties, and 8 other f i s c a l means...."  This motion was r e j e c t e d without  a d i s c u s s i o n or a d i v i s i o n . 6. Hansard, (4th S e r i e s ) , February 23, 1897., v o l . 46, c.987 I b i d . . OfFebruary 18,importance 189.8, v o lthan . 53, these c. 1044. f a r more comparatively 7. The 1887 Act simply required t h a t 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 S e r . ) , 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 b r a i n of the new C o l o n i a l S e c r e t a r y M r . Joseph Chamberlain. I n 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 b i t t e r n e s s of h i s attacks had troubled not a few members o f h i s own party.  I t i s very c l e a r that during the f o l l o w i n g  ten years h i s outlook underwent a fundamental change.  Less  than s i x months a f t e r h i s a r r i v a l a t the C o l o n i a l O f f i c e he addressed a notable despatch to the "Governors of Colonies on the Question of Trade w i t h the United Kingdom," (November 28, 1895), i n which he declared: " I am impressed w i t h the extreme importance of securing as l a r g e a share as p o s s i b l e of the mutual trade of the United Kingdom and the Colon i e s f o r B r i t i s h producers and manufacturers, whether located i n the Colonies or i n the U n i t e d Kingdom.... I wish to i n v e s t i g a t e thoroughly the extent to which i n each of the Colonies, f o r e i g n imports of any k i n d have d i s p l a c e d , o r are d i s p l a c i n g , 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 interests,"  already d i s p l a y i n g a c e r t a i n  anxiety as to the strength of f o r e i g n i n d u s t r i a l competition. He was not y e t , 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 i n d u s t r y and commerce; i n f a c t he s p e c i f i c a l l y r e j e c t e d such views w h i l e 9.  :  :  :  —•  t i  See, f o r example, h i s 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., L i m i t e d , v o l . 3, 1934, pp. 23-4. He went so f a r as to ask f o r samples of the leading competit i v e products of f o r e i g n 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 a l s o f o r e -  shadowed the dream of Imperial u n i t y which was t o 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 i s s u e that h i s c o n v i c t i o n s hardened most r a p i d l y , and y e t i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that h i s 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 o f an Empire-wide f r e e trade system.  I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t , a l s o , how-  ever, that when espousing such views i n 1896, 13 c r i b i n g himself  J ,  i n the a b s t r a c t "  and while des-  as a convinced  supporter  of Free Trade, he added: " I have not such a pedantic admirat i o n f o r i t t h a t , i f s u f f i c i e n t advantage were o f f e r e d to me, 14 I would not consider a d e v i a t i o n from s t r i c t d o c t r i n e . " In the years 1896-7 he was not y e t convinced  that ' s u f f i c i e n t  advantage' d i d e x i s t to warrant B r i t a i n * s adoption of t a r i f f s on raw m a t e r i a l s and food s t u f f s , which he r i g h t l y saw coloni a l requests f o r r e c i p r o c a l preference i m p l i e d , and which he 15 openly described as a poor bargain economically.  And, i n -  deed, f o r some years a f t e r the r e j e c t i o n of I m p e r i a l Free Trade by Cthe 12. Loe_. i t .Imperial Conference of 1897 "... he not only 13. fjarvin, op_. c i t ' . . p. 180. 16 14. L O G , c i t . held to the p r i n c i p l e but saw no p r a c t i c a b l e a l t e r n a t i v e . " 15. Log, c i t . . 16 .Garvin, op., c i t . . p. 182.  48  Yet h i s 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 t h i s s u b j e c t — a f t e r almost f i v e years of p u b l i c silence---he was w e l l on h i s way to the p o s i t i o n which so s t a r t l e d the n a t i o n 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 i n t e r i m q u i t e out of the minds of U n i o n i s t leaders.  Their s i l e n c e should not be m i s i n t e r -  p r e t e d — a s i t often was a t the time, e s p e c i a l l y 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 U n i o n i s t d r i f t away from Free Trade, u s u a l l y to a 'neutral p o s i t i o n , ' but o f t e n to i t s direct antithesis.  Thus the Gladstonian Hicks-Beach wrote to  Lady Londonderry i n 1900: ... I f e e l myself becoming every year l e s s i n harmony w i t h many opinions e s p e c i a l l y i n f i s c a l questions, which are spreading i n our p a r t y , but which I must f i g h t , because I t h i n k them wrong, i f I remain i n a c t i v e p o l i t i c a l l i f e . 18 Arthur B a l f o u r 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 p r o t e c t i o n , and r e f e r r e d t d .".... what i t has long been, a d o c t r i n e l a r g e l y held i n the P a r t y , 19 but w i t h 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., L i m i t e d , 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 I n s i d e . London, C a s s e l l and Company L i m i t e d , 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 c l e s 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 p r i n t e d a l e t t e r from S i r Bernhard Samuelson, an o l d 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 c o n d i t i o n he could see much merit i n the i m p o s i t i o n of a revenue t a r i f f .  On the suggestion i t  commented as f o l l o w s : "... the f i g u r e s 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 t o l e r a t e 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 r e i m p o s i t i o n , f o r i n s t a n c e , 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 e a s i e r to ;  e f f e c t "compacts and concessions i n d e a l i n g w i t h B r i t i s h c o l onies as w e l l as f o r e i g n c o u n t r i e s , " and would act as a check to the t r u s t s which were f l o o d i n g the B r i t i s h market w i t h goods s o l d below cost to keep a p r o f i t a b l e trade i n t h e i r domestic markets.  I t was  c a r e f u l to express i t s own  a i n t y , and h e s i t a n t l y closed w i t h t h i s  uncert-  observation:  "The question i s , however, how f a r t h i s imposit i o n of new r e s t r i c t i o n s , on any l a r g e s c a l e , would tend to d i m i n i s h or c r i p p l e the worldwide 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 p r o t e c t i o n and i m p e r i a l preference projected i n t o 20. •  2 1  The Times. Weekly E d i t i o n , November 8, 1901, p. The Times, Weekly E d i t i o n , November 8, 1901, p.  own  722. 722.  50  the arena o f p o l i t i c a l d i s c u s s i o n , and there i s not a l i t t l e irony i n the f a c t that the f i r s t move came from Hicks-Beaeh <at the Exchequer.  H i s n a t u r a l l y was the primary r e s p o n s i -  b i l i t y f o r f a c i n g 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 A f r i c a n war e f f o r t , and which even he and h i s 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 p o i n t i n g out to Lord  S a l i s b u r y the inescapable n e c e s s i t y o f increased revenues for  s e v e r a l years to o f f s e t mounting expenditures, and l i s t e d  a small duty on corn, i n s p i t e of the p o l i t i c a l o b j e c t i o n s — 22 which he r e c o g n i z e d — a s one p o s s i b l e 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 B a l f o u r l i k e d the scheme; and that i t was only dropped as i m p r a c t i 23 c a l — but t h i s i s open to some doubt.  C e r t a i n l y , i f i t be  e n t i r e l y c o r r e c t , some o f the actions o f Hicks-Beach i n l a t e r years are hardly to h i s 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 o f 24 a duty on corn.  The Chancellor admittedly had to r a i s e ad-  d i t i o n a l revenue; he was faced w i t h a p o t e n t i a l d e f i c i t o f over £45,000,000, and even a suspension of the s i n k i n g 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 I m p e r i a l i s t . London, Constable & Co. L t d . , 1929, p. 218. 24. Hewins, op. c i t . pp., 62-4.  51  dend warrants> and a £30,000,000 loan d i d not completely meet it.  But h i s proposal,  the r e - i n t r o d u c t i o n 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 g r a i n , and 5d. per cwt. on imported meal) was only designed to r a i s e an a d d i t i o n a l £2,650,000.  To o f f s e t t h i s was  the. c e r t a i n t y , which he w e l l  appreciated,  that the tax would be challenged oh Cobdenite  l i n e s , -and the f u r t h e r .consideration that i t would almost immediately become the basis of C o l o n i a l requests f o r p r e f e r e n t i a l treatment*  From the point of view of the p r o t e c t i o n -  i s t and the i m p e r i a l u n i o n i s t 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 f o l l o w e d — a s i t was a t o p i c on which the B r i t o n of the day was  not  i n c l i n e d to do  his most l o g i c a l t h i n k i n g . I f Hicks-Beach had any doubts about the v a r i e t y of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s which could be placed on h i s measure, they were soon set at r e s t .  S i r W i l l i a m Harcourt, Mr.  Buxton, Mr. Broadhurst and Mr. -Robson attacked  Sidney  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 d i d Mr. Seeley, a U n i o n i s t .  Harcourt set the key-note  of the opposition w i t h h i s d e c l a r a t i o n : ... Ml  sugar i s a com-  f o r t , but corn i s a thing of f i r s t n e c e s s i t y , and  therefore 26 a tax upon corn f a l l s upon the poorest of the poor." S&5. Hansard. (4th S e r i e s ) , A p r i l 14, 1902, v o l . 106, c.189244. 26. I b i d , c. 190.  52  The L i b e r a l s seized on i t at,once, and set out to u n i t e 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 a c t i v e . 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 u s u a l l y non-partisan a t t i t u d e to take a 29 s i m i l a r stand.  On May 14 the N a t i o n a l L i b e r a l Federation  s i m i l a r l y protested against the tax, and approved a r e s o l u t i o n suggesting as an a l t e r n a t i v e source of revenue the tax30 a t i o n of the mineral wealth of the Transvaal. In parliament i t s e l f , the o p p o s i t i o n a t t a c k s were d i r e c t e d mainly at the ' p r o t e c t i v e 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 U n i o n i s t P a r t y .  Hicks-Beach himself had  made i t very c l e a r that while he regarded Mr. Lowe's famous a c t i o n as a mistake, h i s r e v e r s a l of i t was a revenue measure, and nothing more.  In view of l a t e r developments, the  support given to him by the l e a d i n g U n i o n i s t 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 p e r f e c t l y s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d and honest."  C h u r c h i l l supported  27. r i l 15, arguing 1902, p." . .10. i t i The n an Times. i r o n i c A pspeech, . i t i s absurd to c a l l the 28. A p r i l 18, Annual R e g i s t e r . 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 d i s s e n t i e n t s . 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 P r o t e c t i v e . . . . t h e essence of P r o t e c t i o n i s P r o t e c t i o n . 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 w i t h d e l i g h t . Vincent, f o r i n s t a n c e , could hardly r e s t r a i n h i s e n t h u s i a s t i c 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 r e c e p t i o n of the d u t i e s , which i t saw as an i n d i r e c t form of t a x a t i o n , 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 —by  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 f a r t h e r , however, and a f f i r m e d : "But the great outstanding reasons f o r welcoming the new d u t i e s are that they are the beginning of p r o t e c t i o n , and they open the way f o r an Imperial t a r i f f . I t i s deplorable that the d u t i e s are not now, i n f a c t , regulated so as to give C o l o n i a l produce a preference.... Now, at l a s t , we have a set of import d u t i e s upon commodities which enter i n t o competition w i t h 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 s i d e of the fence at t h i s time. A H i s t o r y of the E n g l i s h People.Epilogue. London, Ernest Benn, L i m i t e d , 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 "Protect i o n Army" h a p p i l y e s c o r t i n g S i r Michael under a banner " P r o t e c t i o n i s S a l v a t i o n . " c f . Jeyes and How, op_. c i t . , p. 226.  equivalent home-produced a r t i c l e . By no jugglerey w i t h words can you t w i s t that f a c t i n t o anything but P r o t e c t i o n . Of course, the duties are t o t a l l y inadequate, but the a f f o r d i n g of adequate p r o t e c t i o n i s only a matter of i n creasing the rate o f the e x i s t i n g d u t i e s : the r e v o l u t i o n 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 recept i o n given to the duty i n overseas quarters.  This was ac-  c u r a t e l y 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 36  move towards p r o t e c t i o n . way  I t was i n t e r p r e t e d i n a s i m i l a r  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 L a u r i e r as saying: "England's new p o l i c y i s p r o t e c t i o n , but not a large measure of p r o t e c t i o n ; and I do not complain, but rather r e j o i c e i n i t , f o r now the f i e l d i s c l e a r f o r arranging i n June a system of l a r g e r 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 o f the people of Canada." 3 7 On succeeding days the Press despatches from Ottawa c o n t i n ued to deal with the Canadian r e a c t i o n to the duty, and part i c u l a r l y w i t h the Opposition attempts there to have the Canadian delegates to the forthcoming C o l o n i a l Conference press f o r the free entry o f C o l o n i a l food i n t o the B r i t i s h market.  Eventually, on May 1 3 the statements of Canadian  spokesmen were brought to the a t t e n t i o n o f the House of Commons by Mr. Channing and S i r Henry Campbell-Bannerman. 3i'5. The F i n a n c i a l 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 j o u r n a l a t the time, f a i r l y i n t e r preted the duty as intended by Hicks-Beach. . < 37. 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 p o i n t s : , f i r s t , by quoting the B r i t i s h M i n i s t e r o f A g r i c u l t u r e i n a decidedly p r o t e c t i o n i s t reference to the e f f e c t o f the corn duty; and secondly, by reading a press despatch from Ottawa i  quoting S i r W i l f r i d L a u r i e r ' s inference that the forthcoming C o l o n i a l Conference would see a d i s c u s s i o n of Imperial p r e f 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 d e n i a l from Mr. B a l f o u r , who, a f t e r r e j e c t i n g any p r o t e c t i o n i s t d e s c r i p t i o n of the duty on the ground that i t d i d not p r o t e c t , added b l u n t l y : " . . . S i r W i l f r i d L a u r i e r ' s mission to t h i s country has a b s o l u t e l y 39 nothing, d i r e c t or i n d i r e c t , to do w i t h t h i s t a x . "  Thus the  ' b u i l d up' to a p r e f e r e n t i a l arrangement which was l a r g e l y the r e s u l t of ' f i s h i n g ' overseas rudely c o l l a p s e d . I t was no time, however, before the bubble was 38. The despatch from Ottawa read i n part as f o l l o w s : again "As p a r tto i a lcommercial l y i n f l a t erde—l oa nt itohniss, occasion by sthe l o n ihe al the Premier a i d C othat was going to England on the i n v i t a t i o n o f the Imperial Government, and he could not conceive that Mr. Chamberl a i n would i n v i t e the C o l o n i a l 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 o f f e r s which she could not make i n 1897. A step had been taken which would make i t p o s s i b l e to obtain p r e f erence f o r Canadian goods." Hansard, (4th Ser.), May 13, 1902, v o l . 108, c. 152 39. 'Ibid., c. 154.  Secretary who had remained s t r a n g e l y 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 U n i o n i s t Party a t Birmingham, he d e l i v e r e d what i n l a t e r years was r e a l i z e d to be a prophetic address.  I n i t , he c r i t i c i z e d the o p p o s i t i o n to the  new budget proposals, and then went on to d e c l a r e : The p o s i t i o n of t h i s country i s not one without anxiety to statesmen and c a r e f u l observers. 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 y e t had, the pressure of host i l e t a r i f f s , the pressure of bounties, the pressure of s u b s i d i e s , i t i s a l l becoming more weighty and more apparent.... We are face to face w i t h great combinations, w i t h enormous t r u s t s , having behind them g i g a n t i c wealth. Even the i n d u s t r i e s and commerce virhich are thought to be p e c u l i a r l y our ov/n, even those are i n danger. I t i s q u i t e impossible that a l l these new methods of competition can be met by o l d and antiquated methods which were perf e c t l y r i g h t a t the time they were developed I At the present moment the empire i s being a t t a cked on a l l s i d e s , and i n our i s o l a t i o n we must look to ourselves. We must draw c l o s e r our i n t e r n a t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s , the t i e s o f 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 o l d shibboleths, we are to l o s e o p p o r t u n i t i e s of c l o s e r union which are o f f e r e d to us by our c o l o n i e s , i f we are to put aside occasions now w i t h i n 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 c e r t a i n that we s h a l l deserve the d i s a s t e r s 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 n a t u r a l that these words should have a t t r a c t e d considerable a t t e n t i o n , but the s u r p r i s i n g t h i n g i s that they were soon f o r g o t t e n .  Some of the r e s p o n s i b i -  l i t y f o r t h i s f a c t r e s t s w i t h Chamberlain h i m s e l f , f o r he 3a,  The Times. May 17. 1902, p. 12. (Underlining mine).  d e a l t w i t h a host of other t o p i c s as w e l l i n h i s speech, and a c t u a l l y 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 p u b l i c mind.  C e r t a i n l y , 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 d i r e c t e d 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 r e p l y to the C o l o n i a l Secretary i n the House, two new issues pushed the budget and r e l a t e d subjects i n t o the background—peace tion B i l l .  i n South A f r i c a , and Mr. B a l f o u r ' s Educa-  Balfour's proposals were p a r t i c u l a r l y important  i n t h i s connection, f o r they provoked months of acrimonious debate throughout the country, and had an important e f f 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 U n i o n i s t leader, c e r t a i n l y more than B a l f o u r , 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 it.  In no time, however, h i s f e a r s were r e a l i z e d .  The Educa-  t i o n B i l l not only a l i e n a t e d much of the Non-conformist support behind Unionism (and p a r t i c u l a r l y behind L i b e r a l Unionism) but i t a l s o had the e f f e c t of helping to h e a l the schism which had plagued L i b e r a l ranks f o r y e a r s . 40 The Times. May 7, 1902, p. 12. 41  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1902, p. 128.  By mid-summer  i t was already c o s t i n g the U n i o n i s t s dearly i n b y - e l e c t i o n s , and i t was undoubtedly evident to a s t u t e observers on the government side that there was great need f o r some popular cry  which would d i v e r t the a t t e n t i o n 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 h i s great d e c i s i o n i t i s impossible to say; undoubtedly, h i s primary motivat i o n l a y i n h i s 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 h i s recent work on 42 Chamberlain, of  the t a c t i c a l f a c t o r a r i s i n g out of t h i s t u r n  events was important, and as such i t has to be recognized. During the summer months, events of another order  s t o l e the l i m e l i g h t — L o r d S a l i s b u r y f i n a l l y r e t i r e d , and Hicks-Beach d i d l i k e w i s e .  Arthur B a l f o u r replaced the former,  and, as Joseph Chamberlain elected to stay where he was, C. T. R i t c h i e was elevated to the Exchequer.  Yet even i n these  moves the behind-the-scenes f o r c e s advocating f i s c a l change were not f o r g o t t e n .  Balfour wrote of "...admitted but not 43  i r r e c o n c i l i a b l e d i f f e r e n c e s 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, r e g r e t t i n g h i s departure, and c i t i n g as  one of h i s reasons: "...anybody can see i n what danger from 44 s i l l y experiments f r e e 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 ( c i t e d h e r e a f t e r as Amery, Chamberlain), p. 514. 43  Hicks-Beach, op_. c i t . . p. 173.  44. I b i d , p. 176.  A f t e r Balfour's pronouncement on May 15 on Prime M i n i s t e r L a u r i e r ' s v i s i t , i t was h a r d l y to be expected that the C o l o n i a l 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 p u b l i c could t e l l — f o r i t s sessions were held i n camera—Chamberlain  con-  f i n e d h i s e f f o r t s p r i m a r i l y to h i s proposed Imperial C o u n c i l . A c t u a l l y , as w i l l be shown i n Chapter 5, Chamberlain's views at t h i s time were i n a s t a t e of t r a n s i t i o n , and the proceedings of the conference d i d much to harden them on the stand which he was soon to p u b l i c l y espouse.  Meanwhile, the Domin-  i o n and C o l o n i a l prime m i n i s t e r s were e n t h u s i a s t i c and aggress i v e on the subject of c l o s e r economic t i e s , and adopted a r e s o l u t i o n 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.  I n so doing, of course, they undoubtedly  hastened the onset of T a r i f f Reform, f o r t h e i r r e s o l u t i o n defi n i t e l y pointed to the duty on corn, i t implied a request f o r a c t i o n , and, as Mrs. Dugdale points o u t f ^ % h i s request had to be answered one way or another by the time of the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the 1903 budget.  Furthermore, i t i s c l e a r that the conclu-  sion of peace i n South A f r i c a , and the C o l o n i a l Secretary's determination to examine the s i t u a t i o n there i n person, meant that the broad o u t l i n e of the r e p l y had to be drafted i n the F a l l — a s Chamberlain planned to leave home i n November, and not to r e t u r n u n t i l the spring of the f o l l o w i n g year. Had t h i s t r i p not come up, 44a  Dugdale, B.E.C., Arthur James B a l f o u r . London, Hutchinson & Co., 1936, v o l . 1, pp. 358-9.  i t i s probable t h a t the Cabinet would have delayed i t s d e c i s i o n 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 M i n i s t e r allowed Chamberlain to r a i s e before the Cabinet the question of grant i n g f r e e entry to c o l o n i a l food, t h a t 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 w i t h 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.  B a l f o u r was w e l l aware of the import of the pro-  p o s a l , 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 b i g fight.  On the whole, Mr. B a l f o u r leans towards i t ; but i t 45  behooves us to walk w a r i l y . "  For t h i s reason he refused to  a l l o w any premature d e c i s i o n , and shelved the i s s u e f o r almost a month.  I t d i d not re-appear again u n t i l November 1 9 — j u s t  before Chamberlain's d e p a r t u r e — a t what must have been an i n t e r e s t i n g Cabinet.  Unfortunately, as no Cabinet minutes  were kept i n those days, the s t o r y 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 A r c h i v e s , to the only records which do e x i s t — t h e Prime M i n i s t e r ' s l e t t e r s to the King. In B a l f o u r ' s own l a c o n i c words, "... 46 s i o n was long and elaborate."  the d i s c u s -  Mr. R i t c h i e apparently e n l i v -  ened things by c i r c u l a t i n g a memorandum of h i s own 45. Dugdale, op,, c i t . . p. 340. 46. Loc. c i t .  listing  h i s objections to the p o l i c y proposed, but e v e n t u a l l y , i t appears, a d e c i s i o n was reached.  Chamberlain had won h i s  p o i n t , and the Prime M i n i s t e r informed the King: "The Cabinet 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 r e m i s s i o n 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 f o r 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 d e c i s i o n had been reached (Halevy guesses that 48 the  Duke of Devonshire s l e p t ) ,  to be s t i l l open.  and l e f t assuming the issue  I t i s important to note that Mr. R i t c h i e  was apparently under no u n c e r t a i n t y , f o r 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 p r o p o s i t i o n s ( r e t e n t i o n of the Corn Duty, and p r e f e r ence), the m i n o r i t y c o n s i s t i n g only of myself and one other. 49 On t h i s I entered my p r o t e s t . " C e r t a i n l y Joseph Chamberlain l e f t f o r South A f r i c a 50 q u i t e convinced that the Cabinet had approved h i s request. There he discussed the scheme w i t h S i r A l f r e d M i l n e r , who e n t i r e l y concurred i n i t , and " . . . i t was s e t t l e d between them t h a t , i f p o s s i b l e , any customs union arranged at Bloemfontein 47. Loc. C i t . (where a general 48. Halevy, op_. c conference i t . . p. 323of a l l South A f r i c a n colonies was 49. Hicks-Beach, p_p_. c i t . p. 188. 50. B a l f o u r always maintained w i t h j u s t reason, c f . Holland, B. The L i f e of Spencer Compton, E i g h t h Duke of Devon-' s h i r e , London-, Longmans, Green and Co., 1911, v o l . 2, p. 299.  to be held I n March, 1903), should i n c l u d e a preference f o r 51 B r i t i s h goods."  Chamberlain undoubtedly hoped that the  almost simultaneous announcement of South A f r i c a n and B r i t i s h preference would stimulate the acceptance of the l a t t e r i n Britain. 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.  I n March of that year the Great Powers, \.i  w i t h the exception of Russia, f i n a l l y signed a Sugar Bounties Convention, and on November 24 Mr. Gerald B a l f o u r , 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 r e s o l u t i o n i t s approval of the p o l i c y , and i t s 52 w i l l i n g n e s s to endorse the pledges i n v o l v e d  when the r e -  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 tisan lines.  generally on par-  S i r W i l l i a m Harcourt opposed the measure, f o r  instance, as an a r b i t r a r y i n t e r f e r e n c e w i t h the Open Door; Chamberlain c l e v e r l y r e p l i e d , by d e l i v e r i n g , as an opposit i o n speaker put i t , "... a Free Trade speech i n the cause 53 of P r o t e c t i o n . . . . " The U n i o n i s t s s t i l l quoted w i t h 51. Amery, L.S., The Times H i s t o r y of the War i n South A f r i c a , various 1899, 1902, Sampson approval d i c t aLondon, of Cobden, but Low, t h e i Marston r p o s i t i oand n sCompany ince L i m i t e d ; 1909, v o l . 6, p. 87. 52. (a) To levy a s p e c i a l duty on sugar from bounty r e t a i n i n g 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 p r o t e c t i v e s t a t e s , the Contracting Powers agreed, to admit at the lowest r a t e sugar from other Contracting non-bounty producing c o u n t r i e s . (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 S e r . ) , November 24, 1902 v o l . 115, c. 364.  63 Mr. Chamberlain's outburst on outworn shibboleths was somewhat l e s s dogmatic, and many undoubtedly welcomed the Sugar Convention as d i d one Andrew Bonar Law, who "...  saw t h e r e i n  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 r e s o l u t i o n passed by a vote  of 223 to 119. I t was during the winter of 1902-3, while the C o l o n i a l Secretary was i n South A f r i c a , that the d e c i s i o n was taken which eventually shattered the U n i o n i s t P a r t y .  Once  again the Chancellor of the Exchequer played the key  role.  Unfortunately i t i s d i f f i c u l t to recount Mr. R i t c h i e ' s p a r t i n t h i s drama without concluding that h i s actions d i d much to inflame passions.  In the f i r s t place, q u i t e on h i s  own  a u t h o r i t y he came to the conclusion that the Cabinet d e c i s i o n 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 M i n i s t e r of h i s determination u n t i l e a r l y i n 55 56 March, by accompanying i t w i t h a threat of r e s i g n a t i o n 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 c h i e f i n a very d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n .  In  the words of Mrs. Dugdale " D e l i b e r a t e l y or not, the Chancell o r of the Exchequer had sprung a mine under the f e e t of the 54. Taylor, H.A., The Strange Case of Andrew Bonar Law, London, Stanley Paul & Co., L t d . , 1932, p. 63. 55. Dugdale, p_p_. c i t . , p. 341. 56. c f . R i t c h i e ' s memo to Hicks-Beach, Hicks-Beach, p_p_. c i t . , p. 188.  :  .57 Prime M i n i s t e r . " B a l f o u r w i s e l y refused to agree to a snap d e c i s i o n , and i n s t e a d , sent a message to the C o l o n i a l Secretary through Austen Chamberlain forewarning him of impend58 ing t r o u b l e . B a l f o u r a l s o considered removing R i t c h i e , but 59 the proximity of Budget-day deterred him from a c t i o n . I t was t h i s same f a c t o r , together w i t h a memo i n R i t c h i e ' s hands from the Chief Party Whip ( a t t r i b u t i n g c e r t a i n bye l e c t i o n 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 i n v e s t i g a t i o n on i t during the summer—which induced Chamberl a i n to give way and provided R i t c h i e w i t h h i s v i c t o r y when the Cabinet f i n a l l y d i d meet on March 15.  Such was  the  background to those two famous developments of A p r i l " 23  and  May 15, 1903, which touched o f f a dispute probably only exceeded i n l e n g t h and i n b i t t e r n e s s , i n modern p o l i t i c a l h i s t o r y , by the controversy over Home Rule. There were two items of i n t e r e s t i n R i t c h i e ' s A p r i l 23 budget: one, a 4d. r e d u c t i o n i n the income tax, and the other, the r e p e a l l o f 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 h i n t of any Cab-  i n e t d i f f e r e n c e s had reached the p u b l i c . Furthermore, as The Times hastened to point out, not only had p u b l i c opposi57. 58. 59.  Dugdale, op_. c i t . . pp. 341-2. Rather t y p i c a l l y , B a l f o u r informed R i t c h i e of t h i s a c t i o n . Hicks-Beach, op_. c i t . . p. 188. Dugdale, op_. c i t . . p. 342.  64  65  t i o n t o the Duty l a r g e l y 60 expected  i t s repeal.  g o v e r n m e n t s t a n d on ly,  was  House.  Little to  t h e way  passed  away, b u t no  Equally astonishing, after  t h i s measure j u s t  i n which R i t c h i e  twelve  justified  y e t d i d anyone o u t s i d e t h e C a b i n e t  any  later  was  actually  by  trying  t o o u t d o Mr.  strong  months p r e v i o u s -  his action  r e v i v a l of the duty 'playing with  an  fire.  O p p o s i t i o n , and,  a s was  t o be  extremely  to  the  political  and  economics—describing 63  consequence o f b y - e l e c t i o n s . "  the  cbgree  t o make 62  difficult  task,  1  expected,  i t s reversal of policy,  realize Lowe, and  Once a g a i n S i r W i l l i a m H a r c o u r t  new  the  P.  I n p a r t he d e c l a r e d : "... c o r n i s i n a g r e a t e r d e g r e e a n e c e s s a r y o f l i f e t h a n any o t h e r 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 t h e f o o d o f t h e p e o p l e . . . ; and m o r e o v e r , t h e d u t y has a c e r t a i n d i s a d v a n t a g e i n a s m u c h a s i t i s i n e l a s t i c , and what i s much worse, i t l e n d s i t s e l f v e r y r e a d i l y t o m i s r e p resentation. I do n o t t h i n k i t c a n r e m a i n p e r m a n e n t l y an i n t e g r a l p o r t i o n o f o u r f i s c a l s y s t e m , u n l e s s t h e r e i s some r a d i c a l change i n o u r economic c i r c u m s t a n c e s , o r i t i s c o n n e c t e d w i t h some boom much d e s i r e d by t h e w o r k i n g c l a s s e s . . . . I n my o p i n i o n , b e i n g as i t i s , a t a x on a p r i m e n e c e s s i t y o f l i f e , i t has t h e f i r s t c l a i m t o be a s s o c i a t e d w i t h t h e l a r g e • r e m i s s i o n o f t h e Income Tax o f w h i c h I h a v e spoken." 61.  which R i t c h i e ,  ment o n  L i b e r a l M.  But  l e d o f f foil' the  taunted  the  Govern-  t w i t t e d B a l f o u r on h i s him  as a " . . . c o n v e r t i n  f a r more i m p o r t a n t  was  a s p e e c h d e l i v e r e d f r o m t h e U n i o n i s t s i d e o f t h e House by 6 0 . The T i m e s . May 16. 1903, p . 11. 6 1 . Hansard:^-(4th S.er.,),',;. A p r i l 23, 1 9 0 3 , v o l . 121,c.256. ( 2 9 7 . 62. c f . D u g d a l e , op_. c i t . , p. 346, a n d H o l l a n d , o p . c i t . ,p. 63. H a n s a r d . ( 4 t h Ser"TT~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 r e s e n t m e n t — I do not l i k e to say contempt—of thousands of t h e i r f r i e n d s i n a l l 64 parts of the country."  He r e f e r r e d to the way i n which  the tax had r a i s e d a d d i t i o n a l revenue and had broadened the basis of t a x a t i o n without h u r t i n g anyone.  Now,  he roared,  the Chancellor was making "absolute f o o l s " o f those who ported the tax a year ago.  sup-  " 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 o r 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 p r e c i p i t a t e d , I , f o r one, should 65 consider that they most h e a r t i l y deserve i t . " In s p i t e of such v i o l e n t p r o t e s t s as t h i s , the Budget Debate soon quietened down. Some disputes broke 1  out i n U n i o n i s t o r g a n i z a t i o n s , 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 M i n i s t e r . But the p u b l i c as a whole remained a p a t h e t i c .  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 M i n i s t e r 64. 277. o u t l i nI eb di d h. ,i s c.proposed answer to Mr. Chaplin's deputation, 65. Hansard,(4th S e r . ) , A p r i l 23, 1903, v o l . 121, c. 264.  and received unanimous Cabinet approval.  66  I t was a t t h i s  gathering a l s o that Mr. Chamberlain r e f e r r e d to h i s i n t e n t i o n of speaking on s i m i l a r l i n e s some three days l a t e r .  Thus the  s e t t i n g was l a i d f o r May 15, when the "... great waterspout of T a r i f f Reform w h i r l e d up out of the ocean of p r a c t i c a l 67 politics." Chamberlain's famous address before the L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t s a t Birmingham d e a l t w i t h the f i s c a l question a l most e x c l u s i v e l y from an Imperial p o i n t of view.  He saw two  a l t e r n a t i v e s 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 s e v e r i t y the i n t 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 r e p o s i t o r i e s of the doctrines of Mr. Cobden and Mr. B r i g h t .... The second a l t e r n a t i v e i s that we should i n s i s t that we w i l l not be bound by any purely t e c h n i c a l d e f i n i t i o n of f r e e trade, t h a t , w h i l e we seek as one c h i e f object f r e e interchange of trade and commerce between ourselves and a l l the nations of the world, we w i l l nevertheless r e cover our freedom, resume that power of n e g o t i a t i o n , and i f necessary, r e t a l i a t i o n , whenever our own i n t e r e s t s or our r e l a t i o n s between our colonies and ourselves a r e threatened by other people." Great s t r e s s was l a i d on the importance of choosing the r i 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 I m p e r i a l 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 M i n i s t e r was r e j e c t i n g the pleas of the U n i o n i s t d e l e g a t i o n .  He propounded f o u r  reasons f o r supporting Mr. R i t c h i e : the t a x 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 p r o t e c t i v e 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 t a x i n g feeding s t u f f s ; p u b l i c o p p o s i t i o n made i t impossible to r e gard i t as a permanent part of the nation's tax s t r u c t u r e ; f i n a l l y , the p o l i t i c a l union of the Colonies was not yet poss i b l e , and when i t was, the support f o r i t must come not from i s o l a t e d i n t e r e s t s but from "... the heart and the cons69" 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 c o n t r a d i c t i o n between the whole-hearted endorsation of i m p e r i a l preference and t a r i f f r e t a l i a t i o n on the  part of the C o l o n i a l Secretary, and the apparent repudi-  a t i o n of such i n the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s statement that produced i n the p u b l i c mind "... a c o n d i t i o n of astonishment and 70 p e r p l e x i t y bordering on s t u p e f a c t i o n . " Almost a t once Chamberlain's speech prompted a v i o l e n t s p l i t i n U n i o n i s t c i r c l e s , w i t h a l a r g e number of the rank and f i l e leaning towards h i s p o s i t i o n , but w i t h almost a l l the senior party f i g u r e s e i t h e r 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 Unioni 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 B a l f o u r of B u r l e i g h .  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 ( c f . 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  p o i n t s out, there was not one top l e v e l f i g u r e to stand be71 side Joseph Chamberlain i n opposing t h i s a r r a y . For some days, on the other hand. The Times was i n c l i n e d to side with him a g a i n s t the Prime M i n i s t e r , 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 h i s own government i t f r a n k l y 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 w h i l e Chamberlain 75 was much s u r p r i s e d by the p u b l i c f u r o r ^ and even Mr. B a l 74 four saw l i t t l e reason f o r i t . That the issues r a i s e d by the C o l o n i a l Secretary led  to a Cabinet rupture w i t h i n four months was to a l a r g e  degree the r e 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 d i d l i t t l e to calm things down.  The second of these speeches was e s p e c i -  a l l y provocative, as i n i t he not only o u t l i n e d the general e f f e c t i v e s of h i s p o l i c y , but f r e e l y admitted the n e c e s s i t y of  a tax on food i f any e f f e c t i v e preference was to be given  to  the Colonies, and argued that any increase In p r i c e would  be more than compensated f o r i n increased wages and s o c i a l reform.  He even went so f a r as to d i s c u s s the procedure  which he f aop_. v o u rcei dt .—.t h p. e b a573. l l i n g of another C o l o n i a l Conference 71. Ensor, 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 a t an e l e c t i o n were secured.  Here a l s o f o r the  f i r s t time he c l e a r l y associated i m p e r i a l p o l i c y w i t h o b j e c t i v e s o f a purely domestic n a t u r e — b y d e s c r i b i n g the e f f e c t of dumping a t length, and by a s s e r t i n g : "We are the one dump75 ing-ground of the world." During the e a r l y weeks of the controversy the s t r o ngest b l a s t s a t Chamberlain's p o l i c y came not from L i b e r a l but from U n i o n i s t 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 Michae l ' s e x c i t e d r e a c t i o n i s t y p i c a l of the f a n t a s t i c extremes " to which otherwise self-possessed men were d r i v e n by d i s cussions on the f i s c a l question.  On May 25, f o r i n s t a n c e , he  went to see S i r W i l l i a m Harcourt, and made very c l e a r h i s determination to lead the Conservative o p p o s i t i o n to Chamber— 76 lain.  Three days l a t e r he followed Chamberlain i n the  House w i t h a plea f o r party u n i t y which contained the f o l l o w ing d e s c r i p t i o n of the e f f e c t of the C o l o n i a l Secretary's scheme:  " I t has u n i t e d the Party o p p o s i t e — d i v i d e d f o r ..the l a s t eight y e a r s — i n t o a happy f a m i l y . I t i s d i v 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 c o n v i c t i o n that i f pers i s t e d i n i t w i l l destroy the U n i o n i s t Party as an instrument f o r 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 W i l l i a m Harcourt. London, Constable and Company L t d . , 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 d i d not regard t h i s outburst as a c o n t r i b u t i o n to party s o l i d a r i t y , and c o n t i n ued i t s b i t t e r attacks on the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mr. David Mclvor, f o r Instance, w i t h r e a l b i t t e r n e s s noted that the p r i c e of g r a i n w i t h the Duty was a c t u a l l y 3s. per quarter cheaper than i t had been the year before, and suggested that Mr. R i t c h i e ' s t a l e n t s be t r a n s f e r r e d to the 78  Gov-  ernorship of the I s l e of Man or of some Colony. Apparently the Free Fooders ( l e d by the more ent h u s i a s t i c and younger group c l u s t e r e d around S i r Hugh C e c i l , and dubbed Hughlians), e a r l y considered f o r m a l l y o r g a n i z i n g to f i g h t Joseph Chamberlain's views, but held o f f as long as they thought he might be l u l l e d i n t o 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 Unioni s t M. P.'s met to form what became two weeks l a t e r the U n i o n i s t Free Food League, and l i s t e n e d to speeches vy Lord Goschen and Hicks-Beach. of The Times  The l a t t e r i n c u r r e d the d i s f a v o u r  f o r h i s a s s e r t i o n that "...he was not going  to be drummed out of the U n i o n i s t Party f o r adhering to prin79 c i p l e s which Conservatives had maintained f o r 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 L i b e r a l - U n i o n i s t Associa-  78. I b i d .set . c.up 345. t i o n had a ' T a r i f f Committee,' which had begun the 79. The Times.. J u l y 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 d o c t r i n e s of i t s f a v o u r i t e son.  A much more important development than t h i s ,  however, was the inauguration i n London on J u l y 21 a t a l a r g e meeting, attended by some t h i r t y M. P.'s, of the Tari f f Reform League.  I t was t h i s body which acted as the  general s t a f f and o p e r a t i o n a l headquarters of the campaign f o r i m p e r i a l preference and o u t r i g h t p r o t e c t i o n during the next eleven years. • Meanwhile, the Prime M i n i s t e r was desperately s t r i v i n g to f i n d common ground on which he could u n i t e the various f a c t i o n s of the |Party, or a t l e a s t to persuade them to agree, to d i f f e r .  H i s f i r s t approach was to e x t r a c t from  the C o l o n i a l 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 quest i o n i n g of David Lloyd George i n the House, a t least,, p a r t l y wrecked the e a r l y stages of t h i s p l a n .  The May 28 speech  of the C o l o n i a l Secretary, f o r i n s t a n c e , he regarded as a 80 d i 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 u n i t e d cabinet to say no more f o r the balance of the Session, and apparentl y w i t h h i s approval Mr. R i t c h i e read a statement to the House which sought to reduce a l l that any U n i o n i s t had a l ready s a i d to an endorsement of the p r i n c i p l e of i n v e s t i g a t i n g Imperial Preference. Here again.the Prime M i n i s t e r had 80. Dugdale, op_. c i t . . p. 349.  •73  bad l u c k , f o r 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 s u r p r i s e d i f the i n q u i r y should show 81-^ any p r a c t i c a l means of c a r r y i n g out that  policy."  A second course pursued by the Prime M i n i s t e r w i t h great s k i l l was h i s attempt to cool passions and to r a i s e the whole l e v e l of d i s c u s s i o n .  t  On May 28 f o r instance i n  the Commons he refused to recognize any basic c o n t r a d i c t i o n between h i s views and those of the C o l o n i a l 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 handl i n g questions of political"economy. " I t i s not t r e a t e d as a science or as a subject which people ought to approach imp a r t i a l l y w i t h a view to d i s c o v e r i n g what the t r u t h i s , e i t h e r from theory or experience, not at a l l . They f i n d some formula i n a book of a u t h o r i t y and throw i t at t h e i r opponent's heads. They bandy the o l d watchwords backwards and forwards: they rouse o l d b i t t e r n e s s e s , 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 i m p e r f e c t l y r e - membered and modern d o c t r i n e s i m p e r f e c t l y understood." 82 1  This remarkable a n a l y s i s , unhappily,  was l a r g e l y  ignored  by those concerned, and h i s attempt, to produce the same r e s u l t by v i g o r o u s l y l i m i t i n g the o p p o r t u n i t i e s f o r p a r l i a mentary debate on the subject was  similarly  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. 82. 83.  Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , June 9/ 1903, v o l . 123, c. 365. I b i d . , May 28, 1903, c. 162-3. eg. Hansard, (4th S e r . ) , J u l y 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 y e t exhausted. 84 respondence  He strove i n h i s p r i v a t e cor-  and i n Parliament to make F i s c a l Reform an open  question i n h i s party—much as C a t h o l i c Emancipation and Free Trade had been i n an e a r l i e r day.  I n the Commons on  June 9 he made p l a i n h i s 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, t h a t he had h i s doubts about the nation's f i s c a l system—although he was very c a r e f u l on food t a x a t i o n — a n d stressed the nation's r e s t r i c t e d bargaining p o s i t i o n .  With remarkable candor he  went f u r t h e r and declared: "I should consider that I was but i l l performing my duty, I w i l l not say to my P a r t y , but to the House and to the country, i f I were to profess a s e t t l e d c o n v i c t i o n where no s e t t l e d c o n v i c t i o n 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 a t a C o n s t i t u t i o n -  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 t h a t : " . . . i t would be p e r f e c t f o l l y on the part of the Conservative Party or the U n i o n i s t Party to make p a r t i c u l a r opinions or economic subjects a t e s t of party l o y a l t y . " 86 84. 85. 86.  Holland, OJJ. c i t . , pp. 328-332. Hansard. 1[4th S e r . ) , June 10, 1903, v o l . 123, c. 556-7. The Times. June 27, 1903, p. 14.  The most e f f e c t i v e support to the Prime M i 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 s t r e t c h h i s 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 r e s i g n , he i n e f f e c t made a strong plea f o r bolder a c t i o n on the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s p a r t , when, i n f o r s e e i n g a d i f f i c u l t time ahead, he r e f e r r e d e s p e c i a l l y to U n i o n i s t candidates f o r the House of Commons, who might "... f i n d themselves deprived of that c l e a r and decided leadership which they g e n e r a l l y look f o r and do not 88 look f o r i n v a i n . " Balfour's adroitness l i m i t e d the f i s c a l debate i n the House during J u l y to one short b r i s k c l a s h over the Sugar Convention B i l l , a measure designed to b r i n g i n t o e f f ect i n England the p o l i c y already endorsed by the Commons. Although eventually passed, i t was s t r o n g l y attacked by such 89 U n i o n i s t s as Winston C h u r c h i l l ist 87. 88. Sir 89.  because of i t s P r o t e c t i o n -  q u a l i t y , and by such U n i o n i s t s as Lord Hugh C e c i l and Hansard. (4th 90 S e r . ) , June 15, 1903, v o l . 123, c. 916. IJohn b i d . .Gorst, c. 921.who objected to the shackles on f i s c a l I n t h i s debate C h u r c h i l l declared: "...The C o l o n i a l o f f i c e has had too much to say i n our p o l i c y during the l a s t four or f i v e years." Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , J u l y 29, v o l . 126, c. 714. 90. A rare b i r d — a U n i o n i s t w i t h S o c i a l i s t l e a n i n g s .  discussion.  J u s t as energetic i n support of the B i l l were  such U n i o n i s t s as Bonar Law, who openly favoured i t as a 91 r e t r e a t from Free Trade. Outside Parliament, T a r i f f Reform was the i s s u e of the  day. Lord Esher wrote on J u l y 16: "Here ( I am w r i t i n g  you from the C i t y ) , the only t o p i c i s the Chamberlain camp92 aign.  No one can p o s s i b l y f o r e t e l l how i t w i l l go."  The  Prime M i n i s t e r was only too w e l l aware that the s i t u a t i o n as i t e x i s t e d , i f allowed to remain unchanged, would have f a t a l r e s u l t s on the Government, and w e l l knew a l s o that h i s uncert a i n t y was d i s t r e s s i n g and d i s c o n c e r t i n g 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 n e i t h e r wing of the P a r t y , but which he hoped i n time would capture or r e t a i n the l o y a l t y of the l a r g e moderate element.  Early i n  August, as a consequence, he placed before h i s Cabinet two documents—one an a b s t r a c t statement of h i s economic viev/s, and the other, i n the words of Lord George Hamilton, an outl i n e of "...the proposals which the Prime M i n i s t e r wished to 91. I b i d . . J u l y 28, c. 659. 92. B r e t t , M. V. ed., Journals and L e t t e r s of Reginald V i s count Esher. London, Ivor Nicholson & Watson, 1934, v o l . 3 , p. 3. Esher c o r r e c t l y surmised: " I f there are two or three bad years of trade, I t h i n k Joe w i l l win, as everyone w i l l be anxious to t r y a new scheme. I f , on the other hand, the years a r e 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. c f . Courtney, L., "Mr. Chamberlain's B a l l o o n , " The Contemporary Review. August, 1903, v o l . LXXXIV, pp. ,265-279.  put forward i n the name of the Government."  94  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 p u b l i c s u b s t a n t i a l l y 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 s e r i e s of p r e d i c t i o n s which today r e f l e c t great c r e d i t on B a l f o u r as an economist. I t s s i g n i f i c a n c e i n 1903, however, was two-fold: on the  one  hand i t d i d nothing to expressly r e f u t e Mr. Chamberlain's p o 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 f a r t h e r than asking " . . . f o r freedom to negotiate 96a that freedom of exchange may be increased." B a l f o u r , never an advocate of hasty a c t i o n , gave the Cabinet ample time to r e f l e c t on h i s p o l i c y .  Between  prorogation on August 14 and the day a month l a t e r no meetings were held.  I n the i n t e r i m , the i s s u e 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, U n i o n i s t s generally were conscious of a r i s i n g t e n s i o n , which three important developments served to heighten.  The f i r s t was the p u b l i c a t i o n on August 15 of the fam-  ous 'Professors'.. Manifesto,' signed by fourteen of the best 94. 95.  Holland, op_. c i t . , p. 340. Mr. Balfour described i t on March 7, 1904 as c o n s i s t i n g of " c e r t a i n t e n t a t i v e suggestions." He refused to make i t p u b l i c property, but i n s i s t e d that i t was i n no sense c o n t r a d i c t o r y with the Economic Notes. Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , March 7, 1904, v o l . 131, c. 403. 96'. B a l f o u r , A. J . , Economic Notes on I n s u l a r Free Trade. London, Longmans Green and Co., 1903. 96a. B a l f o u r , 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 pro96b gramme. To i t the more ardent T a r i f f Reformers reacted 97 violently; on the other hand they were somewhat encouraged by the r e f u s a l of three economists to s i g n — P r o f e s s o r s Fox98 w e l l and Hewins and L. L. P r i c e — a n d by the a c t i o n of Dr. Cunningham of Cambridge, who came out i n support of Chamberl 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  b y - e l e c t i o n defeat f o r the Government on September 2, a f t e r a campaign i n which T a r i f f Reform was h o t l y 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 p u b l i c , t h e r e f o r e , was q u i t e w e l l aware that important d e c i s i o n s would have to be made when the Cabinet 96b. The Times. August 15, 1903, p. 4. The s i g n a t o r i e s were Professors Edgeworth, Oxford; M a r s h a l l , Cambridge; Bastable, Dublin; Smart, Glasgow; Nicholson, Edinburgh; Gonner, L i v e r p o o l ; and Messrs L. Courtney, A. L. Bowley, E. Cannon; L. R. Phelps, A. Pigou, C. P. Sanger, W . P. S c o t t , and A. Smith. 97. T h i r t y years l a t e r ' M r . Amery was s t i l l w r i t i n g 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 i s s u i n g an ' e n c y c l i c a l . ' Amery, L. S i , The Forward View, London, Geoffrey B l e s , 1935, p. 94. 98. Mr. P r i c e wrote separately to fhe Times suggesting an i m p a r t i a l and exhaustive Royal Commission i n 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, however f o r the climax which was soon to f o l l o w .  A f t e r two days  during which long sessions were held but no announcements were i s s u e d .  B a l f o u r , on September 16, published h i s Cabi-  net memorandum, and on the f o l l o w i n g day h i s brother released the r e s u l t s 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 a r s e n a l f o r T a r i f f Reformer and Free Trader a l i k e .  This p r i n t e d  m a t e r i a l aroused very considerable i n t e r e s t , but i t was  to  pale before the sensation of September 1 7 — t h e announcements of the r e s i g n a t i o n s 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 i n v o l v e d i n the  simultaneous  departure of both wings of the Party was c l e a r e d up l a t e r i n the same day w i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n of Chamberlain's l e t t e r ofr e s i g n a t i o n ( w r i t t e n on September 9 ) , and of Balfour's r e p l y (dated September 16).  Chamberlain r e f e r r e d to the mutual  view of the Prime M i n i s t e r and himself that the nation's f i s c a l p o s i t i o n warranted r e c o n s i d e r a t i o n , admitted that he had not forseen subsequent developments, e s p e c i a l l y w i t h i n the P a r t y , and admitted that the heart of any p r e f e r e n t i a l agreement w i t h the Colonies, a tax on food, however s m a l l , was 99 "... unacceptable to the m a j o r i t y i n the c o n s t i t u e n c i e s . " 99.  The Times. September 18, 1903, pp.  7-8.  P U N C H , OR T H E LONDON CHARIVARI.—SEPI-HMOI 23, VM',.  THE Jxvhj Macbeth .  PREDOMINANT PARTNER. .  M K . OH-SIIMU.-N.  Maclicth . . .  L o r MACBETH (abouttoretire), " f l l V K UK T H E DAGGER LYING I X L DO IT D M MY OWN'."  MK.  U-ll-K.  DISENGAGED;  He endorsed as wise and j u s t i f i e d the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s course i n adopting  instead the p o l i c y of seeking the freedom  to negotiate on a r e c i p r o c a l b a s i s , a p o l i c y 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 t h a t he be freed to devote himself "...  to the work of e x p l a i n -  ing and p o p u l a r i s i n g 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 f u t u r e 99a welfare and p r o s p e r i t y . " The Prime M i n i s t e r ' s r e p l y was notable f o r the  ex-  t e n t 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 h i s reservations on the grounds of p r a c t i c a b i l i t y .  He made c l e a r , f o r instance, h i s  doubts as to the w i l l i n g n e s s of the Colonies to modify, t h e i r protectionist policy.  He l i k e the C o l o n i a l Secretary,  was  a l s o convinced that the B r i t i s h p u b l i c was not prepared to 99b accept a tax upon imported f o o d - s t u f f s . A l l shades of opinion i n the U n i o n i s t Party were somewhat confused by these r e v e l a t i o n s ; the Free Traders were p a r t i c u l a r l y disquietened, as there was now no but that the Prime M i n i s t e r was former.  question  to some degree a f i s c a l r e -  The r e s i g n a t i o n s of Mr. Arthur E l l i o t and  Lord  B a l f o u r of B u r l e i g h , announced on September 21, were, theref o r e , hardly a s u r p r i s e .  What d i d seem to be unusual was  the continued presence i n the Cabinet of the Duke of Devon99a + 99b. The Times. September 18, 1903, pp. 7 and 8.  81  s h i r e , although t h i s g r e a t l y pleased the U n i o n i s t Press.  100  This strange drama took another unusual t w i s t on October 1, when the l e t t e r s of r e s i g n a t i o n 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 w r i t t e n by Lord George Hamilton, that the two had taken t h e i r a c t i o n i n apparent ignorance of the f a c t that Chamberlain's r e s i g n a t i o n was a l ready i n the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s hands. 101 f u l impression"  As a r e s u l t , a "pain-  was created, based on the assumption that  Mr. B a l f o u r had been g u i l t y of some form of deception i n d e a l i n g w i t h h i s colleagues.  That was obviously the view of  the e x - M i n i s t e r s , and i t was endorsed to some extent as r e c e n t l y as 1936 by Dr. Jennings, who describes the Prime 102 M i n i s t e r ' s a c t i o n as "...a piece of sharp p r a c t i c e . . . . " Mr. B a l f o u r himself h o t l y denied the inference; as e a r l y as 103 September 22, he c i r c u l a t e d a memorandum on the subject to the Cabinet, and when l a t e r the p u b l i c d i s c u s s i o n of the r e s i g n a t i o n s by the former Cabinet M i n i s t e r s continued to cast a shadow on h i s honour, he explained h i s a c t i o n s i n de104 t a i l to the House (March 7, 1904) Actually a careful reading of these speeches, and of the lengthy evidence pub105 106 l i s h e d by Mrs. Dugdale and Bernard Holland does 100. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1903, p. 101. I b i d . , p. 201. 102. Jennings, W . I . , Cabinet Government. Cambridge, At the U n i v e r s i t y Bress, 1936, p. 162. 103. Holland, Op. C i t . . pp. 352-3. 104. Hansard, (4th S e r . ) , March 7, 1904, v o l . 131, c. 398105. 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 h i s favour. Much of the misunderstanding arose out of a f a i l u r e on the part of the Cabinet to appreciate the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the remarks of both Chamberl a i n and B a l f o u r on September 14; R i t c h i e and Lord George Hamilton, f o r instance, q u i t e f a i l e d to r e a l i z e that t h e i r d i s m i s s a l ( f o r such i t was, although the p u b l i c d i d not know 107 it) was the r e s u l t , not of t h e i r o p p o s i t i o n to Chamberlain, but of t h e i r c o n s i s t e n t r e j e c t i o n of views which were now the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s own.  I n f a i r n e s s to the Cabinet, however,  i t must be admitted that there i s an o b l i g a t i o n on the p a r t 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 B a l f o u r 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 o r the f a c t that h i s moderate p o l i c y was launched i n a sea of d i s s e n t i o n , and was consequently s e r i o u s l y handicapped from the s t a r t . The a c t u a l issue over which the Cabinet had d i s solved was that of agreeing on the p o l i c y to be announced by the Prime M i n i s t e r a t the annual meeting of the N a t i o n a l Union of Conservative A s s o c i a t i o n s a t S h e f f i e l d , on October 1.  Here B a l f o u r , i n a speech which contained nothing not  already endorsed i n p u b l i c , repeated h i s p l e a f o r the r i g h t and power to negotiate commercially, and made c l e a r h i s r e j e 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 t a x a t i o n purely to 109 revenue o b j e c t i v e s . Although previous sessions of the 107. I b i d . , p. 340. 108. c f . Newton, Lord. Lord Lansdown. London, MacMillan and Co. L t d . , 1929, 298. * 109. The Times. October, 2, 1903, p. 4.  N a t i o n a l Union had shown that the m a j o r i t y of the delegates supported the views of Chamberlain, the reasoned statement of the Prime M i n i s t e r c a r r i e d the day, and extremist r e s o l u t i o n s 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 t h e r e a f t e r , i t appeared that a  working formula had been found to r e c o n c i l e a l l branches of 110 party thought, although the more ardent Free Fooders remained perturbed a t the economic k i n s h i p of Balfour and h i s e x - C o l o n i a l Secretary.  Indeed, a t t h i s time, there was no 111 great g u l f between them. I t was during t h i s period of a t 110. eg. Hicks-Beach wrote to h i s son on October 9: " I t i s now a t heart a P r o t e c t i o n i s t Government without the courage f o r 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 h a d - t r i e d both to d i v e r t B a l f o u r to a Royal Commission and to hold up Chamberlain's r e s i g n a t i o n , 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. Chamberl a i n * s p o s i t i o n w i t h Mr. B a l f o u r 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 l e a v i n g the Cabinet i n order to have a f r e e hand i n b r i n g i n g f o r ward the strong views which he e n t e r t a i n s 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 p e r f e c t agreement w i t h the Prime M i n i s t e r i n the proposed changes." Lee, S i r Sidney, King Edward V I I . London, MacMillan and Company L i m i t e d , 1927, p. 173175.  84  l e a s t outward harmony that the Government was  reformed.  B a l f o u r d i d t h i s s k i l f u l l y , b r i n g i n g i n the Duke of Devon112 s h i r e ' s nephew and h e i r  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 f o r the Colonies. t e r two were both strong T a r i f f Reformers.)  (The  lat-  Thus he kept i n  touch w i t h both wings, and at the same time emphasized h i s 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 r e s i g n a t i o n of the Duke of Devonshire—again of l e t t e r s .  to the accompaniment of a s e r i e s  In h i s l e t t e r the Duke explained i n a general  way h i s c o n v i c t i o n that the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s stand  was  "... m a t e r i a l l y encouraging the advocates of d i r e c t Protect i o n i n the controversy which had been r a i s e d 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 M i n i s t e r could not support i t .  The  Prime M i n i s t e r r e p l i e d w i t h undoubted l o g i c that he had s a i d nothing at S h e f f i e l d i n any way at variance w i t h the "Economic N o t e s " — o n the b a s i s of which the Duke had agreed, at h i s urgent request, to remain i n the Cabinet. added: "To r e s i g n now,  Quite sharply he  and to r e s i g n on the speech, i s to  take the course most c a l c u l a t e d 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  of the peacemaker."  113a  B a l f o u r undoubtedly had j u s t reason  to be annoyed, but d i d nothing to a i d h i s cause w i t h the expression of h i s f e e l i n g s . In any case i t i s c l e a r that i n reforming h i s cab i n e t B a l f o u r had f a i l e d to secure any greater unanimity. At the outset h i s own p r e s t i g e was s e r i o u s l y reduced i n the eyes of almost a l l h i s f o l l o w e r s ; the leading Free Fooders were a l i e n a t e d by a rarikling sense of i n j u s t i c e done to them p e r s o n a l l y ; 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  p o l i c y 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 d e f e n s i b l e , smacked of expediency rather than c o n v i c t i o n .  I t suffered notably from i t s l a c k of a  great popular r a l l y i n g c r y . On the other hand, i n f a i r n e s s 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 h i s party.  I t at  l e a s t had t h i s m e r i t , that i t provided the b a s i s of keeping h i s party i n t a c t f o r two and one-half years, w h i l e important changes were e f f e c t e d on the domestic scene, and i n the rea114 lm of f o r e i g n p o l i c y . 113. a., Holland, OJD. c i t . . v o l . 2, pp. 365-6. 114. Many years l a t e r Balfour gave the n e g o t i a t i o n s 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 A r m y — e s p e c i a l l y i n i t s ordnance—as h i s two c h i e f reasons f o r 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 r e s i g n a t i o n was announced, Chamberlain launched h i s long-awaited campaign w i t h a speech a t Glasgow.  At l e a s t three features of t h i s  famous address deserve s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n .  The f i r s t  was  Chamberlain's hearty support of the S h e f f i e l d programme. " I approve of the p o l i c y to which he proposes to give effecty  1  Chamberlain declared, "and I admire the courage and the r e source w i t h which he faces d i f f i c u l t i e s which, even i n our 115 v a r i e d p o l i t i c a l h i s t o r y , 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 a t t a i n i n g h i s 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 f o r e i g n manufactures. (No duty to be imposed on wheat from the Colonies or on maize from any country.)  He coupled w i t h these l a r g e reduc-  t i o n s i n the duty on t e a , sugar, coffee and cocoa.  The t h i r d  feature o f " t h e address was Chamberlain's suggestion that the Colonies leave c e r t a i n 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 e x c l u s i v e l y .  Addressing the  c o l o n i s t s , he declared: " A f t e r 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 p r o d u c t i o n — l e a v e them to us as you have l e f t them h i t h e r t o . Do not increase your t a r i f f w a l l s against us. P u l l them down when they are unnecessary to the success of the p o l i c y to which you are 115. 116.  Boyd, ~op_. c i t . . p. 142. He proposed a corresponding duty on imported f l o u r . "... i n order to r e - e s t a b l i s h one of our most a n c i e n t i n d u s t r i e s i n t h i s country...." I b i d . , p. 158.  committed. Do that because we are k i n s m e n — without i n j u r y 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 o f f e r you a preference; we r e l y on your p a t r i o t i s m , your a f f e c t i o n , that we s h a l l not be the l o s e r s thereby." 117. In t h i s v e i n Chamberlain made, as The Times put i t , 118 "an e x c e l l e n t b e g i n n i n g s . "  H i s second speech was d e l i v -  ered a t Greenock, on October 7, and was l a r g e l y devoted to the need f o r a weapon w i t h which to r e t a l i a t e a g a i n s t f o r eign t a r i f f s .  L i k e the f i r s t address, i t contained pointed  c o n t r a s t s between the recent i n d u s t r i a l progress of B r i t a i n and t h a t of her l e a d i n g r i v a l s , notably p r o t e c t i o n i s t Germany and the United States. for lae:  But i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noted  i t s famous d e s c r i p t i o n of the r e s u l t s of Cobden's formu" A g r i c u l t u r e as the greatest of a l l trades and i n d u s t r i e s 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 h i s programme 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, L i v e r p o o l , Birmingham and C a r d i f f , before winding up h i s f i r s t campaign w i t h 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 d e a l t  118. 119.  The Times, October 7, 1903, p. 7. Boyd, op_. c i t . . p. 177.  117.  Boyd. op_. c i t . , p. 150.  w i t h such t o p i c s as the f u t u r e of B r i t i s h shipping, the p r i c e of wheat, and the Anti-Corn Law A g i t a t i o n ; but h i s major theme everywhere was T a r i f f Reform, and h i s great c r y : 'Think I m p e r i a l l y . ' Meanwhile, of course, the developments since May 15 had i n j e c t e d new l i f e i n t o the L i b e r a l P a r t y , which had been i t s e l f so badly s p l i t f o r many y e a r s — o v e r Home Rule, over i t s l e a d e r s h i p , over the South A f r i c a n War and i m p e r i a l ism,  and most r e c e n t l y over Nonconformist education. Not  only was the d i s s e n t i o n i n U n i o n i s t ranks a great t a c t i c a l advantage to them, but the question over which i t was r a i s e d gave the L i b e r a l s what they had lacked f o r many y e a r s , a great popular c r y on which a l l elements i n the party could u n i t e , one which had a strong appeal to a l l sections i n the community. At f i r s t , l a r g e l y apparently a t the advice'of 120 '>' " Harcourt, the L i b e r a l leaders held back, and l e t the U n i o n i s t s proceed, as they had hoped, to hang themselves. But,  a f t e r June 1903, 'no holds were barred,' a v e r i t a b l e  avalanche of oratory was hurled a t the T a r i f f Reformers and t h e i r p r o p o s a l s — t h e end r e s u l t of which was v a r i o u s l y desc r i b e d i n terms, ranging from 'the dear l o a f  to the d i s i n -  t e g r a t i o n rather than the u n i f i c a t i o n of the Empire.  Only  Lord Rosebery seemed to h e s i t a t e . A f t e r three days, how•121 ever, even he recanted, denounced Chamberlain's economic 120. 121.  Gardiner, op. c i t . p. 556. The Annual Register. 1903, p. 139.  89  122 h e r e s i e s , and joined Camphell-Bannerman, A s q u i t h and the r e s t i n the f r a y . During the years 1904-5 the f i s c a l question continued to occupy the most prominent p o 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 i n t e r e s t i n f o r e i g n a f f a i r s .  The impending out-  break o f war i n the__Far East, and i t s subsequent complicat i o n s a t t r a c t e d much p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n .  Other matters of con-  s i d e r a b l e 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 w i t h France and the renewal of the a l l i a n c e w i t h Japan.  South A f r i c a n a f f a i r s continued to c a t c h the  p u b l i c eye, e s p e c i a l l y a f t e r L y t t e l t o n and B a l f o u r made t h e i r famous mistake, and approved the i n t r o d u c t i o n o f i n dentured O r i e n t a l labour i n t o the Rand mines.  T a r i f f Re- .  form, though dominant, by no means completely monopolized the domestic scene: Wyndham's Land A c t , the L i c e n s i n g quest i o n , Army Reform, and the ~ .,Taff Vale D e c i s i o n 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 p u b l i c i n t e r e s t , nevertheless, was Chamberlain, who, though s i x t y - e i g h t years of age on J u l y 8, 1904, campaigned over the l e n g t h and breadth of the  122.  A s q u i t h 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 r e g u l a r l y dogged Chamberlain's footsteps. c f . Spender, J . A. and A s q u i t h , C , L i f e of Herbert Henry Asquith. Lord Oxford and Asquith. London, Hutchinson & Co., v o l . 1, 1932, pp. 156-164.  90  land w i t h a v i g o u r matched by few younger men.  H i s second  e x t r a - s e s s i o n a l campaign, f o r instance, l a s t e d almost s i x 123 124 months from August 4, 1904 to February 1, 1905. His  s u r p r i s i n g energy was r e f l e c t e d i n the e f 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 o r g a n i z a t i o n had succeeded i n do-  ing  s i x t y years before. At the League's annual meeting on  J u l y 21, 1904, f o r instance, a remarkable catalogue of 125 achievements was. presented.  During the f i r s t year of op-  e r a t i o n over one thousand meetings had been arranged from c e n t r a l 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 p r i n t e d and d i s t r i b u t e d , a Ladies T a r i f f Reform A s s o c i a t i o n had been created under the p r e s i dency of Mrs. Herbert Chamberlain, and a Labour branch had j u s t been formed "...to promote the cause of t a r i f f reform 126 among the trade unions o f the country." ;  v  The second annual meeting of the League on J u l y 7, 1905, heard much the same s t o r y .  I t drew over 10,000  people to the A l b e r t H a l l , i n c l u d i n g 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. a t Welbeck Abbey; The Times. August 5, 1904, p; 10. 124. a t Gainsborough; The Times. February 2, 1905, p. 9. 125. The Times. J u l y 22, 1904, p. 10. The Duke of Sutherland presided. 126. The Times. J u l y 22, 1904. P. 10.  number of branches had r i s e n to 250.  I n 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 o b t a i n a "...  clear  and accurate d e s c r i p t i o n of the c o n d i t i o n s p r e v a i l i n g i n 128 every trade,"  i n other words, a p i c t u r e of the e f f e c t of  f o r e i g n competition on B r i t i s h i n d u s t r y 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 c r e a t i o n of which he announced a t Leeds on December 16, 1903.  This r e -  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 f o r a strong 'Imperial p o l i c y , ' but who were not a l l Protectionists.  In f a c t Mr. W. A. S. Hewins (The f i r s t d i r -  ector of the London School of Economics), whom Mr. Chamberl a i n d r a f t e d as the Commission's S e c r e t a r y , 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 P r o t e c t i o n on these a b s t r a c t l i n e s 128a i n a l l the 140 meetings which the Commission h e l d . " Instead the Commission concentrated on a s e r i e s of exhaustive i n v e s t i g a t i o n s i n t o B r i t i s h i n d u s t r i e s and a g r i c u l t u r e .  Its  f u n c t i o n was purely d e s c r i p t i v e ; y e t , of course, i t amassed 129 The the Times. y which 22, 1904, P. 10. P hoped r e s i d e d over by upthe f127. a c t s: on basisJ u lof Chamberlain to set a '•.. 7 . Duke of A r g y l l and Lord R i d l e y . 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  'scientific t a r i f f e l e c t o r a l triumph. the  to be a p p l i e d i n the event of a U n i o n i s t Not the l e a s t of i t s c o n t r i b u t i o n s was  r e v e a l i n g of the u n s a t i s f a c t o r y nature of the Board of  Trade returns on B r i t i s h Imports and Exports.  Undoubtedly 130  i t was a f a c t o r i n prompting t h e i r expansion a f t e r 1908. During these two years the combined e f f o r t s of Chamberlain and h i s supporters produced n o t i c e a b l e r e s u l t s i n the ranks of the U n i o n i s t P a r t y .  Perhaps i t was only.  n a t u r a l that the f i r s t great success should be the capture of the L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t machine.  As e a r l y as October 20  1903 the powerful impact of Chamberlain's appeal on the members of h i s own party was r e f l e c t e d i n the passing of a r e s o l u t i o n favouring F i s c a l Reform by the Durham and North Riding L i b e r a l U n i o n i s t A s s o c i a t i o n , and i n the consequent r e s i g n a t i o n therefrom of a number of the best known Union131 i s t s i n the North of England. In the next two months the 130. Joseph Chamberlain was the P r e s i d e n t of the Commission and o f t e n presided at i t s meetings. Some other famous members 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. A r t h u r Pearson, (the f i r s t chairman of the Tariff'Reform League's Executive Committee). Mr. Booth proposed h i s own scheme of T a r i f f Reform i n January 1904. I t involved l e v y i n g a b% duty on goods imported from countries having commercial agreements w i t h B r i t a i n , and a 10% duty on those from a l l others. L i k e Chamberlain he placed the i m p e r i a l aspect f i r s t ; u n l i k e him he w i s e l y 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 N a t i o n a l Review. January 1904, v o l . X L I I , pp. 686-701. His arguments were challenged by a young man w r i t i n g i n The Contemporary Review i n the next month, c f . Bertrand R u s s e l l , "Mr. Charles Booth's Proposals f o r 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 L o t h i a n 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 P a r t y , and Chamberlain went through the motions of seeking to f i n d a basis f o r party u n i t y ; but as the Duke would only s e t t l e f o r the r e t e n t i o n of a s t r i c t l y n e u t r a l a t t i t u d e on T a r i f f Reform as the o f f i c i a l p o l i c y of the P a r t y , 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 .  E a r l y 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 t h e r e a f t e r moved, s w i f t l y to a climax on May 18,  1904,  when the Executive C o u n c i l of the Party met under the Duke's chairmanship, refused to heed h i s p l e a s , 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 U n i o n i s t C o u n c i l appeared on J u l y 14, Chamberlain was e l e c t e d President and r e s o l u t i o n s were passed not only expressing confidence i n the Government, and endorsing the f i s c a l a t t i t u d e of the Prime M i n i s t e r , but a l s o embracing the 134 whole concept of T a r i f f Reform and i m p e r i a l preference. The U n i o n i s t Free Fooders d i d not r e j o i n . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , how135 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 . 1904, pp. 3-4. 132. s l i g h t lThe y l Annual e s s s u cRceegsissftuelramongst the Conservative Unionists. 133. The Times. May 19, 1904, p. 3. 134. The Times. J u l y 15, 1904, p. 11. 135. Selborne, an ardent T a r i f f Reformer, was the F i r s t Lord of the Admiralty. These two, w i t h Austen Chamberlain whose views on f i s c a l matters were a complete r e p l i c a of h i s f a t h e r ' s , formed the 'Chamberlainite' wing of the Cabinet.  94  By February 9, 1904, Mr. P i k e Pease was declaiming from the Government benches i n the Commons: "Among the Conservative and U n i o n i s t Party i n t h i s country I b e l i e v e that f i v e out o f s i x are i n favour of the proposals o f the Right Hon. Gentleman from West Birmingham. I do not mean that they are n e c e s s a r i l y agreed w i t h every p o i n t . I mean that they a r e anxious that some 136 arrangement should be come to w i t h the Colonies." :.' ;.  ,  Three days l a t e r , Mr. Duke, a L i b e r a l , said much • 137  the same t h i n g .  On J u l y 8, 1903 Mr. Chamberlain was ente-  r t a i n e d a t dinner by some 200 M. P.'s "... i n general sym-: 138 pa thy w i t h h i s p o l i c y of p r e f e r e n t i a l trade w i t h i n the Empire'.' The trend which these signs i l l u s t r a t e d was g r e a t l y accelerated and r e - i n f o r c e d by developments a t the N a t i o n a l Union of Conservative A s s o c i a t i o n s — w h e n i t met i n 1904 and again a year l a t e r .  When, f o r i n s t a n c e , a t the meeting pn  October 27, 1904 a r e s o l u t i o n was moved by the U n i o n i s t Free Fooders simply approving the recent p o l i c y speech made a t Edinburgh by 'the Prime M i n i s t e r , i t was met by great d i s favour and supported by only t h i r t e e n delegates.  When, how-  ever, Mr. Chaplin came f o r t h w i t h a motion embodying approv a l of the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s r e c o g n i t i o n of the need f o r f i s c a l change, o f the u n f a i r n e s s of dumping, and the importance of c a l l i n g a C o l o n i a l Conference,  (but conspicuously i g n o r -  ing a l l of B a l f o u r ' s reservations,), i t passed w i t h only two - . . . . 139 dissentients.."The net r e s u l t o f the Conference,"declared 156. Hansard. (4th S e r . ) . February 9. 1904. v o l . 129. c. 739 137. I b i d . . February 12, 1904, c. 1218* 138. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1904, p. 164. Some 177 M.P.'s a c t u a l l y attended. 139. The Times, October 29, 1904, p. 11.  95 the Annual R e g i s t e r , "was g e n e r a l l y f e l t to be a marked success f o r 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  B a l f o u r ' s proposals as to r e t a l i a t i o n and a C o l o n i a l Conference 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 o v e r p a s s i n g — t h o s e con140 templated by Chamberlain."  J u s t over a year l a t e r , on  November 14, 1905, the N a t i o n a l Union was again a battle'-? ground f o r the two wings of the Conservative P a r t y , 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 d e c i s i v e , that the Annual R e g i s t e r concluded: "These proceedings, undoubtedly meant the complete capture of the Conservative o r g a n i z a t i o n by the T a r i f f Reform s e c t i o n and the purpose on the part of t h a t s e c t i o n to r u l e 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 Unioni s t c i r c l e s was r e f l e c t e d i n other ways.  By mid February,  1904, f o r i n s t a n c e , they were able to f o r c e the withdrawal of an amendment which, though i n the name of a P r i v a t e ,  Mem142  ber, was known to have been d r a f t e d 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 l e a d i n g Free Fooders to r e s i g n . Hicks-^Beach, who 140. The Ahnual,,Rfigister; 19,04*• p. -215. 141. Annual R e g i s t e r . 1905, p. 250. , 142. P e t r i e , S i r C. The L i f e and L e t t e r s of the Right Honorable S i r Austen Chamberlain. London, C a s s e l l and Company L i m i t e d , 1939, v o l . 1, p. 140.  96  announced h i s i n t e n t i o n to do so on March 30, 1904, wrote to h i s son as e a r l y as J u l y 16 of the previous year of h i s doubts about h i s a b i l i t y to triumph over the Chamberlain!te 143 o p p o s i t i o n which he f u l l y expected a t the next e l e c t i o n . • Lord George Hamilton was disovmed by h i s c o n s t i t u e n t s e a r l y i n January 1904, and announced h i s i n t e n t i o n to r e t i r e be- . f o r e the end of the year.  In the year 1905 not a few of the  Free Fooders found themselves i n the p o s i t i o n of Mr. Arthur . E l l i o t , the M. P. f o r Durham—viz.  opposed i n t h e i r own con-  s t i t u e n c i e s by T a r i f f Reform U n i o n i s t candidates. With j u s t i f i a b l e b i t t e r n e s s , but l i t t l e e f f e c t , d i d they point out that they had been elected i n 1900 as Free Trade supporters when such was the openly avowed p o l i c y 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 r e acted to the T a r i f f Reformers' a s s a u l t s 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 U n i o n i s t Free ffooder "would be w e l l advised to d e c l i n e to give h i s support at any e l e c t i o n to a U n i o n i s t candidate who expressed h i s sympathy 144 w i t h Chamberlain and the T a r i f f Reform League."  This  statement which was endorsed by Lords Goschen, James, and Balfour of B u r l e i g h , 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.  w i t h i n a matter of days was o f t e n r e f e r r e d to i n the next two years by Chamberlain.  As the Duke refused t o r e t r e a t ,  i t , as much as anything e l s e , made i n e v i t a b l e the end of the "... remarkable a l l i a n c e between two men of permanently a n t a g o n i s t i c temperament, H a r t i n g t o n and Chamberlain, which Gladstone's a c t i o n or the ways of Fate, had so strangely 145 brought t o pass." Free Food r e t a l i a t i o n took another form i n 1904 as the L i b e r a l s f i n a l l y succeeded i n obtaining f u l l dress debates i n the House o f Commons on the f i s c a l q u e s t i o n . When on February 15 the House d i v i d e d , 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 o f Hansard,  twenty-seven  out of f i f t y - t h r e e recognized Free Fooders voted f o r Morley' Opposition amendment, fourteen sided w i t h 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 L i b e r a l s forced another debate on a r e s o l u t i o n p l a y i n g up the i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s i n the p u b l i c statements of v a r i o u s Cabinet M i n i s t e r s on the f i s c a l quest 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 M i n i s t e r had intended to a l l o w an open d i s c u s s i o n and vote, but sensing trouble he changed h i s mind, and accepted the r e s o l u t i o n as a challenge to the Government. 145. Holland, OJJ. c i t . , p. 383. Holland describes the May 18, 1904 meeting a t 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 S e r . ) , February 8-15, 1904, v o l . 129, C. 623 - 1446; The Annual Review. 1904, p. 41.  • 98  A t e l e g r a p h conscious whip saved the day, the r e s o l u t i o n 147 being r e j e c t e d 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 r e a d i l y seen, however, that the Free Fooders were not u n i t e d .  In f a c t a l l through t h i s p e r i o d a -  b i t t e r d i s p u t e raged i n the U n i o n i s t Free Food League be148 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 menace to Free Trade as an i s s u e of p r i n c i p l e which transcended ordinary l i m i t s .  E v e n t u a l l y the former l a r g e l y 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 f o r want of funds and 149 support."  I t i s , indeed, a remarkable commentary on the  now widening g u l f between Conservative and L i b e r a l that so few U n i o n i s t s followed Winston C h u r c h i l l i n 1904 i n t o the o p p o s i t i o n camp. At one time there d i d seem to be a prospect, of a t l e a s t 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 c o n f i d e n t l y expected to emerge from a great dinner and r e c e p t i o n g i v e n by Lord Wimborne on February 6, 1904.  Nothing came of i t , even though such 150  L i b e r a l s as D i l k e 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. Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , 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 R e g i s t e r . 1904, p. 5. x  99  "A l a r g e number of U n i o n i s t Free-Traders could not i n honesty and p a t r i o t i s m co-operate w i t h the L i b e r a l Party as now c o n s t i t u t e d . I f , indeed, the dominant f o r c e i n that Party were Lord Rosebery and the L i b e r a l I m p e r i a l i s t s , the case might be d i f f e r e n t . But... the main stream of L i b e r a l i s m does not run i n that d i r e c t i o n . That stream i s Gladstonian i n f o r e i g n , 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 educat i o n a l questions, i t i s R a d i c a l i n questions a f f e c t i n g property, i t i s Trade U n i o n i s t i n questions a f f e c t i n g labour and c a p i t a l . For those of the Free Food League who are Imperia l i s t s and U n i o n i s t s and Churchmen and Conserv a t i v e s , a permanent co-operation w i t h such a party could not be otherwise than -immoral." 151 I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g to note that as time went on, although the Free Fooders were by no means r e c o n c i l e d e i t h e r to the views of Mr. B a l f o u r or of Mr. Chamberlain, fewer and fewer opposed the Prime M i n i s t e r 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 U n i o n i s t s c a r r i e d t h e i r d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n to the  point of v o t i n g w i t h 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 M i n i s t e r 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 R e g i s t e r . 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 f o r an immediate e l e c t i o n on the i s s u e .  100  Prime M i n i s t e r ' s stand, and described him as a "... not very 153 trustworthy champion of.the s e c u r i t y of Free Trade." Very few U n i o n i s t s , 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 r e t u r n of a vast Free Trade m a j o r i t y i n the 154 impending e l e c t i o n . During these two years the L i b e r a l s continued t o press home the advantage which t h e i r own u n i t y and t h e i r opponents' ; d i s r u p t i o n had given them.  Not only d i d they  annually i n February provoke f u l l s c a l e debates i n Parliament but whenever opportunity presented i t s e l f , they strove t o r a i s e some phase o f the f i s c a l question.  On August 1, 1904,  f o r i n s t a n c e , they were able t o r a i s e i n the Commons the apparent inconsistency o f the a c t i o n o f the three  Cabinet  M i n i s t e r s who had thereby endorsed a p r e f e r e n t i a l programme i n v o l v i n g a tax on food, w i t h the stand taken by the Prime Minister at Sheffield.  B a l f o u r was too wary t o be trapped,  however, he commented l o f t i l y that the debate was good, but '155 thought S i r Henry Campbell-Bannerman's motion f o o l i s h . The Prime M i n i s t e r ' s o b s c u r i t y , nevertheless, provided them w i t h an e x c e l l e n t weapon. by an unhappy a b i l i t y  They were a s s i s t e d a l s o  on Chamberlain's part to use f a c t s and  f i g u r e s very l o o s e l y , and by a tendency o f h i s t o make 153.  154. 155.  The Times. A p r i r 11, 1905, p. 11.'  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1905, p. 223. Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , August 1, 1904, V Q l . 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 b r a i n as that of l l o y d George or Asquith was albe to challenge statements of the f o l l o w i n g order:  " I do  not b e l i e v e 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 f o r e i g n e r . " Hardly l e s s open to r e b u t t a l was Chamberlain's a s s e r t i o n on May 12, 1904, a t 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 w e l l aware of t h e i r leader's weaknesses here, but found 158 themselves unable to reform him. The Prime M i n i s t e r ' s mental d e x t e r i t y had a major e f f e c t on the u l t i m a t e destiny of the T a r i f f Reform campaign. Throughout most of 1904 he rested h i s case on the S h e f f i e l d programme and sought, one must agree i n r e t r o s p e c t , with r e a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n , to describe i t as a p o s i t i v e p o l i c y i n i t s e l f . On January 11, 1904 he declared a t Manchester: "The party, broadly speaking the Conserv a t i v e and U n i o n i s t p a r t y — c e r t a i n l y the Cons e r v a t i v e and U n i o n i s t Government—is a party and a Government of f i s c a l reform. There a r e , as i s n a t u r a l , some d i v i s i o n s among us as to the p r e c i s e 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 f e e l i n g s , as f a r as we can, of the weaker brethern," 159 In March he described h i s programme as one of "progressive" 160. rather than s t a t i o n a r y and orthodox f r e e trade," 156. 157. 158. 159. 160.  Boyd, ap_. c i t . . p. 159, The Glasgow Address, October 6, The Times. May 13, p. 7. (1903. c f . Hewins, op_. c i t . , v o l . 1, p. 73. The Times. January 13, 1904, p. 5. Hansard, (4th Ser.), March 29, 1904, v o l . 132, c. 1011. B a l f o u r , l i k e Chamberlain, esche?/ed the l a b e l p r o t e c t i o n i s t — a s d i d a l l but the most extreme advocates of (160 continued on p.60)  102  although i n reply to o p p o s i t i o n questioning, he simply r e f e r red those i n t e r e s t e d to h i s statement at S h e f f i e l d and to h i s pamphlet—which, he declared, "...appears to he more laughed 161 at than read."  A month l a t e r , an attempt by an o p p o s i t i o n  member to have him r e l a t e f i s c a l reform to the next e l e c t i o n brought f o r t h t h i s r e t o r t : "The Hon. Gentleman appears to d e s i r e that I should give him not only a p r e l i m i n a r y sketch of my e l e c t i o n address., but a l s o 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 d e f i n e h i s p o s i t i o n more c l e a r l y before the S c o t t i s h Conservative Club a t Edinburgh. A f t e r f i r s t r e t u r n i n g to h i s S h e f f i e l d programme, which he again proclaimed a complete e n t i t y i n i t s e l f , and a f t e r de163 nouncing p r o t e c t i o n i n unusually strong terms,  he went on  to agree that the Colonies wanted c l o s e r t i e s , and that unnecessary delay i n t h i s respect would be dangerous.  He thus  proposed, a f t e r the next e l e c t i o n , to c a l l a C o l o n i a l Conference which should decide f i n a l l y i f c l o s e r union were d e s i r e d , 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 l a r g e l y 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 a p t l y w i t h these words: " I d o l a t r y i s hard to e x t i n g u i s h ; 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 T r a d e , — a Gigantic E r r o r , " The National Review, January, .1906, .pp. 894-906, p. 894. 161. Hansard, (4th S e r . ) , March 29, 1904, v o l . 132, c. 1012. 162. Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , 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 d e t a i l e d commitment of the governments  concerned  i n advance, and he a l s o made i t c l e a r that any p l a n r e s u l t i n g from such a conference would have to be approved by the e l e c 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 -  i v e r e d a speech which could be i n t e r p r e t e d 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 U n i o n i s t Free Trade organs l e d by the Standard. saw i n i t j u s t the reverse. Chamberlain waited only two days before l e t t i n g the country know that he saw no need f o r a second general e l e c 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 d e f i n e Mr. B a l f o u r ' s posi 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 p o i n t i n g out that the Prime M i n i s t e r had c a l l e d f o r a C o l o n i a l Conference, and by adding: " . . . I cannot b e l i e v e that e i t h e r he or you.would t h i n k of c a l l i n g a conference w i t h your own C o l onies i f you do not subsequently intend to pay 167 a great arid favourable a t t e n t i o n to i t s d e c i s i o n s . " 164. 165.  166. 167.  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 I n s i d e. London, C a s s e l l and Company L t d . , 1936, pp. 22-34. 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 c o n t r o l l e d the D a i l y Express and the S t . James G a z e t t e . — a s w e l l as s e v e r a l 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. The Times. October 6, 1904, p. 8. 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 , B a l f o u r made one more attempt to r e s t a t e h i s p o l i c y i n e x p l i c i t terms i n January 1905.  I n a vigorous speech he sought f i r s t to  emphasize the i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s and i n a c c u r a c i e s of the Oppos i t i o n on a host of issues ranging from Welsh D i s e s t a b l i s h 168 ment to Home Rule, and then, accepting Morley's challenge, read from 'a h a l f - s h e e t of notepaper' a concise statement of 168 . h i s views. E s s e n t i a l y they represented no change from h i s r  stand at Edinburgh, but the c a r e f u l wording r e f l e c t e d h i s d e s i r e to f i n d that e l u s i v e u n i t y which would give the Unioni s t s a t l e a s t a f i g h t i n g chance at the p o l l s . was unsuccessful.  In t h i s , he  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 e x i s t e n t confusion.  The Chamberlainites even-  t u a l l y accepted the statement, "...but only a f t e r n e a r l y two .170 months' delay, which rendered the reunion unconvincing." The Prime M i n i s t e r ' 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 P r i v a t e Members' n i g h t s , and placed f o r t h w i t h four r e s o l u t i o n s on the order paper.  Together they c o n s t i t u t e d an  ^.It-.ij.  a t t a c k oh the whole T a r i f f Reform programme, i n c l u d i n g Colon168. i a l Preference, and the a h"if sr e econ(2. r e f . ) Morley had Prime o f f e r Me di n ia s tp er ri 'z se idea to anyof of s t i t u e n t s who could s t a t e the Prime M i n i s t e r ? s f i s c a l p o l i c y . o n 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 r e s o l u t i o n s  would produce a debate threatening what remained of h i s Party's u n i t y , he therefore once again deprecated the value - 171 of Parliamentary d i s c u s s i o n s on a b s t r a c t economic p r i n c i p l e , went on to announce that he would refuse to t r e a t defeat here as a vote of censure, and concluded: "So f a r as I am concerned, I s h a l l not t h i n k i t necessary to take part i n any d i s cussion r a i s e d i n t h i s way on the f i s c a l question i n f u t u r e , and i f my v o i c e has any weight w i t h those of my f r i e n d s who h a b i t u a l l y a c t w i t h me, I would advise them both to i m i t a t e my r e t i c e n c e of speech, and i f they p l e a s e — a n d 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 U n i o n i s t s , such as David Maclver, followed the Prime M i n i s t e r out of the House, and the L i b e r a l s were completely balked.  I t i s doubtful.if.  i n the long run t h i s remarkable move had the e f f e c t f o r which B a l f o u r had hoped; c e r t a i n l y "... i t m y s t i f i e d the p u b l i c which had no eye f o r the s u b t l e gradations of colour p e r c e i v ed by the Prime M i n i s t e r between the black and white of P r o t e c t i o n and Free Trade and expected the Government e i t h e r 173 to r e s i g n 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 S e r . ) , March 22, 1905, v o l . 143, c. 895. 173. Spender, J . A., A Short H i s t o r y of our Times, London, C a s s e l l & Co. L t d . , 1934, pp. 76-7.  105 a  D e t e r i o r a t i o n i n U n i o n i s t morale proceeded a t a 174 great pace,  e s p e c i a l l y as the T a r i f f Reformers were chag-  r i n e d a t the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s Fabian p o l i c y .  Chamberlain i n -  creased h i s pressure to make T a r i f f Reform the dominant-force i n the party by c o n t i n u a l l y emphasizing the s i m i l a r i t y i n views between Mr. B a l f o u r and h i m s e l f .  When on June 2 the  Prime M i n i s t e r made a f u r t h e r p l e a f o r harmony on the grounds that a l l U n i o n i s t s ... might s u r e l y a l i k e agree i n favour of 11  endowing the Government of the country w i t h some power o f e f f e c t i v e f i s c a l n e g o t i a t i o n , and i n favour o f a f r e e Conference w i t h the Colonies, suspending t h e i r judgment on any 175 C o l o n i a l proposals u n t i l  they were put forward."  Chamber-  l a i n on the f o l l o w i n g day r e f e r r e d t o t h i s speech i n these words:  "He s a i d l a s t night,, t a r i f f reform w i l l be the most important part of U n i o n i s t p o l i c y . He s a i d Colonial.preference i s the most important part o f t a r i f f reform. He s a i d C o l o n i a l preference w i l l be the f i r s t item i n the f u t u r e U n i o n i s t programme." 176 174. An o l d Tory described h i s Party as f o l l o w s 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 o f opportunists who don't b e l i e v e i n t h e i r own p r i n c i p l e s , and a r e only held together by the f o r c e of h a b i t and a combination of f o r t u i t o u s c i r cumstances which, having given them a b i g m a j o r i t y , 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 , o b l i g e s them to go to the country." Greasley, S i r Robert, "Discontent. Among Conservatives," The N a t i o n a l 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 .  106  F i v e days l a t e r , when B a l f o u r repeated h i s request i n the 177' House, Mr. Chamberlain f l a t l y declared that there was no s u b s t a n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e i n point of p r i n c i p l e between 178 myself and the Prime M i n i s t e r . " By e a r l y J u l y , Chamberlain's d e s i r e to go to the 179 country was a c e r t a i n t y . The Prime M i n i s t e r , however, c a l l e d a Party meeting on J u l y 18, a t which, on the b a s i s of a very touchy i n t e r n a t i o n a l s i t u a t i o n , he won approval f o r h i s p o l i c y of remaining i n o f f i c e .  He was q u i t e unable,  however, to h a l t the r e s t i v e n e s s ; i n f a c t , two days l a t e r h i s government was defeated i n committee on the vote f o r the I r i s h Land Commission.  S t i l l , h i s p r e s t i g e had by no  means vanished, and personal l o y a l t y to him was a very s t r o 180 ng f o r c e .  I t was not u n t i l November that the d e c i s i o n to  r e s i g n was i n r e a l i t y made f o r h i m - - f i r s t when the T a r i f f Reformers captured the N a t i o n a l Union completely, and. secondly when on November 21 Chamberlain b l u n t l y declared: "No army was ever l e d s u c c e s s f u l l y 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 J u l y 9 Lord Esher wrote of Mr. Chamberlain that: "He i s dead keen f o r the Government to go out. He thinks that once i n o p p o s i t i o n Arthur cannot f a i l to take, up the l i n e along which Chamberlain d e s i r e s 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 i n f l u e n c e d by h i s l o y a l t y to B a l f o u r that he campaigned f o r f i s c a l r e f orm without once mentioning Chamberlain's name. c f . Marjoribanks, Edward,"The L i f e of Lord Carson," 4 181. The Times. November 22, 1905, pp. 11-12. -  ft London, V i c t o r G o l l f c n ^ L t d . , v o l . 1, 1952, p. 354.  107  The meaning of these words was only too c l e a r to B a l f o u r , whose r e s i g n a t i o n two weeks l a t e r (December 4) was  the s i g -  n a l launching an i n t e n s i v e e l e c t o r a l campaign. J u s t to what extent T a r i f f Reform was an i s s u e i n the e l e c t i o n campaign, and to what extent i t was  responsible  f o r the u n p a r a l l e l e d defeat of the Government, was long the 182 subject of acrimonious debate..  I t i s conceivable that the  L i b e r a l s could have won q u i t e handily without i t , f o r t h e i r a r s e n a l 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 L i c e n s i n g Acts of 1902-4.  Perhaps the swing of the pendulum alone,  a f t e r almost twenty years of U n i o n i s t r u l e , would have been enough to b r i n g 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 e l e c t i o n c r i e s , and that, as a r e s u l t , "...the f i s c a l quest183 i o n i n i t s most elementary terms.... was probably therefore 184 the c h i e f c o n s i d e r a t i o n i n the minds of the e l e c t o r s . Assuming t h 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 r e j e c t e d . immediately.  One  At l e a s t four suggest.themselves  of the most important'was the r e a c t i o n to  182. U n i o n i s t 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 h i s t o r y has a party faced a more d r a s t i c blow—Labour i n 1931. 183. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 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 h i s  programme i n 1903, h i s words and a c t i o n s undoubtedly commanded widespread i n t e r e s t and a c a r e f u l hearing I n a l l walks of l i f e i n B r i t a i n , and h i s i n s i s t e n c e 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 y e a r l y trade returns i n 1904 and 1905 r e f l e c t e d a d e f i n i t e a c c e l e r a t i o n both i n domestic business and the export trade, which Mr. Chamberlain was f o r c e d to recognize, though he claimed that i t was l e s s r a p i d 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 b e l i e v e t h a t he had overdrawn h i s case-.  There was, i n other words, an undoubtedly unfavour-  able r e a c t i o n to him amongst many who had.at f i r s t been q u i t e 185 Y/armly disposed to h i s arguments. A second explanation was the obvious fact, that there s t i l l e x i s t e d i n the country not only an enormously important and widely held sentimental attachment to Free Trade, but a l s o a considerable c o n v i c t i o n "...among the i n t e l l i g e n t ranks of the e l e c t o r a t e , of the economic soundness of the p r i n c i p l e s 186 u n d e r l y i n g the Free Trade d o c t r i n e .  There-was  consequently  a widespread reluctance even to consider changing, a p o l i c y . which had i n the past served the n a t i o n so w e l l .  Reinforced  as i t was by a new wave of p r o s p e r i t y , t h i s was a f a c t o r of 185. c f . Richmond, Adrian,. "Why Free Trade, Wins," The Westmins t e r 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  realized.  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 t a c t i c s , of B a l f o u r 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 p e r f e c t l y 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 m a t e r i a l l y to the confusion by seeking to ident i f y Mr. B a l f o u r ' s p o s i t i o n w i t h h i s own, and that by so doing, and thus j e o p a r d i z i n g what was l e f t of P a r t y - u n i t y , he i n e f f e c t defeated h i s own ends.  Whether Balfour's views  would have produced a more harmonious f e e l i n g w i t h i n the Party i f given a b e t t e r 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 p o s s i b l e a l s o to question the wisdom of the U n i o n i s t s and t h 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 f e a -  tured both Balfour's and ChamberlainAs e l e c t i o n speeches was, 182. "Episodes of the Month," The N a t i o n a l 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 n e i t h e r a p r o t e c t i o n i s t nor the leader . o f p r o t e c t i o n i s t s . " p. 9.  110  the r e s u l t of a serious underestimation o f the average B r i t o n ' s shrewdness, and of h i s 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 o f T a r i f f Reform i n 1906, or f o r the s e v e r i t y of i t s defeat, was the f a i l u r e of Chamberlain, and i t must be admitted a l l other U n i o n i s t s and many L i b e r a l s , t o 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 r e f e r r e d to Old Age Pensi o n s — o n c e a t the i n s t i g a t i o n o f questioning by Mr. Lloyd 189 George,  and once on h i s own a t the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Club, on  June 26. But although he vaguely foresaw the p o s s i b i l i t y o f using revenue r a i s e d by t a r i f f s f o r such a scheme ("my f a v 190 o r i t e hobby" he c a l l e d i t ) , of the two issues completely.  he divorced the c o n s i d e r a t i o n Had he instead made the two  complementary, and presented them as a s i n g l e p o l i c y , the e l e c 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 S e r . ) , May 22, 1903, v o l . 122, c. 1553. 190. The Times. June 27, 1903, p. 14.  Ill  Chapter I I I  T a r i f f Reform and the U n i o n i s t Party 1906 -  1910  "Je t i e n s ferme." Joseph Chamberlain's motto.  The f i r s t two years f o l l o w i n g 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 l e a d 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 U n i o n i s t Party had recently undergone i n e v i t a b l y meant a c a r 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 a l s o a p p r e c i -  ated that the- t u r n of events had by no means d i s p e l l e d the' doubts of the h a l f - h e a r t e d T a r i f f Reformers, any more than i t had completely d i s c r e d i t e d the Free Fooders.  Their path was  made none the e a s i e r 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  e s p e c i a l l y there was a marked im-  provement i n the B r i t i s h import-export 1 f i r s t time exceeded £1,000,000,000.  trade, which f o r the  A f u r t h e r check to  T a r i f f Reform ambitions was the a t t i t u d e of Mr.  Balfour—of  which more l a t e r — a n d the f a c t 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 w i t h i n the U n i o n i s t Party.  Of the 157 M. P.'s returned i n January, only s i x t e e n  were Free Fooders, t h i r t y - s i x were l i s t e d as f o l l o w e r s of B a l f o u r i n matters economic, and a t 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  c o n s o l i d a t i n g h i s p o s i t i o n a t a meeting of the L i b e r a l Union3 i s t C o u n c i l on February 2, 1906, he; pressed a t once, f o r a new understanding of the place of h i s p o l i c y i n that of the U n i o n i s t Party as a whole.  (He a l s o struck out i n other  d i r e c t i o n s — f o r i n s t a n c e , by sending a memorandum t o the press on the need f o r a complete r e o r g a n i z a t i o n and democrat i z a t i o n of the P a r t y machine.)  A s e r i e s of n e g o t i a t i o n s  w i t h Arthur B a l f o u r ensued, and l a s t e d f o r nearly two weeks. On s e v e r a l occasions they appeared to end i n deadlock, f o r , 2. These are the Duke of Devonshire's f i g u r e s — T h e 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 publ 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 t o the d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n of Lord Lansdowne, who was not a t a l l keen t o go beyond B a l f o u r ' 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 e x a c t l y the opposite inferences from the r e s u l t s of the e l e c t i o n . B a l f o u r saw i t as a reason f o r extreme c a u t i o n ; 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 p o l i c y would have had much greater success and prevented the defeat which was i n any case i n e v i t a b l e from becoming a r o u t . 4 This divergence, of course, was the r e s u l t of a d i f f e r e n c e i n outlook.  Mrs. Dugdale probably o v e r - s i m p l i f i e s things  when she declares t h a t f o r B a l f o u r " . . . the main t h i n g now was to strengthen the party f o r approaching  conflicts  which would have nothing t o do w i t h Free Trade or Protec5 tion. . . . " whereas " . . . u n i t y f o r a p o l i c y of t a r i f f s 6 ...."  was Chamberlain; ;s g o a l — b u t the d i s t i n c t i o n i s prob1  ably a f a i r one. B a l f o u r was i n no mood to be stampeded, and as l a t e as February 12 i n a speech a t the Merchant Taylor's H a l l he sadly disappointed the Chamberlainists by r e f u s i n g to recognize the n e c e s s i t y 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 s t a t i n g h i s argument i n these vague terms: My q u a r r e l has been w i t h those who thought that the economic world, as they conceived i t , was going t o be conducted henceforth, not upon n a t i o n a l l i n e s , but upon cosmopolitan lines. 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 r e f e r r i n g t o Free Traders, but t h i s could be i n t e r p r e t e d i n two ways.  114  Eventually, however, an understanding  was  reached,  a f t e r Chamberlain had repudiated completely any  suggestion 8 that he was a candidate f o r the Party l e a d e r s h i p . B a l f o u r  approved a statement drawn up by Austen Chamberlain, s l i g h t l y 9 modified by Jack Sandars (Balfour's s e c r e t a r y ) ,  and subse-  quently published i n l e t t e r f o r m — a l o n g w i t h a r e p l y from Joseph Chamberlain, on February 14.  I n 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 c o n s t r u c t i v e work of the U n i o n i s t Party." f u r t h e r , and admitted, i n a q u a l i f i e d way, j e c t i o n i n p r i n c i p l e e i t h e r to a "...  He went  that he had no  ob-  moderate general  t a r i f f on manufactured goods" or to "the i m p o s i t i o n of a 10 small duty on f o r e i g n corn." The net e f f e c t 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 tens i o n that had been mounting i n the P a r t y .  When B a l f o u r pre-  sided over a general meeting of U n i o n i s t M. P.'s  and  defeat-  ed candidates on February 15, he was able to face a group which, w i t h 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 a t the outcome of the c r i s i s , and appear to have been out en massel Lord' Newton w r i t e s of t h i s gathering at 8. Mrs. Dugdale, OJJ. c i t . , p. 22. Apparently Arthur Pearson had prompted a p u b l i c d i s c u s Qslon'-df"the,Party-leadership -in the columns of the Standard, and i t had been taken up q u i t e widely by other papers. Hewins, op_. c i t . , p. 164. 9. Chamberlain, op_. c i t . , p. 37. 10. For the complete t e x t 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; t h a t the proceedings were amicable, and t h a t Mr. Balfour appeared i n somewhat the p o s i t i o n of a c a p t i v e , i t being the general b e l i e f that he had y i e l d e d at the l a s t moment .... C e r t a i n l y the general impression was that Mr. Chamberlain^ had p r a c t i c a l l y got h i s way. 11 The only discordant note a t the meeting was 12 by the i r r e c o n c i l a b l e Free Fooders.  raised  Lord Hugh C e c i l  en-  quired of B a l f o u r as to t h e i r status i n the Party; and asked whether they would be allowed to run as U n i o n i s t candidates f o r Parliament  i n future.  Balfour's r e p l y 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 l e a v i n g the u l t i m a t e choice to the l o c a l c o n s t i t u e n c i e s , he made i t c l e a r 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 o f f e r a d i v i d e d 13 a l l e g i a n c e , t The independent Duke of Devonshire a l s o made h i s 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 h i s opinion the compromise a r r i v e d 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 l u d i c r o u s depths to which t h e i r b i t t e r n e s s 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 U n i o n i s t 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 i n t e r p r e t e d t h i s r e p l y 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 f o r 14 d i s c u s s i o n w i t h i n the party...." In the House of Lords on February 22 and a t the U n i o n i s t Free Trade Club on March 6 the Duke was to make h i s 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 v i g o r o u s l y 15 opposed the p o l i c y 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 r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the T a r i f f Reformers seems to have r a t h e r subdued the Free Fooders f o r a w h i l e .  Chamberlain and h i s f o l l o w e r s ,  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 t r y i n g to 'get t h e i r bearings' that the Government s u r p r i s i n g l y took the o f f e n s i v e on the f i s c a l question.  I n 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 K i t s o n , 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 u n q u a l i f i e d f i d e l i t y to the p r i n c i p l e s and p r a c t i c e s of f r e e 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 t a x a t i o n upon f o r e i g n corn or by the c r e a t i o n of a general t a r i f f upon f o r e i g n goods, to create i n t h i s country a system of p r o t e c t i o n . 16 Two features of the r e s u l t i n g debate were outstanding.  In the f i r s t p l a c e , during i t a remarkable group of  14. 15.  Holland, op., c i t . . p. I b i d . . p. 398*  394.  16.  Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , March 12, 1906, v o l . 153, C 949.  17 maiden speeches was made—those of" P h i l i p Snowden, who endorsed Free Trade, and F. E. Smith, who described h i m s e l f as a "... p e r f e c t l y unrepentant Member of the T a r i f f Reform League,"  being e s p e c i a l l y  noteworthy.  I n the second  p l a c e , 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  c l e v e r speech which was a masterpiece of f o r e n s i c  skill;  when, hov/ever, he faced the Government w i t h a s e r i e s of questions based on very subtle but r a t h e r specious i n f e r e n ces which he had drawn from the wording of the r e s o l u t i o n , .Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman  r e p l i e d b l u n t l y and e f f e c t i v e l y ;  I have no answer to give to them. They a r e 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 f o r the purpose of occupying time i n t h i s debate. I say,, enough of t h i s f o o l e r y I I t might have answered very w e l l i n the l a s t Parliament, but i t i s a l t o g e t h e r 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 M i n i s t e r had scored over h i s 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 h i s 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 hims e l f unable to speak before the c l o s u r e , and when Lord R i d l e y withdrew a T a r i f f Reform motion i n the House of L o r d s — apparently a t the request of Lord Lansdowne. A f t e r t h i s s k i r m i s h , B a l f o u r avoided T a r i f f Reform completely i n h i s speeches f o r the r e s t 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 a c t i v e at t h i s time.  Behind the scenes, however, i t i s c l e a r that such extreme 21 f i s c a l reformers as Ivor Maxse  became i n c r e a s i n g l y d i s s a t i s -  f i e d a t the absence of i n s p i r i n g l e a d e r s h i p .  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 f o r some months by h i s family, who issued' i n the i n t e r i m the most o p t i m i s t i c b u l l e t i n s on his progress. While Chamberlain's f u t u r e was u n c e r t a i n , 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 a t any time to o b t a i n a d d i t i o n a l 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, c o n t i n -  ued; as e a r l y 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  F a l l and Winter schedule of meetings.  23  When,.'towards the end  of the year, i t was r e a l i z e d that Chamberlain's r e t u r n was p r o b l e m a t i c a l , the leadership of the movement passed i n t o the hands o f a group of h i s most ardent supporters, the most 24 zealous and i n f l u e n t i a l of whom was h i s 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 w i t h d i r e c t s o c i a l reform.  Here, f o r i n s t a n -  ce, i s Austen Chamberlain's d e s c r i p t i o n of h i s shrewd approach to a L i b e r a l - U n i o n i s t 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 s u c c e s s f u l j u s t so long as we combined, the two i d e a l s . 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 a s p i r a t i o n s on the second. We can only win by combining them again. Our p o l i c y on s o c i a l reform should not be l i 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 e x a c t l y the same stand i n a New Year's message p u b l i s h 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 w i t h 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. L e t t e r 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 t o keep t h e i r programme uppermost i n  that of the U n i o n i s t P a r t y , and i n which, i n t h i s respect, they were moderately s u c c e s s f u l .  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 a t large. Attention  has  already been d i r e c t e d to the f a c t  that  i n the c l o s i n g months of 1906 the e n t h u s i a s t i c T a r i f f Reformers were becoming i n c r e a s i n g l y i r r i t a t e d . a t Balfour's f a i l u r e to a l l u d e more f r e q u e n t l y t o t h e i r f a v o u r i t e t o p i c . discontent mounted as the year progressed.  This  An e a r l y i n d i c a -  t i o n of t h i s discontent was the a c t i o n of the Chairman of the Executive Committee of the T a r i f f Reform League, Lord R i d l e y , who wrote very f o r c i b l y on the subject to Austen Chamberlain 27 on January 15, 1907.  B a l f o u r himself was w e l l aware of the  f e e l i n g , but f o r four reasons very l o t h t o a c t .  He was con-  vinced t h a t party u n i t y must s t i l l . b e the f i r s t c o n s i d e r a t i o n , and he was e q u a l l y sure that i t would be t a c t i c a l f o l l y while 28 i n o p p o s i t i o n t o embrace a d e t a i l e d programme. i t i s very c l e a r from Hewins' observations  Furthermore,  a t t h i s time, that  Balfour s t i l l had h i s 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. I n December of 1906, Hewins noted i n h i s d i a r y : 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 s t r u c k me as being merely academic. He had no b u s i ness or economic o b j e c t i o n to food taxes, i n f a c t he rather l i k e d them. But he thought the e l e c t o r a t e would not stand them. He seemed to me to shrink from taxes on manufactures because of the complication of a t a r i f f .  29  A f t e r another meeting w i t h Balfour i n .'January, Hewins  recorded: Balfour s t r o n g l y objects to what he considers the T a r i f f Reform League to be, 30 and added: I t i s q u i t e evident t h a t B a l f o u r f e e l s q u i t e strong h o s t i l i t y not to Chamberlain's p o l i c y , but to h i s methods and a c t i o n s during the l a s t three years. 31 F i n a l l y , however, B a l f o u r d i d consent to repeat what  he had already s a i d so often before, but what, as he humor32 ously remarked i n a l e t t e r to h i s s e c r e t a r y , 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 N a t i o n a l 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 h i s 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 B a l f o u r t o l d Hewins that Chamberlain had never t o l d him of h i s plans f o r the T a r i f f Commission u n t i l i t s c r e a t i o n was announced.  31.  I b i d . , pp. 188 - 189.  32.  Dugdale, op. c i t . , v o l 2,, p.  33.  The Times. February 2, 1907,  34.  The Times. February 16, 1907,  44. p.  13.  p. 6.  122  U n i o n i s t s must never become wedded to a s i n g l e i d e a .  He  ex-  p l a i n e d h i s reasons f o r o b j e c t i n g to a d e t a i l e d stand i n o p p o s i t i o n , deprecated making T a r i f f Reform i n t o a t e s t question f o r U n i o n i s t s , l i k e n e d party squabbles over i t to the s t r i f e amongst the C h r i s t i a n s at Constantinople i n 1453, and saw no reason f o r i s s u i n g monthly b u l l e t i n s on h i s 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  U n i o n i s t 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 P a r t y — a l t h o u g h he had c e r t a i n l y not appeased the extremists on the T a r i f f Reform s i d e . One of the c h i e f problems f a c i n g the T a r i f f Reformers was the f a c t that t h e i r r e p r e s e n t a t i o n on the U n i o n i s t f r o n t bench was not n e a r l y as strong as i t was amongst the 36 rank and f i l e of the U n i o n i s t members. 35.  The Times. February 2, 1907, p. 6.  36.  Austen Chamberlain wrote on January 16 to Lord R i d l e y : Between ourselves, I b e l i e v e that there i s no ex-Cabinet M i n i s t e r on whose a s s i s t a n c e 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 F o r s t e r . Akers-Douglas i s always sympathetic, but of course he i s a P a r t y man before a l l things and never takes the l e a d . Walter Long i s w i t h us, but he i s more and more engrossed, as i s only n a t u r a l , w i t h 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. B a l f o u r seems to me very i m p r a c t i c a b l e , and?Alfred L y t t l e t o n , besides being i m p r a c t i c a b l e , w i l l not move at a l l unless i t i s agreeable to B a l f o u r . On the f r o n t bench, t h e r e f o r e , we have only Arnold Fors t e r , Bonar Law, Lee, Cochrane, and myself on whom any r e a l r e l i a n c e can be placed. C i t e d i n P e t r i e , op. c i t . , pp. 203 - 204.  123  They could exert t h e i r i n f l u e n c e on the 'Shadow Cabinet,' but i t o f t e n 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, w i t h the opening of the new  session of Parliament,  the U n i o n i s t s had to decide on the manner i n which f i s c a l reform would be r a i s e d i n the House.  The T a r i f f Reformers,  who were a l l i n favour of the i n t r o d u c t i o n of a strong amendment embodying t h e i r views i n the debate on the King's Address, found themselves faced w i t h considerable o p p o s i t i o n among the Party's l e a d e r s , e i t h e r to the i n t r o d u c t i o n of any amendment at a l l , or e l s e to the i n t r o d u c t i o n 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 s e c r e t , 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 l e d by  Austen Chamberlain, and i n c l u d i n g Lord R i d l e y , Bonar Law, S i r G i l b e r t Parker, E.A.  Goulding, J . W. H i l l s , A. Lee, and  J.F.  Remnant, had a p p l i e d the strongest pressure, and had l e t i t 38 be known that they would act independently, i f necessary, d i d the Shadow Cabinet c a p i t u l a t e , 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 r e g r e t that no reference i s made i n Your Majesty's speech to the approaching C o l o n i a l Conference, and to the opportunity thereby o f f e r e d f o r promoting f r e e r trade w i t h i n the Empire and c l o s e r commercial r e l a t i o n s with the Colonies on a p r e f e r e n t i a l basis." Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , 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 .  I n the r e s u l t i n g  debate B a l f o u r r a t h e r surprised everyone by e n j o i n i n g the Government to use the few d u t i e s 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 Unioni s t regime.  Perhaps h i s candour was to some degree provoked  by Rowland Hunt, a U n i o n i s t M.P. who had attacked him on the previous day. B a l f o u r , Hunt d e c l a r e d , "Thought of the great f r e e traders And thought of Cousin Hugh And so do a l l the wobblers 40 Who begin to wobble too." He entreated h i s leader t o descend from "...the Olympian 41 heights of philosophy and g o l f . " I n any event, the T a r i f f 42 Reformers were pleased w i t h B a l f o u r ' s e f f o r t ,  even though  i t s e f f e c t was reduced s h o r t l y t h e r e a f t e r when the L i b e r a l s f l a t l y asked him i f he favoured a t a x on food, and he refused to r e p l y . For  the balance of the 1907 s e s s i o n , 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 t a x a t i o n and l i m i t e d sources of revenue.  This was by no means a new a p p r o a c h —  40.  Hansard. (4th S e r . ) , 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 C h a n c e l l o r , 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 i n c r e a s i n g l y e f f e c t i v e one as the demands on the Treasury had obviously begun t o mount.  B a l f o u r probably was most  r e s p o n s i b l e f o r i t s r e v i v a l ; Austen Chamberlain hammered a t the subject when r e p l y i n g t o 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 v e i n on May 1, and Bonar Law f o l l o w e d 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 l a r g e number of t h e i r speakers championed v a r i o u s s o c i a l reform s - - i n c l u d i n g o l d age pensions—throughout the country, and advocated the use of a t a r i f f , rather than a d i r e c t t a x on land and r e a l property, as the source of the necessary funds. Lord M i l n e r became conspicuous i n t h i s endeavour, and by November was d e s c r i b i n g 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 a l s o objected more v i g o r o u s l y to B a l f o u r ' s 46 t o l e r a n t a t t i t u d e towards Free Fooders.  Jesse C o l l i n s , a  Birmingham M. P. and long-time a s s o c i a t e of Joseph Chamber43.  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. 46.  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1907, p. 251. E s p e c i a l l y i n the columns of The Morning Post, c f . TlTe. Annual R e g i s t e r , 1907, p_' 236.  126  l a i n , a t t r a c t e d much a t t e n t i o n when he declared on September 23, 1907  that "...the U n i o n i s t Party....was l i k e the 47  going through the wilderness without a Moses."  He  men claimed  to speak f o r a l a r g e number, probably the majority of Unioni s t members, when he added: The younger members chafing under the i n a c t i o n to which they were condemned. They had a leadership which created no conf u s i o n , but rather damaged i t ; they had a leadership h a l t i n g 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 e f f o r t s that were put forward to f u r t h e r t h a t , compared w i t h what those e f f o r t s ought to be were poor and puny. 48 w  e  r  e  I n the next month Austen Chamberlain wrote a long and serious l e t t e r to Mr. B a l f o u r on the p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n , i n which he r e f e r r e d to d e c l i n i n g L i b e r a l strength but Labour's r i s i n g p o p u l a r i t y . 49 t h e i r popular programme.  He a t t r i b u t e d the l a t t e r to  He appealed f o r a re-emphasis of  T a r i f f Reform, an endorsation of a c o n t r i b u t o r y Old  Age  Pensions scheme, a U n i o n i s t Land P o l i c y , and a P o l i c y w i t h regard to Sweated I n d u s t r i e s . The pressure thus exerted on B a l f o u r was undoubtedly timed to i n f l u e n c e h i s stand before the N a t i o n a l Union Conference i n November, 1907.  As the date f o r the  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.  gathering  127  approached, the T a r i f f Reform z e a l o t s 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 u r t h e r ; indeed, they went too f a r f o r The Times, which, though never as r a b i d as the Morning Post, had from May of 1903  s t r o n g l y supported t h e i r cause.  Thus, on the  very eve of the Party gathering at Birmingham, i t was prompted to advise c a u t i o n i n these words: These ardent advocates who are t r y i n g to f o r c e t a r i f f reform to the f r o n t , and, indeed, to make i t the e x c l u s i v e t e s t 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 t h i n k that the general conditions at the moment are favourable to t h e i r e n t e r p r i s e ? 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 e x i s t i n g system, be i t what i t may. This i s not a good time f o r f r e e - t r a d e r s i n p r o t e c t i o n i s t c o u n t r i e s , or f o r p r o t e c t i o n i s t s i n a f r e e - t r a d e country.... Suppose that a general e l e c t i o n were to occur s h o r t l y , and that the U n i o n i s t party won upon the t a r i f f reform question. Could i t carry t a r i f f reform s t r a i g h t 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 U n i o n i s t s , while i n c l u d i n g 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 i n t o a t e s t question or i n t o the e x c l u s i v e object of concern. 50 A c t u a l l y , when Balfour spoke on November 14 he came out very s t r o n g l y i n favour of T a r i f f Reform, i n an address which was often r e f e r r e d to i n l a t e r years.  Not only d i d he  repeat a l l of the points suggested to him by Austen Chamberl a i n , but he went f a r t h e r , and b o l d l y attacked the Government for missing great o p p o r t u n i t i e s at the Imperial Conference 50.  The Times, November 13, 1907, p. 11.  128  that year.  He sought to prove, i n a d d i t i o n , that the tremen-  dous increase i n the overseas acreage i n wheat, and the consequent d e c l i n e i n the p r i c e of that commodity, had  virtually 51  disproved the Free Trade case on the p r i c e of g r a i n . B a l f o u r was  so e f f e c t i v e i n s t a t i n g h i s p o s i t i o n that h i s  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 h i s leadership. I t was  i n the year 1908  that the t i d e f i r s t appeared  to t u r n , ;and to run strongly i n the d i r e c t i o n of T a r i f f form. J u s t why t h i s was  the case, and why  Re-  the swing took place  52 so r a p i d l y ,  i s not e n t i r e l y c l e a r .  probably were p r i m a r i l y responsible. change was  Three f a c t o r s however, In the f i r s t p l a c e , the  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 n a t u r a l swing of the pendulum ifrom i t s abnormal p o s i t i o n i n January, 1906.  Of primary importance was  the setback to B r i t a i n ' s economy which had r e s u l t e d from the American f i n a n c i a l c r i s i s i n 1907. 1909,  During the years 1908  and  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 s h i p b u i l d i n g i n d u s t r i e s came to an end, and the cost of l i v i n g , which had been slowly i n c r e a s i n g since 1900, began to r i s e more r a p i d l y . 51. Dugdale, op. c i t . , pp. 48-9. 52.  "Serious  As l a t e as November, 1907, the U n i o n i s t s were l o s i n g by-elections w i t h a smaller vote than they p o l l e d 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 d e c l i n e s i n the number of wage rates and a general d e c l i n e i n the amount of work paid f o r w i t h a r i s e , though a t i n y one, i n the average cost of l i v i n g l e d 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 o l d when the new trend began to make i t s e l f evident. On that day "... a great 54 s u r p r i s e to everyone ...." took place a t Mid Devon, where the L i b e r a l s l o s t a seat which they had held f o r 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 a c t i v e 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 w i t h l i t e r a 54a t u r e , and speakers.  These vans, i n c i d e n t a l l y , were under  the c o n t r o l of S i r Howard Vincent, now the Chairman of the L i t e r a t u r e Committee of the N a t i o n a l Union of Conservative A s s o c i a t i o n s , who, though he had taken a back seat since Chamberlain's move i n 1903, had '.'... never ceased h i s labours 55 or slackened i n h i s enthusiasm f o r the cause." The good news f o r 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 d e l i g h t e d the of another 53. Clapham, seat op. from c i t . ,the v o lGovernment. . 3, p. 59. On the f o l l o w i n g day by/winning/; 54. The Times. January 20, 1908, p. 9. 54a. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1908, p. 4. 55. Jeyes and How, op_. c i t . p. 333. 56. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1908, p. 27.  150  the Government r e t a i n e d South Leeds, but w i t h a g r e a t l y r e duced m a j o r i t y . Further encouragement was provided by a by57 e l e c t i o n success at Hastings on March 3, by a great Unioni s t v i c t o r y at Peckham, when H.G. Gooch became the new Union58 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 b y - e l e c t i o n occasioned by h i s e l e v a t i o n to the Presidency of the Board of Trade.  The :  s u c c e s s f u l U n i o n i s t , Joynson-Hicks, was himself none too keen a f i s c a l reformer, and concentrated on other issues i n h i s speeches—although he had disowned the support of the Union59 i s t Free Trade League. The T a r i f f Reform League, however, campaigned s t r o n g l y on h i s behalf, and C h u r c h i l l h i m s e l f saw the r e s u l t as a"heavy blow to the cause of L i b e r a l i s m and 60 Free Trade."  The L i b e r a l s 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 b i d made by Leopold Amery; t h e i r m a j o r i t y 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 R e g i s t e r . 1908, p. 30. 58. A brother of the h i s t o r i a n . 59. The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1908, p. 83. 60. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1908, p. 84. • The Times. February 8, 1908, p. 6. 6 1  presidents and v i c e - p r e s i d e n t s of the various branches l i s t e d i n the annual r e p o r t , a t l e a s t 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.  R i d l e y appealed f o r increased f i n a n c i a l support  i n view of a new £50,000 war chest being r a i s e d by the Free Trade League.  Apparently he got i t , f o r the Annual Register  declared, when d e s c r i b i n g the Peckham b y - e l e c t i o n , that "Money was poured i n t o the constituency, there were almost 62 as many.canvassers  as e l e c t o r s , . . . . "  The f o l l o w i n g excerpt from a l e t t e r of Austen Chambe r l a i n J s dated J u l y 9, 1908, gives some i n d i c a t i o n of the magnitude of the d r i v e being staged: F i r s t S i x Months of the Year: Subscriptions  1906 £2,000  1907 £6,000  1908 £8,400  Donations  £3,100  £2,000  £2,100  Sale of Monthly Notes  £  £  136  £ 215  T o t a l Income  £6,200  £8,500  £12,100  T o t a l Expenditure  £7,800  £5,500  £8,600  55  L e a f l e t s 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 publ i s h e d i n October, 10,000 copies were p r i n t e d ; only 400 remain i n hand. Number of meetings arranged from V i c t o r i a S t r e e t alone i n the. past s i x months was 241—approximate attendance 64,000—average net cost t o the League per meeting 10s. 5^d. P r e t t y good, i s i t not? 63 62.  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 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 i c y of g i v i n g the L i b e r a l s 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 permitted.  On March 24, f o r example, Mr. Goulding evoked a  short debate w i t h a motion proposing T a r i f f Reform and C o l o n i 64 a l Preference as a cure f o r unemployment. followed the now w e l l - f a m i l i a r l i n e s .  The d i s c u s s i o n  The T a r i f f  Reformers  r e f e r r e d to m i l l s being c l o s e d , or to t h e i r f i n i s h i n g m a t e r i als  l a r g e l y prepared abroad: the L i b e r a l s r e p l i e d w i t h the  u s u a l p l a u d i t s f o r B r i t i s h s h i p b u i l d e r s , and drew a t t e n t i o n to the number of unemployed i n p r o t e c t i o n i s t New York and Berlin. Again on May 26 a U n i o n i s t back bencher, Mr. Gwynne, the member f o r Galway, sought an opening by asking f o r a r e duction i n the excise duty on I r i s h grown tobacco. This Mr. Lloyd George stopped by d e s c r i b i n g the proposal as o u t r i g h t 65 protection. red  A f u r t h e r i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s technique occur-  on June 1 when the U n i o n i s t s returned to the cry so dear  to Mr. B a l f o u r ' s h e a r t — t h e need f o r broadening the basis of t a x a t i o n "... i n view of the growing l i a b i l i t i e s of the n a t i o n 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 S e r . ) , 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 t o 124, but Lord Robert C e c i l and other U n i o n i s t 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 i n t o o p p o s i t i o n hands; as e a r l y as February 28 Mr. L l o y d George c a l l e d f o r a bold stand against the T a r i f f Reformers. The L i b e r a l s were w e l l aware that the increase i n the cost of bread had cost them many b y - e l e c t i o n v o t e s , andj t h e r e f o r e , 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 o p i n i o n that the recent h i g h p r i c e of bread i n t h i s country i s due to n a t u r a l causes alone, and. that any import duty on wheat would tend to r a i s e the p r i c e s t i l l higher 68 and aggravate the s u f f e r i n g caused by dear bread.... Leese sought to j u s t i f y h i s motion i n these words: A c a r d i n a l feature of the T a r i f f Reform League was the t a x a t i o n of wheat. F u r t h e r , the T a r i f f Reform League had captured the Tory P a r t y , i t s o r g a n i z a t i o n , i t s money, i t s s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l i n f l u e n c e , and l a s t , but by no means l e a s t , i t s Leader. I t had a l s o 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 a s p i r a t i o n s of the T a r i f f Reform League were now the p o l i t i c a l a s p i r a t i o n s of the Tory Party. 69 The ensuing debate can be r e a d i l y dismissed f o r i t was l a r g e l y concerned w i t h the r e l a t i v e p r i c e of g r a i n and bread i n France and England, and w i t h the reasons f o r any d i f f e r e n t i a l s .  67.  Hansard, (4th S e r . ) , June 2, 1908, v o l . 189, c. 1795.  68.  I b i d . March 4\, 1908, v o l . 185, c. 774.  69.  Ibid.  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 l u d i c r o u s slogans used i n the b y - e l e c t i o n 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 D a y — t h e r e f o r e t a r i f f reform means s t a r v a t i o n . 70 A vote f o r Goulding means p r o t e c t i o n , a vote f o r p r o t e c t i o n means h o r s e f l e s h 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 t h i s nonsense. A much more e f f e c t i v e L i b e r a l r e p l y to the T a r i f f Reformers was contained  i n Mr. Asquith's  1908 budget, f o r ,  i n s p i t e of the confident p r e d i c t i o n s of the former that he had reached the l i m i t of Free Trade f i n a n c i n g , he managed not only to make p r o v i s i o n f o r the i n t r o d u c t i o n of Old Age Pensions, but a l s o 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 w i t h t h i s "...Budget of post o b i t s "  as  the D a i l y M a i l n e a t l y described i t , was to point f o r the need a year hence f o r a g r e a t l y increased revenue, not only to take care of a f u l l twelve months' operation of the Pensions scheme, but a l s o to meet r i s i n g naval  expenditure.  Even the Spectator, the staunch organ of the U n i o n i s t Free 73 Traders took up the c r y . 70.  Hansard (4th S e r . ) , March 4, 1908, v o l . 185 c. 790..  71.  I b i d . . c 802.  72.  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1908, p. 100.  73.  Loc. c i t .  t  135  Before the summer was over, sugar a c t u a l l y became a source of embarrassment to the Government, which was faced w i t h the problem of renewing or dropping i t s adherence to the Brussels Sugar Convention.  I t undoubtedly, a l i e n a t e d 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 t o 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 A s q u i t h warned the  N a t i o n a l L i b e r a l Federation of the menace (June 18), the Government l o s t another b y - e l e c t i o n , t h i s time at P u d s e y — 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 d i d not l a c k i n resourcef u l n e s s , and continued to defend t h e i r c i t a d e l v i g o r o u s l y . They d i d not h e s i t a t e to stage i n London from August  4-7,  the f i r s t I n t e r n a t i o n a l Free Trade Congress, attended by over f i v e hundred delegates from a l l parts of the world, and cheer74. The Right Hon. S.T.Lough, Parliamentary Secretary, of the Board of Education i n the L i b e r a l A d m i n i s t r a t i o n 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 M i n i s t r y " published i n The Contemporary Review f o r June, 1908, v o l . 93, pp. ;;679-691. He regretted that the n e g o t i a t i o n s had f a l l e n under the c o n t r o l of S i r Edward Grey, whom he r e garded as unduly i n f l u e n c e d by h i s experiences as a Chamberlain-appointed Commissioner to the West Indies i n 1896. 75.  Austen Chamberlain was d e l i g h t e d , and wrote to h i s stepmother: "Bravo PudseyI What a s u r p r i s e . P i k e Pease was very h o p e f u l , but I simply d i d n ' t b e l i e v e a win to be p o s s i b l e . Alex Hood (The U n i o n i s t Whip) s a i d to me today: "Hughes won that seat. They were going to l o s e i t l i k e South Leeds. The same man was p l a y i n g 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 c o n t r i b u t i o n to world peace, and A s q u i t h 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 d i d they h e s i t a t e to use the crudest means to hammer home the dear l o a f c r y .  In November the Free Trade Union had  sandwichmen parading i n C a r d i f f w i t h placards reading Is Mr. B a l f o u r a T a r i f f Reformer? Who Knows? W i l l he tax c o a l and r u i n C a r d i f f ? W i l l he tax bread?—Wool?—Meat? 77 These questions the C a r d i f f Free Traders mailed to B a l f o u r . He d i d not r e p l y . In s p i t e of these counter a t t a c k s , however, by December 1908 the T a r i f f Reformers had every reason to be s a t i s f i e d w i t h 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 f o e , and there was no reason to b e l i e v e that they would be checked.  An exuberant enthusiasm swept the movement.  One a d d i t i o n a l development i n the f i s c a l controversy i n 1908, and an expression of t h i s r i s i n g confidence, was the p u b l i c r e v e l a t i o n that a s m a l l group of the most ardent T a r i f f Reformers was working a s s i d u o u s l y to e l i m i n a t e U n i o n i s t Free Free Food r e p r e s e n t a t i o n i n Parliament.  As  e a r l y as January 10, 1908 Lord B a l f o u r of B u r l e i g h 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 R e g i s t e r . 1908, p. 825.  137  doubted the Party's a b i l i t y to c o n t r o l 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 t h a t 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 U n i o n i s t members. Lord Newton records that many Free Fooders, headed by Lord Cromer, bombarded Lord Lansdowne 81 w i t h l e t t e r s p r o t e s t i n g 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 remark82 able a r t i c l e i n the N a t i o n a l Review.  He claimed that the  ranks included "... s e v e r a l well-known peers and a number of Members of Parliament, a l a r g e p r o p o r t i o n of U n i o n i s t Candidates, and a l s o many prominent men i n the l i t e r a r y world, a l l of whom, whole-hearted and ardent I m p 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 Re83 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 d i c a t i o n s that h i s p o l i c y might be s i d e t r a c k e d , and p o l i c y making, from the s t a r t , was placed i n the hands of an annually78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83.  The Times, January 11, 1909, p. 7. The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1908, p. 3. The Times, March 19,1909, p. 11. Lord Newton, op. c i t . , p. 367. A Confederate, HThe ~C6nf ederacv.tCThe N a t i o n a l Review, January 1909, v o l . LII,'pp. 741 - 7. A Confederate, op. c i t . , p. 742.  PUNCH, OR T H E LONDON* CHARIVARI.—JAMIAIIY  PEACEFUL  22, 1908.  PEESUASION.  FIRST C.IKKKDKIIATE. " H E R E C O M E S (H'U MAN. GOT Y O U R STICK R E A D Y ? " SKI.WI) C. "DON'T Y O U WORRY, I'LL K N O C K HIM OCT." FIRST C. "OOOD! B U T R E M E M K E K ARTHUR'S O R D E R S - NO OSTRACISM." [ I t i b 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 Kree T r a d e U n i o n i n t b e i n g even M-lerted aa a C a n d i d a t e - b y the C u n a e r v a t i r e  here depicted, a n d hare i w o r o to  Association ]  138  elected C o u n c i l of Twelve, "... to whose decrees every new 84 member on h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n i n t o 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 r e g u l a r l y received from a l l constituencies.  The Confederacy, he added, was prepared  "... to a s s i s t any o p p o s i t i o n movement (to U n i o n i s t Free 85 Fooders) w i t h funds." The most i n t e r e s t i n g f e a t u r e of h i s r e v e l a t i o n s was the f r a n k explanation which he gave f o r these d r a s t i c moves. Apparen.tly the Confederates' a c t i o n s were based on the b e l i e f 86 r  t h a t "... the l a s t p r o s e l y t e has been made  and that  there was no f u r t h e r hope of winning over the Free Fooders. They were a l s o rooted i n the c o n v i c t i o n (as a t January, 1909) that i n the next e l e c t i o n the U n i o n i s t Party stood t o r e c e i v e 87 a m a j o r i t y of from t h i r t y t o f i f t y seats.  F i f t e e n black  sheep would consequently, be i n a p o s i t i o n t o k i l l T a r i f f 84. A Confederate, op_. c i t . , p. 743. Reform i n the House, and d i s c r e d i t i t i n the country. The 85. Loc. c i t . ( I n s e r t i o n 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 convict i o n s , and j u s t 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 a u t h o r i t a t i v e an estimate which a t 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 , t h e r e f o r e , were t o be e l i m i n a t e d , and great care was to be taken t o see that they were not replaced by o t h e r s . I t i s only p o s s i b l e t o speculate who the members of the Committee of Twelve were.  I t i s d o u b t f u l i f Austen  Chamberlain was f o r m a l l y a member of the group, and y e t h i s l e t t e r s made i t very p l a i n that he sympathized and worked w i t h them.  He wrote, f o r 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 o f 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 e a r l y b y - e l e c t i o n i n Winston C h u r c h i l l ' s cons t i t u e n c y through h i s promotion t o the Cabinet, that unless Joynson-Hicks, the accepted Conserv a t i v e candidate, would unreservedly accept B a l f o u r ' s Birmingham programme, we would r u n 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 f a c t o r y 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 c l e a r that Goulding and H.A. Gwynne-f of The Standard were a c t i v e i n seeking t o oust the h e r e t i c s , and were i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y l e a d i n g Confederates.  I n that month both men came t o see Chamberlain  on s e v e r a l occasions about the p o 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 f o r whom they were prepared t o make some concession. Austen wrote on February 14 I t o l d him ( i . e . Gwynne) that the only compromise p o s s i b l e was that Bob should not be opposed i f he undertook not t o oppose a U n i o n i s t Gorernment, 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  h i s pledge, he meant to he a f r i e n d of a U n i o n i s t and T a r i f f Reform Government, and that these terms were f o r Bob and not f o r others. 89 Eventually the 'negotiations' w i t h Lord Robert broke down, and an agreement w i t h him was not reached u n t i l l a t e r i n the year, when h i s b r o t h e r - i n - l a w , Lord Selborne, home on leave from h i s Governor Generalship of South A f r i c a , interceded on 90 his behalf. A few a d d i t i o n a l names can probably be added to the l i s t of Confederates, f o r i n January, 1909 The D a i l y 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 category.  I n t e r e s t i n g l y enough, Lord R i d l e y , the Chairman of the  Executive Committee of the T a r i f f Reform League, d i s c l a i m e d 91 any connection w i t h the Confederacy on January 28,  1909.  I t was during the year 1909 that T a r i f f Reform prospects reached t h e i r peak; i t was a l s o during t h i s year t h a t the f a t a l d e c i s i o n was made which, i n the l a s t a n a l y s i s , was to postpone i t s a p p l i c a t i o n f o r over twenty y e a r s . The e a r l y months of the year f u r n i s h e d great promise 92 of Success. The U n i o n i s t 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, " U n i o n i s t Opposition and I m p e r i a l Democracy," The Nineteenth Century. November, 1909, v o l . 66, pp. 733742, p. 740. 91. The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1909, p. 5. 92. In the F a l l of the year Mr. Fabian Vfcire, the e d i t o r of the Morning Post, was w r i t i n g : " S i x 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 s t r o n g l y i n favour of a f i s c a l amendment t o 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 a t t e n t i o n to I r e l a n d ; " 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 f u r t h e r augmented i t s e f f o r t s , and f e a r s 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 a s s i s t e d i t . The b y - e l e c t i o n s continued to run h e a v i l y 98 against the Government. The L i b e r a l s themselves r e g i s t e r e d open alarm; a t a mass meeting held i n the Queen's H a l l on March 9 the Prime M i n i s t e r himself echoed such f e a r s , and 99 c a l l e d f o r volunteers to f i g h t the menace. Furthermore, 93.  On February 15 Austen Chamberlain was able to quote w i t h 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 U n i o n i s t Whip to a Free Food M.P. a t 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 S e r . ) , 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 w i t h 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 R e g i s t e r . 1909, p. 45.  98.  eg. a t Croydon, March 29, 1909. 1909, p. 11.  99.  The Times, March 10, 1909, p. 12.  The Times, March 30,  142  Balfour embraced the T a r i f f Reform creed w i t h new z e a l as the year progressed. On March 12, 1909, a t a luncheon given to him by the T a r i f f Reform League Executive he d i r e c t e d h i s most s a r c a s t i c r a i l l e r y against the inconsistency of a Government 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 t o 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  legislation,  the increased cost of the 1909 naval programme, and the apparent r e v e r s a l of the business c y c l e had faced Mr. Lloyd George w i t h a major budgetary c r i s i s .  For a t l e a s t two years innum-  erable T a r i f f Reform speakers had followed Mr. B a l f o u r ' 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 p r e d i c t i n g 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 a t a l l . I have got to rob 101 somebody's hen roost next year."  S u r e l y , they f e l t ,  1909  was the year of v i c t o r y . I t was, t h e r e f o r e , f i r s t a profound shock, and then a matter of growing dismay to them when, i n h i s famous f i v e hour budget speech of A p r i l 30, 1909, Mr. Lloyd George was able to make p r o v i s i o n f o r a l l current expenses, and f o r some increases i n the f u t u r e , 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 S e r . ) , June 29, 1908, v o l . 191, c 395.  143  Nevertheless, although the t o r r e n t of denunciation hurled against the Finance B i l l was v i o l e n t from the begin102 n i n g , 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 e a r l y stages of the b a t t l e the T a r i f f Reformers counted on p u t t i n g up no more than a s p o i l i n g f i g h t , securing p o s s i b l y a few amendments and d e l e t i o n s , before i t s eventual passage.  Apparently  i t was  because of t h i s f a c t , and a l s o because of the added considerat i o n that there was a good d e a l of L i b e r a l o p p o s i t i o n to the Budget i n 'clubland and c i t y land,' that the T a r i f f Reformers agreed t o the c r e a t i o n of a Budget P r o t e s t League on nonparty l i n e s , and d i d not i n s i s t that i t advocate any c o n s t r u c t i v e programme. L i t t l e d i d they a n t i c i p a t e the r e s u l t of what was, i n r e a l i t y , a major though temporary concession t o the Free Fooders. When the B a t t l e of the Budget was joined a l l other issues were e c l i p s e d by i t .  The U n i o n i s t s ( f o r the Budget  P r o t e s t League a t t r a c t e d few L i b e r a l s ) found themselves f i g h t ing almost e x c l u s i v e l y on negative l i n e s , denouncing the budget as s o c i a l i s m and worse, but s t r e s s i n g nothing i n i t s place.  This  approach turned out t o be d i s a s t r o u s ; i n the  e a r l y summer, while T a r i f f Reform remained i n abeyance the L i b e r a l s 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 een months.  eight-  "What i s known on the c r i c k e t f i e l d as a ' r o t '  102. Chamberlain, A., op_. c i t . . pp. 177-8.  144  then set i n on the U n i o n i s t s i d e . . . .  There followed s i x blank  w e e k s . . P a n i c reigned among T a r i f f Reformers...." who "...  the U n i o n i s t Party f a l l i n g away from t h e i r  saw 103  creed."  Eventually i n mid-summer the Budget P r o t e s t 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 what r e l i e v e d . year was now  some-  But the confidence of the early months of the  completely missing, and i t was an angry p a r t y ,  conscious of the f a c t that i t had been completely out-manoeuvred 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 p e r i o d , they came to the c o n c l u s i o n that the Budget must be r e j e c t e d at a l l c o s t s . 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 m a j o r i t y made i t s f i n a l passage there a c e r t a i n t y . course, the House of Lords.  That l e f t but one r e -  To i t , the T a r i f f Reformers  turned. There could be no doubt t h a t Lloyd George had them i n a very d i f f i c u l t p o s i t i o n .  placed  The features of the Bud-  get which aroused the most intense o p p o s i t i o n — t h e tax on undeveloped land, the supertax, and the tax on the unearned-increment—had no d i r e c t e f f e c t on 90 percent of the population, 103.  Ware, op., c i t . . pp. 739-740.  145  and a t t a c k i n g them, even when o f 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 U n i o n i s t s wide open to the charge that they wished to finance Old Age Pensions and b a t t l e s h i p cons t r u c t i o n , not by p l a c i n g the heaviest burden on the back, but by taxing food and consumer goods.  broadest  On the other  hand, the Budget d i d 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 c h a l 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 the Government's h a n d s — l e a v i n g  into  the U n i o n i s t Party open to  charges to which there was no r e a l answer. I t was during these t r y i n g 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 U n i o n i s t Party's l e a d e r s h i p f i r s t became c l e a r l y evident.  B a l f o u r and Lansdowne d i d l i t t l e but swim  w i t h the t i d e , and when they d i d move i t was to support Lords.' veto.  the  In t h e i r defence i t can be argued t h a t , having  already gone so f a r towards the complete T a r i f f Reform p o s i t i o n , they were i n r e a l i t y q u i t e unable to do anything e l s e , without i r r e p a r a b l y destroying the P a r t y . Even h i s most v i t r o l i c U n i o n i s t d e t r a c t o r admits that B a l f o u r i n p a r t i c u l a r was now the h e l p l e s s v i c t i m of circumstances.  Although, however, t h i s was the case by  September of 1909, i t must a l s o be appreciated that the event 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 e a r l y  146 • 105 assApril, befo'ke; such a move had become the e s t a b l i s h e d p o l i c y 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 a c t i o n i s so v u l n e r a b l e here i s based on t h i s f a c t , f o r had he moved r e s o l u t e l y a t t h i s e a r l y date by threatening to r e s i g n unless the Party eschewed any such i d e a , he could have saved the day.  Instead he l e t stronger forces steer the  ship throughout the summer, and when he put h i s hand to the wheel i n September, i t was to make i t c l e a r that h i s r e s i g 106 n a t i o n would be forthcoming i f the Lords passed the measure. Furthermore, on t h i s occasion B a l f o u r was ahead of Lansdowne i n reaching a d e c i s i o n ; i t was not u n t i l e a r l y i n October that the Party Leader i n the Upper House seems to have made 107 up h i s 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 i n t o 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 M i l n e r .  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 d e c i s i o n made under duress, and agree that t105. h e i r The subjects h e i r f up. l l 78. share of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y Annual must R e g i sbear t e r . t 1909, 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 P e e l , " The F o r t n i g h t l y Review. August, 1913, v o l . 94, pp. 215223, p. 220.  147  f o r the Lords' a c t i o n .  109  I t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y hard to under-  stand why B a l f o u r made such a c a r d i n a l mistake, f o r 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 f o r e s i g h t , but he had on s e v e r a l occasions i n h i s e a r l i e r Parliamentary career come out b o l d l y against the very 110 type of a c t i o n which he was now countenancing. On the other hand, i t would be m a n i f e s t l y u n f a i r t o ignore the tremendous pressure exerted on these men by v a r i ous sections of the U n i o n i s t P a r t y , and p a r t i c u l a r l y by the T a r i f f Reformers.  I n the l a s t a n a l y s i s i t was t h e i r i n f l u -  ence which was d e c i s i v e ; had they been u n w i l l i n g t o approve any d r a s t i c a c t i o n by the Lords, i t i s probable that B a l f o u r and Lansdowne would have come t o a d i f f e r e n t c o n c l u s i o n . 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 h e a v i l y  f o r the course eventually adopted.  I n a notable l e t t e r which  was read t o a vast multitude a t Birmingham on September 2 2 — i n B a l f o u r ' s p r e s e n c e — t h e Father of T a r i f f Reform declared his  position: I hope the House of Lords w i l l see t h e i r way c l e a r to f o r c e a general e l e c t i o n , and I do not doubt i n t h i s case what the v e r d i c t w i l l be. The Prime M i n i s t e r seeks to represent the Budget as an advantage to working men. But I looked i n t o 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.  C i t e d i n P e e l , op., c i t . . p. 42. (Our L i b r a r y l a c k s 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 s u b s t i t u t e f o r 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 e f f e c t on the rank and f i l e of the Party.  Not a l l U n i o n i s t s agreed  w i t h i t ; but unhappily i t s leading opponents, Lords S t . Aldwyn, Cromer, Balfour of B u r l e i g h and James of Hereford, were f i s 112 c a l h e r e t i c s , and t h e i r advice was, t h e r e f o r e , suspect. Some moderate T a r i f f Reformers seem to have advised a g a i n s t 113 i t (F.E. Smith, f o r one);  they a l s o were unable to deter  B a l f o u r and h i s a s s o c i a t e s .  Indeed, i t i s i n 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 responsi b i l i t y f o r the U n i o n i s t d e c i s i o n on the Budget squarely on 114 the  shoulders of Mr. Chamberlain h i m s e l f .  What, i n the  l a s t a n a l y s i s , makes the case a g a i n s t the T a r i f f Reformers so strong i s t h e ^ f a c t that the U n i o n i s t Free Food Peers voted for  the Budget, w h i l e 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 tItIeIr. read on September 22 he was echoing a 111. See Appendix 112. c f . Ensor, op,, c i t . . p. 415. 113. Birkenhead, E a r l o f , Frederick Edwin. E a r l of Birkenhead. London, Thornton Butterworth, L i m i t e d , v o l . 1, 1933,p.198. 114. T a y l o r , 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 P a r t y .  Two days pre-  v i o u s l y Austen had w r i t t e n him of B a l f o u r ' s i n s i s t e n c e that the Lords must r e j e c t the Budget, and that T a r i f f Reform was 116 the only a l t e r n a t i v e t o i t . Furthermore, e a r l i e r i n the same month, Austen had quoted the Party Whip as f o l l o w s : A l l our people are s p o i l i n g f o r 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 a t b o i l i n g p o i n t . 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 t o b r i n g i n a b r i b i n g Budget next year, my agents won't answer f o r the r e s u l t . 117 :  In any event, once the die'had been c a s t , and an e l e c t i o n had been made i n e v i t a b l e , the U n i o n i s t s 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 a l t e r n a t i v e t o the s o c i a l i s m of the Budget.  Bal-  four l e d the way i n proclaiming i t as the f i r s t c o n s t r u c t i v e plank o f the U n i o n i s t P a r t y , the only true source of domestic s e c u r i t y , and the only r e a l basis f o r s o l v i n g the problem of 118 the day. Lansdowne l i s t e d the issues as T a r i f f Reform, 119 s i n g l e chamber government, and s o c i a l i s m .  Joseph Chamber-  l a i n s i m i l a r l y sought to center a t t e n t i o n on T a r i f f Reform, and t o minimize the i s s u e o f the Lords' a c t i o n , i n h i s address 120 to the e l e c t o r s of West Birmingham. 116.  Chamberlain, A., O J J . c i t . , pp. 182-3.  117 • I b i d . . p. 181. 118.  P e e l , O J J . c i t . . pp. 51 - 2; eg. The Times. January 11 and 12, 1910, p. 7.  119. 120.  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1909, p. 259. The D a i l y Express. December 30, 1909, p. 4.  15G 122 and Curzon, a convert to T a r i f f Reform 123 a f t e r the i n t r o d u c t i o n of the 1909 Budget, l e d a host of Milner  121  Peers who stumped the country w i t h the same c r y .  Tariff  Reform, a strong Navy, and the Union of the Empire were the 124 bases of Austen Chamberlain's campaigning.  I n t h e i r deter-  mination to make the e l e c t i o n a t e s t of the f i s c a l question, the U n i o n i s t s appear to have been q u i t e s u c c e s s f u l , f o r the Annual R e g i s t e r noted a t the year's end t h a t such issues as the Osborne D e c i s i o n , Home Rule, Church Schools and the cons t i t u t i o n a l question "... seemed g e n e r a l l y to be t h r u s t i n t o 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 f a c t 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 r e l a t e t h e i r causes to the p r e v a i l i n g sentiments of the day. The s i g n i f i c a n c e , f o r example, of P r e s i d e n t Taft's addressing a crowd of unemployed i n New York provoked a long s e r i e s of 126 arguments. Another issue centered around Mr. B a l f o u r ' s 127 c l a i m t h a t Germany d i d 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 R e g i s t e r . 1909, p. 273.  126'. eg. The D a i l y Express. December 15, 1909, p. 4. 127. The Times. January 5, 1910, p. 7.  151  and Mr. Lloyd George's counter a s s e r t i o n that T a r i f f Reform 128 was a German i d e a . Even more remarkable was the magnitude of the v i s u a l appeal: On both sides shops were taken i n various c o n s t i t u e n c i e s and t h e i r windows f i l l e d r e s p e c t i v e l y w i t h a r t i c l e s "made i n Germany" and dumped i n England, and w i t h r e p u l s i v e specimens of food a l l e g e d to be eaten by the "protected" German workmen, or of bread made according to an E n g l i s h r e c i p e of the Corn-law p e r i o d . Grotesque mistakes were made on both s i d e s ; some of the a r t i c l e s shown were spurious, and n a t i o n a l d i f f e r e n c e s i n t a s t e and standard of l i v i n g were ignored; and some of the phases of the controversy must have given f o r e i g n e r s a low o p i n i o n 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 p a r t i e s d i s p l a y e d 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 i n t e r e s t i n g development during the campaign was provided on December 8, 1909, when the Birmingham Post departed from the g e n e r a l i t i e s i n which the f i s c a l question was o r d i n a r i l y discussed to p u b l i s h a very concrete s t a t e 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 a p p l i e d to p r a c t i c a l l y a l l goods except those deemed to be raw m a t e r i a l s , although i t sought to d i s c l a i m any p r o t e c t i o n i s t i n t e n t on German and American l i n e s .  The revenue therefrom, i t pre-  d i c t e d , would range from £16—£20,000,000. 128. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1910, p. 12. 129. I b i d . 1910, pp. 1 - 2.  152  The proposed t a r i f f was d i v i d e d i n t o three s c a l e s : the h i g h e s t , ranging from 12j to 15%—to  be d i r e c t e d against countries  p e n a l i z i n g B r i t i s h goods; the middle scale of 10%; and the reduced scale f o r c o l o n i a l produce of l\%.  Remarkably, the  p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s scheme appears t o have a t t r a c t e d l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n ; 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 d i m u n i t i o n of C o l o n i a l preference. As the campaign approached i t s climax i n January, 131 1910, the U n i o n i s t s 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 u n i t y which i t had not known f o r seven years.  The Spectator, which i n 1906 had c a l l e d upon  U n i o n i s t 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 l e s s e r of two e v i l s . Further encouragement f o r the U n i o n i s t cause was drawn from the marked d i v e r s i o n of p u b l i c a t t e n t i o n 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 f o l l o w i n g e d i t o r i a l from the D a i l y 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 f o r e i g n e r u n r e s t r i c t e d and untaxed access to our markets f o r h i s surplus goods, to bang and b o l t the door i n the face of our kinsmen overseas, and to watch ourselves go bankrupt f o r l a c k of revenue. To vote f o r the government i s to vote f o r unemployment, f o r s t a r v a t i o n , and f o r the f o r e i g n 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 l a b o u r , against the Dominions of the Empire, and against a l l the elements of ordinary common sense, p. 4. 132. 133.  The Spectator, January 15, 1910, pp. 80 - 81. (See p. 153)  153  men from the ranks of L i b e r a l Free Traders.  134  On the eve of the e l e c t i o n i t s e l f Arthur B a l f o u r and Joseph Chamberlain sought to o f f s e t the L i b e r a l attacks on the 'Dear L o a f by i s s u i n g a j o i n t d e c l a r a t i o n maintaining that T a r i f f Reform "...would not increase the cost of l i v i n g of the working c l a s s e s or t h e i r p r o p o r t i o n of taxat i o n but would make i t p o s s i b l e to reduce the e x i s t i n g t a x a t i o n on a r t i c l e s consumed by the working c l a s s , would lessen unemployment and would develop trade with the B r i t i s h 135 Dominions overseas. " Meanwhile, the L i b e r a l s made good use of a l l the weapons i n the Free Trade armoury, and, i n a d d i t i o n , denounced the s e l f i s h n e s s of the p r i v i l e g e d c l a s s e s . s i b l e , they sought to r e l a t e the two c r i e s . 133. The Annual R e g i s t e r .  Where pos-  Asquith, f o r  1909, p. 273.  A f t e r the e l e c t i o n The Spectator explained i t s stand very c l e a r l y when i t declared: "We are a b s o l u t e l y convinced that Free Trade i s the only wise p o l i c y f o r these i s l a n d s to pursue. We are a l s o convinced that Free Trade i s based upon e t e r n a l 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 p r o p o s i t i o n i s that the k i n d of S o c i a l i s m 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 p r a c t i c e f a r l e s s i n j u r i o u s than the kind of S o c i a l i s m 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 b a n k e r — f o r m e r l y S i r John Lubbock) and S i r Robert G i f f e n (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-oniVerts 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 R e g i s t e r . 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 l e a s t well-to-do members of 136 the community an undue share of the common burden. " The L i b e r a l s were a l s o s i n g u l a r l y fortunate i n that almost from the very moment that Lloyd George had shattered U n i o n i s t hopes by i n t r o d u c i n g h i s 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 i n v e s t -  ment at home and abroad increased.  With j u s t i f i c a t i o n ,  t h e r e f o r e , the L i b e r a l s were able to j o i n t h e i r Chancellor of the Exchequer i n boasting: Trade i s recovering r a p i d l y from a blow which came from America. Unemployment i s d i m i n i s h i n g , f o r e i g n 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 f a c t o r of considerable importance at the p o l l s i n thwarting the dreams of the f i s c a l  reformers.  A c t u a l l y , the e l e c t o r a l r e s u l t s s u r p r i s e d and d i s 139 appointed  both s i d e s .  The L i b e r a l s 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 P a r t i e s .  The U n i o n i s t s , 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. 136. 137. 138. 139.  Undoubtedly U n i o n i s t  The Times, January 13, 1910, p. 7. Clapham, op. c i t . . v o l . 3, p. 60. The Times. January 1, 1910, p. 6. (See p. 155).  155  gains were to a major degree due t o the f a c t 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 j u s t as d e f i n i t e l y , the continuance o f the L i b e r a l s i n power was, t o a very great 141 extent, the r e s u l t of a s t i l l strong adherence t o 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 t o the Chamberlainites, however, f o r i t r e s u l t e d i n the complete a n n i h i l a t i o n o f the U n i o n i s t Free Food wing i n the Commons. Austen Chamberlain was now able t o quote w i t h enthusiasm the p r i v a t e d e c l a r a t i o n of the U n i o n i s t 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) a t once."  The T a r i f f Reformers were o b v i -  ously pleased t o note the d i s c q r d which openly reigned i n Free Food c i r c l e s , and which, i n March, 1910 r e s u l t e d i n the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n of the U n i o n i s t Free Trade Club.  Some former  members of t h i s body followed Lord Cromer i n t o a new c o n s t i t u t i o n a l Free Trade A s s o c i a t i o n , which, i n a l l other matters, 139.  (From p. 154.) Party standing a t Dissolution Liberals Labour Nationalists Unionists  373 46 83 167  Mew House 274 41 71 272  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 L t d . , 1933, p. 104.  142.  C i t e d by Austen Chamberlain i n a l e t t e r t o h i s stepmother, February 20, 1910, Chamberlain, on,, c i t . , pp. 201-2. I n s e r t - mine.  156  adhered to the orthodox U n i o n i s t programme.  Others followed  Lord James of Hereford, Mr. A. E l l i o t and S i r F. P o l l o c k i n t o 143 the Cobdenite Free Trade Union, after issuing a circular which declared i n p a r t : I t i s evident from the r e s u l t s of the l a s t e l e c t i o n that the cause of T a r i f f Reform, backed as i t i s by an o r g a n i z a t i o n of great resources both i n v/ealth and energy, has gained ground among the e l e c t o r s , e s p e c i a l l y i n the midland and southern parts of England. I t s supporters have already succeeded i n d r i v i n g out of Parliament every U n i o n i s t Free Trade member w i t h 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 imposs i b l e f o r a Free-trader to get any U n i o n i s t A s s o c i a t i o n 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 p o s s i b l e , but, i n the o p i n i o n of some of us, probable, that the next Parliament w i l l cont a i n a m a j o r i t y of U n i o n i s t 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 a c t i o n or i n a c t i o n of Free-traders during the next few months.... I t i s of the utmost importance that some strong o r g a n i z a t i o n should e x i s t .... F o r t u n a t e l y such an o r g a n i z a t i o n 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 d i s c o m f i t u r e of i t s opponents, i t strove to exceed i n 1910 the prodigous e f f o r t s which i t had made i n the 145 preceding year.  E s p e c i a l a t t e n t i o n 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 estab143.  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1910, p. 66.  144.  The Times. March 23, 1910, p. 8.  145.  In i t s report f o r 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 t h i r t e e n months ending i n January, 1910. The Times. March 29, 1910, p. 8.  157  lishment of some t h i r t e e n new branches w i t h a t o t a l member146 ship exceeding 4,000 i n that country. Two months l a t e r an 147 a d d 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 U n i o n i s t Party to do a l l i n i t s power to provoke a general 148 e l 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 a t 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 p r a c t i c e s 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 e x h i b i t e d was f r e q u e n t l y 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 w i t h 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 encourage h i s c h i e f 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 B a l f o u r  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. 150.  The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1910, pp. 222-23. 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 nothing w i l l shake him. ardent missionary.  Reformer,  I t i s a r e l i g i o n and he becomes i t s 151  These are our best workers."  Signifi-  cantly a l s o he expressed the hope that the f i s c a l campaign would soon be t r a n s f e r r e d 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 Chamberl a i n ' s wish was to be granted.  When he introduced the u s u a l  f i s c a l amendment i n the House on February 23, 1910 B a l f o u r 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 s a n e — e s p e c i a l l y when contrasted w i t h many of the others d e l i v e r e d a t 153 t h i s time. The amendment was r e j e c t e d by a m a j o r i t y of only t h i r t y - o n e votes (as opposed to 376 i n 1906)—a f u r t h e r 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 a d d i t i o n a l h i g h l i g h t s of the debate were: a. The d e c l a r a t i o n 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 Worc e s t e r s h i r e (Austen Chamberlain) i s not to n a i l h i s colours to the mast ... but to n a i l h i s c a p t a i n to the mast...." b. The notable maiden speeches of such T a r i f f Reformers as George L l o y d , H. Page C r o f t , George Tryon, and H.J.Mackinder (the geographer). 154.  Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 204. Austen Chamberlain was delighted w i t h B a l f o u r ' s speech.  159  Balfour was not prepared to go much f a r t h e r i n emul a t i n g Cobden and B r i g h t , however.  As the year wore on,  he  turned h i s a t t e n t i o n to and devoted more and more of h i s energy to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l issue which had been r a i s e d 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  c l e v e r t a c t i c s of the I r i s h , was  c l e a r l y now  the  going to be  d r i v e n to i t s l o g i c a l conclusion ( i n preparation f o r Home Rule).  As a consequence references to T a r i f f Reform were l e s s  f r e q u e n t l y 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 Novemb e r — e v e n when he was addressing  such gatherings as the Grand 155  H a b i t a t i o n 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 P e e l , l a t e r made much of t h i s s i x months' s i l e n c e . He argued that i t was a l l part of a subtle p l o t of the U n i o n i s t leader to f a i l the T a r i f f Reformers while o s t e n s i b l y remaining i n t h e i r camp.  P e e l a l s o placed much emphasis on the r e s t l e s s n e s s  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 s i l e n c e continued.  It is  true that e a r l y i n October a small U n i o n i s t S p l i n t e r group launched a " R e v e i l l e movement," that i t contained some of the most extreme T a r i f f Reformers—such as Leo Maxse and Henry Page C r o f t (both M.P.'s) and that i t s manifesto included, amongst other t h i n g s , a c a l l f o r i n d u s t r i a l insurance T a r i f f Reform.  and  I t i s a l s o true that while the leaders of t h i s  155 The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1910,  pp. 103-4.  160  group professed l o y a l t y to t h e i r party l e a d e r s , some n e u t r a l 156 observers had t h e i r doubts.  I t i s q u i t e 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. B a l f o u r , i n f a c t , had good reason f o r h i s preoccup a t i o n w i t h other matters. on May  With the death of King Edward VI  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 t r u c e , leading f i g u r e s i n both p a r t i e s , l i k e popular o p i n i o n , 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 i s s u e i n a manner which would avoid f a c i n g the new king w i t h an impasse and the n e c e s s i t y 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 M i n i s t e r suggested  to the Leader of the Opposition that the two men,  each w i t h  three p o l i t i c a l a s s o c i a t e s , meet i n a s e r i e s of p r i v a t e conferences to seek an a nswer to the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l problem. B a l f o u r r e a d i l y 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 C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Conference which was  thus convened any d i r e c t d i s c u s s i o n 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-  p l e t e l y by the r i s i n g spectre of Home R u l e — t h e r e a l stumbling block (according to Austen Chamberlain, one of the four 156. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1910,  p.  213.  161 157 U n i o n i s t 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 , r a i s e d i n two s t r i k i n g l y d i v e r s e 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 U n i o n i s t s to undo the damage of 1909 by suggesting various schemes of House of Lords r e form, and by proposing means whereby deadlocks between the Upper and Lower Houses might be r e s o l v e d . 158 U n i o n i s t leaders i n the Conference  This l e d the  to advocate that i n the  case of a l l non-money b i l l s the 'Lords should have a suspensive veto of two years d u r a t i o n — f o l l o w e d , i f both Houses were s t i l l i n disagreement, by a J o i n t S i t t i n g of the two i n which a f i n a l d e c i s i o n would be made.  To t h i s l a s t suggestion the  U n i o n i s t s made one very importantPreservation or a d d i t i o n . B i l l s of exceptional g r a v i t y , they declared, should be r e f e r red,  not t o a J o 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 p a r t i e s to the negotiations immediate-  l y r e a l i z e d that t h i s proposal r a i s e d a f u r t h e r problem, namely that of determining j u s t 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 t o r e c e i v e t h i s treatment.  Thus the Conference was l e d to con-  s i d e r the prospect of submitting contentious t a x a t i o n issues 159 to a referendum. On Mr. Balfour's a u t h o r i t y i t d i d so o f t e n , 157. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . P P . 190 - 191. 158. B a l f o u r ; Lord Cawdor; Chamberlain; Lord Lansdowne. 159. B a l f o u r r e f e r r e d s p e c i f i c a l l y t o the matter i n a l e t t e r to Austen Chamberlain on November 28, 1910. Chamberl a i n , op. c i t . . p. 303.  162  and saw major objections to the p r o c e d u r e — a l t h o u g h the e v i d ence does not suggest what conclusions, i f any, were reached on the t o p i c .  On the other hand, i t would appear very  im-  probable, from a l e t t e r w r i t t e n l a t e r i n 1910 by Austen Chamberlain, that the Unionists allowed the d i s c u s s i o n of budgets v i s - a - v i s referendum votes to go very f a r .  The  U n i o n i s t delegates, Chamberlain b l 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 u n s u i t a b l e f o r a Budget, whether T a r i f f Reform or not, f o r i f i t were a p p l i e d to Budgets we foresaw that the temptation to t u r n these Budgets i n t o a b r i b e to the many at the expense of the few would be 160 irresistible."  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 h i s a s s o c i a t e s , while agreeing w i t h the v a l i d i t y of the objections to submitting the budget to any such t e s t were, i n Balfour's l a t e r words, of the opinion that the j e c t i o n s were "... new  ob-  not so conclusive against r e f e r r i n g to i t  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 p r i n c i p l e s are adopted." a n t i c i p a t i n g events. November 11, 1910,  This, however, i s  The conference ended i n a stalemate on  and w i t h i t s c o n c l u s i o n the referendum  t h r e a t to the i n t r o d u c t i o n of T a r i f f Reform o s t e n s i b l y passed 160. Chamberlain to B a l f o u r , December 9, 1910. Chamberlain op. c i t . , p. 310. 161.  Balfour to Chamberlain, November 28, 1910, op. c i t . , p. 303.  Chamberlain,  163  away a l s o . The second manner i n which T a r i f f Reform, was r a i s e d at t h i s time required even greater secrecy than t h a t which accompanied the d e l i b e r a t i o n s of the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Conference.  Remarkably enough, the i n i t i a t i v e was taken a t t h i s  stage by Mr. Lloyd George who, disgusted a t 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 h i s then h i g h l y c o n f i d e n t i a l overtures t o the U n i o n i s t high command seeking t o f i n d common ground on which a N a t i o n a l Government might be erected.  Amongst the Chancellor's preferred terms  were two which are of i n t e r e s t t o t h i s study: the one, an o f f e r t o grant an immediate preference t o the Colonies on any e x i s t i n g d u t i e s : and the other, an o f f e r t o launch "...  a f a i r and j u d i c i a l enquiry i n t o 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 t o have a strong appeal t o 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 o r the cause of T a r i f f Reform, however, Mr. Lloyd George's advances here, though apparently q u i t e s i n c e r e l y 162.  Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 284; Lloyd George, D., War Memoirs. London, "O.dhams Press L i m i t e d , 1938, v o l . 1, pp. 21 - 3.  163.  Lloyd George a l s o suggested a stronger naval p o l i c y , and a system of n a t i o n a l 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 U n i o n i s t platform.  164.  Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p . , 1 9 3 .  made, were coupled with requests f o r major concessions from the U n i o n i s t s on such issues as Home Rule, Education, Disestablishment  of the Welsh Church.  and the  This p r i c e tag the  U n i o n i s t leaders f e l t t o be too high, and the n e g o t i a t i o n s 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 p u b l i c a t i o n of Mr. Lloyd George's War Memoirs. I t i s very evident that the leaders of the U n i o n i s t Party r e a l i z e d that the i n e v i t a b l e r e s u l t of the breakdown of the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Conference on November 11 would be another e l e c t i o n i n the near f u t u r e , and that i n t h i s s t r u g gle t h e i r prospects f o r v i c t o r y were dim.  F. E. Smith, f o r  instance had w r i t t e n to Austen Chamberlain as e a r l y as October 20, 1910, while there was s t i l l some hope of saving the Conference, expressing h i s c o n v i c t i o n that an e l e c t i o n would bode no good, and p o s s i b l y much i l l , f o r the Party.  I t would  mean, amongst other t h i n g s , he argued, " T a r i f f Reform beaten 165 three times running and another f u t i l e C o l o n i a l conference. " Chamberlain himself wrote on November 13, a f t e r a meeting of h i s 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 f o r the Captain and o f f i 166 cers." I t i s equally evident that l a r g e and i n f l u e n t i a l 165.  Birkenhead, E a r l of, F r e d e r i c k Edwin. E a r l of B i r k e n head. London, Thornton Butterworth Limited, 1933, v o l . 1, p. 205.  166.  Chambers, op. c i t . . p. 298.  165  sections of the P a r t y began to look f o r some appeal whereby U n i o n i s t chances of winning the n i n e t y odd seats r e q u i r e d to r e t u r n 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 a t t e n t i o n was once again focused on the 'bugbear' o f the food d u t i e s .  During the summer and e a r l y f a l l  the T a r i f f Reform League succeeded i n making i t s arguments a 167 major t o p i c of p u b l i c i n t e r e s t throughout the c o u n t r y — y e t , even w i t h i n i t s own ranks i t had been unable to d i s p e l comp l e t e l y doubts about the f u t u r e cost of food under a T a r i f f Reform a d m i n i s t r a t i o n .  Indeed, a prominent member of the  League, S i r John Bingham, openly expressed h i s a n x i e t y about t h i s ' A c h i l l e s h e e l ' i n i t s programme before i t s annual con168 v e n t i o n 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-  b e r l a i n ' s w o r d s — w r i t t e n on November 13, 1910. Yesterday ... A.J.B. sent f o r me i n the afternoon. The e d i t o r of the Express, Buckle, Norton G r i f f i t h s , M.P. f o r Wednesbury, some others and G a r v i n — G a r v i n of a l l menl—had a l l been i n quick succession to t e l l B a l f o u r that he could not win w i t h the Food D u t i e s , that he must-not indeed abandon them a l t o g e t h e r , but announce that i f r e 167. The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1910, p. 204. 168.  George Wyndham answered him there by r e f e r r i n g t o the repeated p u b l i c d e c l a r a t i o n s of Mr. B a l f o u r 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 anynew food duty without a f u r t h e r appeal to the countryI B. s a i d 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 t h a t 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 c o n s u l 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 continued i t s pressure on the P a r t y ' s l e a d e r .  Austen Chamber-  l a i n wrote on November 16 of the e f f o r t s 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 G a r v i n who was guaranteeing the new p o l i c y the support of the whole U n i o n i s t p r e s s — w i t h the exception of those two c i t a d e l s of T a r i f f Reform, The Morning Post and the Birmingham Daily Post. To complicate matters f u r t h e r , A s q u i t h 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 i n g i n t o the Lords proposals f o r the reform of t h a t body which, were, i n substance, those sup169. 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 U n i o n i s t s at the G o n s t i t u t i o n a l Conference, and which included the a l l - i m p o r t a n t provison: "... ference  i f the d i f -  (between the two Houses) r e l a t e s to a matter which i s  of great g r a v i t y , and has not been adequately submitted f o r the judgment of the people i t s h a l l not be r e f e r r e d to the J o i n t S i t t i n g , but s h a l l be submitted to the e l e c t o r s by Ref172 173 erendum." This proposal Lord R i d l e y approved f o r t h w i t h , and Austen Chamberlain added h i s endorsation on November 25 174 at Glasgow— i n s p i t e of the f a c t 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 ed U n i o n i s t proposal.  Notwithstanding  accept-  t h i s f a c t he appears  to have remained convinced u n t i l the end of November that B a l f o u r would r e j e c t a l l suggestions that T a r i f f Reform be s i d e t r a c k e d , and, indeed, as the month wore on B a l f o u r warmed considerably i n p u b l i c to the Birmingham programme. He was p a r t i c u l a r l y energetic i n h i s espousal of i t at Nottingham 175 on November 17. overwhelmed.  In the end, however, Birmingham was  simply  On November 28, the day on which Parliament  was  d i s s o l v e d , Mr. B a l f o u r sent a letter,.^by s p e c i a l messenger to Austen Chamberlain ( i n Edinburgh)—informing adherence of Bonar Law,  him of the  new  Lansdowne and the D a i l y M a i l to the  172. Hansard (Lords), 4th Ser., November 21, 1910, 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.  v o l . 6,  16'8  referendum suggestion, s t a t i n g the arguments i n favour of i t , and informing him of h i s i n c l i n a t i o n t o endorse the proposal 177 on the f o l l o w i n g n i g h t w h i l e speaking a t the A l b e r t H a l l . To t h i s communication Austen r e p l i e d a t once, but i n v a i n . Balfour accepted the Prime M i n i s t e r ' s challenge, f o r such as i t was, by d e c l a r i n g on the n i g h t r e f e r r e d t o , "... I have not the l e a s t o b j e c t i o n to submit the p r 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 a t once a cause of great r e j o i c i n g amongst the U n i o n i s t rank and f i l e , who professed t o see t h e r e i n a r e a l prospect of winning the f l o a t i n g and even some of the o l d Free Trade vote. Lansdowne endorsed 179 i t on November 30. . S i r F r e d e r i c k P o l l o c k supported i t i n 180 a l e t t e r t o The Times, and Professor Dicey saw i t as a 181 veto lodged i n the hands of the people...." The 182 U n i o n i s t Press l i v e d up t o Garvin's f o r e c a s t .  The Spectator,  once again the v o i c e of the U n i o n i s t Free Fooders, was . 177. Chamberlain, Austen, op. c i t . . p p . 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 e a r l y • . as.February 26, 1910 i t had begun t o r e t r e a t 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  naturally jubilant.  Meanwhile, of course, the L i b e r a l s 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 cam183 paign i s s u e . Amongst the s t i l l ardent inner c i r c l e of Chamberl a i n i t e s disappointment reigned.  Austen Chamberlain made no 184  secret of h i s views i n p r i v a t e correspondence downe and B a l f o u r .  w i t h Lans-  He pleaded w i t h the l a t t e r t o deny the  claims not only o f the L i b e r a l s but a l s o o f such U n i o n i s t 185 papers as the D a i l y M a i l w i t h regard t o the status of T a r i f f Reform. This B a l f o u r c e r t a i n l y sought t o d o — f o r instance i n 186 187 speeches a t Grimsby and a t D a r t f o r d . Nothing that he could say, however, could remove the now unquestioned f a c t that, whatever the r e s u l t o f the e l e c t i o n , the i n t r o d u c t i o n of one of the key planks of T a r i f f Reform was s t i l l a matter f o r 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 d i s c u s s i o n 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 f a c t was that as the T a r i f f Reformers  feared, and t h e i r opponents d i d not h e s i t a t e t o say, the whole 183. e.g. Asquith a t Wolverhampton,December 1, 1910. The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1910, p. 255; C h u r c h i l l a t D a r t f o r d , 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 R e g i s t e r . 1910, p. 249.  169 a  f i s c a l question had been relegated t o a secondary  position,  f o r the Government and i t s a l l i e s p r e f e r r e d t o 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 m a j o r i t y of the U n i o n i s t s sought i n r e p l y t o r a i s e 190 the spectre of Home Rule. In view of these new circumstances, t h e r e f o r e , the second / e l e c t i o n of 1910 can hardly be described as the t h i r d success i v e defeat f o r T a r i f f Reform. T a r i f f Reform was simply not a major i s s u e . Furthermore, apart from a few seats won i n 191 Lancashire, i t i s doubtful I f the U n i o n i s t s 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  t h a t a t t h i s time the T a r i f f Reform movement was weakened cons i d e r a b l y > but t h i s was p r i m a r i l y the r e s u l t , not of the e l e c t i o n , but of the r i s e of other issues w i t h a greater popular appeal, and of the d e c i s i o n of the U n i o n i s t s themselves t o adopt the referendum. 189. Asquith's address t o the e l e c t o r s d i d not mention T a r i f f Reform. The Times, November 30, 1910, p. 10. 190. Asquith was very astute here. He r e f r a i n e d from accepti n g B a l f o u r ' s challenge t h a t he agree to submit Home Rule t o a Referendum, and, indeed, d i d not even commit h i m s e l f p u b l i c l y t o the i n t r o d u c t i o n of a Home Rule B i l l u n t i l the e l e c t i o n was under way. 191. 192.  The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1910, p. 264. Old House. Liberals Unionists Labour Irish. Nationalists  274 272 41 71  New House. 272 271 42 76  170  Chapter IV  T a r i f f Reform and the U n i o n i s t Party 1911 -  1914  "De l'audace, de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace." Danton A f a v o u r i t e quotation of Joseph Chamberlain.  The opening days of 1911 found the T a r i f f Reformers i n a despondent mood.  I n common w i t h a l l U n i o n i s t s , they  were smarting under the impact of two e l e c t o r a l defeats w i t h i n twelve months, and were hardly looking forward to the dismal process of re-examining  the Party's p l a t f o r m and of  conducting the i n q u i r i e s i n t o 'the d e f i c i e n c i e s of party org a n i z a t i o n ' which they knew were impending.  They were, f u r -  thermore, no more e n t h u s i a s t i c 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 a c t i o n against two impending measures of exceptional g r a v i t y — t h e Parliament and the Home Rule Bills. Amongst the supporters of the Chamberlain programme there was, however, a d d i t i o n a l j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r defeatism. In the f i r s t p l a c e , many of them began to r e a l i z e , more c l e a r l y than p r e v i o u s l y , j u s t what a tremendous obstacle to  171  the implementation of a T a r i f f Reform programme Balfour had created w i t h the referendum proposal.  They were now  ning to f e a r t h a t , whatever h i s i n t e n t i o n s , was i n e f f e c t , "...  begin-  B a l f o u r ' s pledge  simply a proposal to commit T a r i f f  Re1  form to penal s e r v i t u d e f o r a long term or even f o r 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 d e c i s i o n and t h e i r concession i n accepting i t f o r 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 e f f e c t on the p a r l i 2 amentary strength of the p a r t i e s . a l l , however, was  What hurt them most of  the f a c t that t h e i r p r e s t i g e 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 v a s t majority of whom s t i l l nominally subscribed to i t — were unquestionably  declining  from 1906 and 1909  levels.  I t should not be assumed, on the other hand, that t h e i r i n f l u e n c e had completely vanished; they s t i l l considerable, i f reduced power.  wielded  S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the Annual  R e g i s t e r recorded that i n the f i r s t b y - e l e c t i o n f o r the year 1911:  1. 2  The U n i o n i s t candidate f o r Horncastle, Captain W e i g a l l , at f i r s t attempted to concentrate h i s supporters on the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l question, d e c l a r i n g himself opposed to food taxes and P e e l , op. c i t . . p. 79. Austen Chamberlain stressed t h i s point i n a s e r i e s of analyses of e l e c t i o n r e s u l t s which he sent to B a l f o u r 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 w i t h the o p p o s i t i o n of the T a r i f f Reform League, and was constrained to make a p r o f e s s i o n of f a i t h i n i t s cause. 3 The T a r i f f Reformers were much l e s s s u c c e s s f u l , however, when they t a c k l e d the f a r more important i s s u e of the referendum as i t had been a p p l i e d 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 i s s u e .  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 s i t i o n doubly c l e a r when he described the referendum suggestion as a "...novel and an un-English proposal to o v e r - r i d e the recognized f u n c t i o n s of the L e g i s l a t u r e . . . . "  He declared f u r t h e r ,  "The Referendum no doubt meets the views of Lord George Hamilton and h i s f e l l o w "Free Trade" U n i o n i s t s .  They see i n  i t the means by which T a r i f f Reform would be d e l a y e d — p e r 4 haps delayed i n d e f i n i t e l y . " could not be brought to bay.  B a l f o u r , however, t h i s time When he issued a statement on  the Party's a t t i t u d e to P r o t e c t i o n on January 12, he a f f i r m ed, a f t e r r e s t a t i n g h i s c o n v i c t i o n 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 f a r t h e r , and -argued before the C o n s t i t u t i o n a l Club that the referendum "... ought 6 to be a permanent part of our C o n s t i t u t i o n . . . . " although he 3. 4. 5. 6.  The The The The  Annual Times. Times. Times.  R e g i s t e r . 1911, p. 2. January 3, 1911, p. 8. January 12, 1911, p. 8. February 7, 1911, p. 15.  173  admitted that i t was not s u i t a b l e f o r dealing w i t h ordinarybudgets.  Thus the referendum remained f o r the time being an  i n t e g r a l part of U n i o n i s t p o l i c y .  In f a i r n e s s , i t should be  noted that B a l f o u r d i d 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-  c r i b e himself as a strong b e l i e v e r 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 f u r t h e r disappointments  were i n store f o r the  ardent T a r i f f Reformers during the e a r l y weeks of  1911.  One was the p u b l i c a t i o n of the Board of Trade returns f o r 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 f a c t that t h i s f i g u r e 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 content i o n that a l l was not w e l l w i t h the country' s economic p'ro9 gress. In v a i n d i d the T a r i f f Reformer: ,Press and such 10 -  s t a l w a r t s 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 A l b e r t 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 o b j e c t i v e observers r e a l i z e d t h a t , i n f a c t , a general p r i c e r i s e had accounted f o r the r i s e r e f e r r e d t o , and t h a t , 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 p l a t e a u . The other d i s t u r b i n g f a c t o r was the announcement l a 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 S t a t e s . To a l l ardent T a r i f f Reformers t h i s c o m p l i c a t i o n appeared to be f r a n k l y t r a g i c .  Lead on t h i s subject most  e n e r g e t i c a l l y by B a l f o u r , they made no s e c r e t 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 o r the 'catastrophe 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 1 9 1 1 — t h a t the passage of the Parliament A c t — w a s ,  over  as has already been  seen, destined to i n j u r e the cause of T a r i f f Reform by the simple process of occupying so much of the l i m e l i g h t over so much of the y e a r — ( i n t r o d u c e d i n the Commons on February 21, i t d i d 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 e f f e c t on the f i s c a l q u e s t i o n , f o r during the controversy many of the T a r i f f  Reformers  s p l i t s h a r p l y , not over the p r i n c i p l e of the B i l l — w h i c h as U n i o n i s t s they a u t o m a t i c a l l y 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, p o s s i b l y the m a j o r i t y of them, 11. Ensor, op. c i t . . pp. 500 - 501. 12. e.g. B a l f o u r on February 6, 1911. The Times. February 7, 1911, p. 15.  1  175  rather understandably awaited a lead from the o f f i c i a l heads of the P a r t y , and found i t long i n coming.  Lansdowne sought  to s i d e t r a c k the Government's measure by i n t r o d u c i n g a House of Lords Reconstruction B i l l of h i s own; B a l f o u r , on the other hand, delayed making h i s p o s i t i o n known u n t i l J u l y 26—when f e e 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 M i l n e r , S i r Edward Carson, F. E. Smith, and Austen Chamberl a i n — a d o p t e d i n the i n t e r i m a most i n t r a n s i g e n t 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 P a r t y — w h i c h grouped i t s e l f around Lord Halsbury, the exChancellor.  This group was keen to f i g h t to the end, even i f  i t meant f o r c i n g the Prime M i n i s t e r to take the u l t i m a t e step of c r e a t i n g new peers.  The country thus witnessed an i n t e r -  e s t i n g s p e c t a c l e , and an unusual one, f o r associated w i t h 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 F o o d e r s — i n c l u d i n g Lord S a l i s b u r y and h i s b r o t h e r s .  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 B a l f o u r 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 r e s i g n a t i o n i f h i s advice was not  accepted)  I n a d d i t i o n , they found themselves branded i n some quarters as „  r  ,  13.  ....  n  ,..  .  He announced h i s stand i n a l e t t e r to Lord Newton. Newton, Lord Lansdowne, p.  176  r e b e l s against t h e i r leaders.  14  The D a i l y 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 B a l f o u r ' s advice as "... a t a c t i c a l f o l l y and a 15 n a t i o n a l crime." Undoubtedly, Lansdowne was p r i m a r i l y responsible f o r the U n i o n i s t schism over the Parliament B i l l ; he acted so t a r d i l y amongst the Peers that when he d i d 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 f o r the mess, f o r such i t was, was vented on the unfortunate B a l f o u r , and i t was h i s p r e s t i g e which suffered most.  B a l f o u r c e r t a i n l y had continued to d i s p l a y f a r  too long that genius f o r temporizing and f o r postponing a c t i o n which, admittedly, q u i t e o f t e n leads to s o l u t i o n s 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 l e a d e r s h i p .  Coming  as d i d t h i s debacle on top of three successive e l e c t o r a l def e a t s , i t i s not t o be wondered a t that before the year was out, the U n i o n i s t Party had changed i t s command. 14.  Austen Chamberlain gathered that B a l f o u r was making such a charge i n h i s l e t t e r to Lord Newton, and wrote a hot l e t t e r to h i s leader on the i n j u s t i c e of such a stand. B a l f o u r r e p l i e d d i s c l a i m i n g any such inference. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , pp. 348 - 351. The Times openly r e f e r r e d to the Halsbury Club on J u l y 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 c a l l e d on i t to reconsider "the consequences which may f o l l o w i n j u d i c i o u s 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 D a i l y Express. J u l y 31, 1911, p. 4.  Amongst the many f a c t o r s which l e d to B a l f o u r ' s f a l l must be included the discontent w i t h h i s leadership which e x i s t e d i n T a r i f f Reform c i r c l e s .  I t i s q u i t e obvious  that by 1911 h i s 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 h i s country and h i s  party w i t h at l e a s t s i x approaches to the Birmingham programme the Economic Notes of 1903;  the Two E l e c t i o n s scheme of  5; the V a l e n t i n e L e t t e r of 1906;  1904-  the 'Broadening the Base'  approach to t a x a t i o n i n 1907 - 9; the p a r t i a l e c l i p s e 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 e a r l y as midsummer, 1910, a small group  of d i s g r u n t l e d U n i o n i s t s had formed a s h o r t - l i v e d R e v e i l l e Movement—with the avowed i n t e n t i o n of re-awakening the Party. I t s members—including Messrs Peto, Burgoyne, and Page C r o f t , a l l U n i o n i s t M. P.'s, Lord Willoughby de Broke, the P r e s i d e n t of the League of Young Conservatives, and Leo Maxse, the E d i t o r of the National Review—were a l l ardent T a r i f f Reformers.  They a l l professed nominal l o y a l t y to B a l f o u r — a l t h o u g h ,  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 t h a t , a year l a t e r , the cry was f i r s t openly r a i s e d f o r a change i n Unioni s t leadership. 17.  Leo Maxse was, from the f i r s t , the most  The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1910, p.  213.  178  energetic i n v o i c i n g t h i s sentiment.  He i s generally c r e d i t e d 18  w i t h having coined the phrase, "Balfour must go." I n the October, 1911 issue of the N a t i o n a l Review he b l u n t l y d e c l a r ed:  What i s the p o s 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 p o s i t i o n of the , T a r i f f Reform League which has done magnif i c e n t work i n the face of a Niagara of c o l d water? Does any serious T a r i f f Reformer pretend to b e l i e v e that there i s the remotest prospect of our ever g e t t i n g a serious measure of T a r i f f Reform from Mr. B a l f o u r ? Has Mr. B a l f o u r the f a i n t e s t chance of securing a mandate from the n a t i o n f o r 'the f i r s t cons t r u c t i v e work of the U n i o n i s t Party,' which i s d e l i b e r a t e l y side-tracked a t every opport u n i t y ? The answer to both these questions i s a blunt negative...." 19 Maxse's cry was c e r t a i n l y widely repeated, and y e t  i t was by no means echoed i n a l l U n i o n i s t , 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 r e s t l e s s n e s s 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 f i g u r e B a l f o u r was no stranger to such c r i t i c i s m , he was s t i l l a most s e n s i t i v e man, and f e l t such d i s a f f e c t i o n keenl y — e s p e c i a l l y when he feared that i t might even i n c l u d e some of h i s close a s s o c i a t e s .  Such c r i t i c i s m s on the p a r t  of the more d i s g r u n t l e d T a r i f f Reformers c e r t a i n l y had a share i n inducing Balfour t o announce h i s r e s i g n a t i o n on November 8. 18. 19.  Dugdale, op. c i t . . p . 86. Maxse, Leo., "Episodes of the Month," The N a t i o n a l 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 j u s t as keenly  as  t h e i r more r a d i c a l a s s o c i a t e s , there was no organized move by the T a r i f f Reform o r g a n i z a t i o n to oust B a l f o u r .  Austen  Chamberlain's l e t t e r /make i t c l e a r that he was no party to any such cabal; indeed, as l a t e as October 27, 1911 he w r i t i n g p r i v a t e l y : "The question.  was  leadership of the Party i s not i n 20  There i s no vacancy and we d e s i r e none."  They  do r e v e a l , however, that Chamberlain made a major t a c t i c a l e r r o r e a r l i e r i n the same month when he agreed to remain associated w i t h a 'continuing Halsbury Club' c o n s i s t i n g of Die Hards who were keen to b u i l d and maintain an s p i r i t i n the Party.  aggressive  The extended l i f e of t h i s group seems  to have perpetuated some of the b i t t e r n e s s aroused during the c o n s t i t u t i o n a l struggle of the preceding r e o r g a n i z a t i o n of the Club disturbed B a l f o u r ,  summer. 21  The  and a l s o -  appears to have a l i e n a t e d s e v e r a l Party members who  might  otherwise have supported Chamberlain when h i s chance to succeed B a l f o u r 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 q u i t e l o y a l to B a l f o u r , and, indeed, i t appears t h a t one of Chamberlain's motives i n j o i n i n g i t at a l l was to prevent the w i l d e r Diehards, as he wrote at the time, "...  running amuck as  Leo  23 20. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 371. Maxse d i d . " 21. Loc. C i t . . 22. e.g. Selborne, Wyndham, F.E.Smith, Amery, M i l n e r , 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 f o r the U n i o n i s t Party can be b r i e f l y t o l d .  Balfour himself believed that Austen Chamberlain would succeed him, and that Curzon would be the new  leader i n the  24 Lords.  Chamberlain, however, found that he had a s t r o n g l y  supported r i v a l i n Walter Long, behind whom were ranged the implacable foes of a l l things 'Birmingham' as w e l l as many moderate Party members who  had been offended by the a c t i v i t -  i e s of the Halsbury Club.  The l a t t e r rather resented  the  f a c t that Austen Chamberlain had only r e c e n t l y joined the C a r l t o n Club, and s t i l l described himself as a L i b e r a l Unionist.  When i t became apparent that the Party was  equally d i v i d e d between these two candidates,  almost  Chamberlain  proposed, and Long agreed, that they withdraw i n favour Andrew Bonar Law.  This was done and Law was  of  elected unani-  l .  mously.  j As adherence to the T a r i f f Reform programme had  apparently been a sine qua non f o r candidacy f o r the Party's l e a d e r s h i p , 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  t h a t Chamberlain had a l i e n a t e d some p o t e n t i a l supporters  on  the very night that Balfour made p u b l i c h i s 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 h i s endorsation of i t . See Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 48. 26. P e e l rather overemphasizes the importance of t h i s speech i n t h i s connection. P e e l , op. c i t . . p. 113.  181  November 8 — b y 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 d e c l a r i n g t h a t , as T a r i f f Reform had already been discussed a t length i n the country, a U n i o n i s t Government, when elected would enact i t i n t o law 27 without f a r t h e r delay.  But Law had a l s o appeared a t the  same gathering, had openly and f r a n k l y associated himself w i t h the various re-endorsations of the Food Taxes which featured i t s d e l i b e r a t i o n s , and had declared (as paraphrased by The Times) "No party would ever come to v i c t o r y i f i t . 2 8 were always considering what was unpopular."  The road thus  seemed c l e a r f o r a new and vigorous approach. In s p i t e of these favourable prospects, new complications began to a r i s e , f o r , almost from the moment of h i s e l e c t i o n , Bonar Law began to show a ne?/ caution, i n matters f i s c a l at least.  He d i d not accede to Austen's i m p l i e d 29  request that he a l s o s c u t t l e the Referendum. His a s s e r t i o n , 27. The Times. November 9, 1911, p. 8. furthermore, at Leeds, on November 16: days l a t e r Chamberlain In h i s correspondence some three declared that h i s purpose i n making t h i s speech was t h a t "... i f the party chooses me they should choose me knowing what the choice involved and t h a t , i f I were not chosen, my p o s i t i o n should a t any r a t e be c l e a r 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 greatest of our s o c i a l e v i l s — c h r o n i c unemployment. For t h i s claim there i s at l e a s t 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 h i s 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 r e c e i v i n g end of two pressure campaigns: the one l e d by Chamberlain, and the other  apparently  32 by Walter Long,  who,  e a r l y i n February 1912  sought to con-  vince Law that the Referendum could not be abandoned.  In  a d d i t i o n , the Free Food element e a r l y i n the year bombarded 33 Law With requests that the Food Duties be abandoned a l t o g e t h e r . 30. The Times. November 17, 1911, p. 10. 31.  In h i s f i r s t major address as the U n i o n i s t Leader, on January 26, 1912, Law spent most of h i s time i n a b i t t e r a t t a c k on the Government, and only i n the c l o s i n g minutes reached T a r i f f Reform. He r e f e r r e d to h i s 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 b e l i e v e I n 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 U n i o n i s t 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. 33.  I b i d . , p.  408.  416.  183  Bonar Law's newly-found hesitancy was w e l l i l l u s t r a t e d "by h i s r e a c t i o n t o Long's approach.  He consulted Lansdowne,  whom he found rather p a r t i a l t o a c o n t i n u a t i o n of the Referendum pledge, and informed the U n i o n i s t Lord t h a t , i n view of h i s previous stand, he could not p e r s o n a l l y endorse i t . He consulted B a l f o u r , who declared that he would take no o f fence i f the pledge were dropped.  He than contacted Cham-  b e r l a i n , and made a proposal which Chamberlain described i n h i s correspondence as f o l l o w s : ... he suddenly asked me whether I should mind h i s 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 t o the Referendum i f even now Asquith consented to take the same course w i t h Home Rule. He s a i d that he d i d not t h i n k i t was p o s s i b l e f o r Asquith t o accept t h i s sugg e s t i o n and that i t could therefore do us no harm. At the same time i t would make h i s p o s i t i o n e a s i e r w i t h Long. 34 To t h i s proposal Chamberlain objected s t r o n g l y , seeing great t r o u b l e ahead of i t , and.no j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r making a s p e c i a l case o f 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 t o which Law r e f e r s was not based on an o f f i c i a l T a r i f f Reform amendment t o the Address, but on an u n o f f i c i a l motion of Captain George Tryon. Apparently a t t h 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 d i d 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 R e g i s t e r . 1912, p. 28.  184  At the end of January, 1912 Bonar Law summoned the U n i o n i s t Shadow Cabinet f o r 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  o u t r i g h t o p p o s i t i o n to the Food Taxes; almost a l l except Austen Chamberlain admitted that they were a considerable handicap tin the country; but the m a j o r i t y followed Lansdowne and Bonar Law i n a f f i r m i n g 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 r a t h e r speciously r a i s e d again h i s d e s i r e to avoid doing anything which might have the appearance of r e p u d i a t i n g B a l f o u r , and proposed that he speak i n f u t u r e 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 U n i o n i s t Government would enact i n t o l a w — w i t h o u t  any reference a t  a l l to the Referendum. Law apparently f e l t that by i g n o r i n g the Referendum, since the beginning of the year he had already k i l l e d i t — although both Chamberlain and the P a r t y Whips pointed out that the average U n i o n i s t candidate was q u i t e 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 q u i t e unable to to answer "Yes" or "No"  to s p e c i f i c questions a s s o c i -  a t i n g the Referendum w i t h T a r i f f Reform.  Before the gather-  ing adjourned, Law promised to f i n d a s u i t a b l e formula to express.the general consensus of o p i n i o n of those  present,  and to make a p u b l i c statement on the question i n the near  185  future.  35  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 f i n d i n g or d r a f t i n g the formula to which he r e f e r r e d . There were a number of b a s i c reasons which e x p l a i n the i n c r e a s i n g degree to which U n i o n i s t s leaders ignored T a r i f f Reform as the year 1912 progressed, and Bonar Law found h i m s e l f able, i n the i n t e r e s t s of Party u n i t y , t o 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 t o I r e l a n d and to D i s 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 s u f f r a g e t t e 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 o f immediate and major concern to the e l e c t o r a t e . The Hon. George P e e l , w r i t i n g i n the year 1913, very shrewdly and a c c u r a t e l y noted two a d d i t i o n a l reasons f o r 36 the r e l e g a t i o n of T a r i f f Reform.  One, which he describes  as economic could j u s t as r e 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.  Basically,  i t concerned a growing r e a l i z a t i o n a t t h 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 u n i t y , and a l s o a growing a p p r e c i a t i o n of the 35. Chamberlain, who was very pleased w i t h the outcome of these d e l i b e r a t i o n s , wrote of them i n d e t a i l on March 1, 1912. Chamberlain, op. c i t . , pp. 432 - 6. 36. P e e l , op. c i t . . pp. 145-6.  186  i n e q u a l i t y of I m p e r i a l s a c r i f i c e being made a t 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 .  P e e l pointed  out that i n 1912 the U n i o n i s t s found a second outstandingly popular c r y beside that i n v o l v e d i n the Home Rule q u e s t i o n — i n the o p p o r t u n i t i e s to a t t a c k the N a t i o n a l Insurance A c t — to the c o n t r i b u t o r y p r i n c i p l e of which strong o p p o s i t i o n appeared i n the country a t l a r g e , and e s p e c i a l l y i n those Free Trade strongholds, Lancashire, Y o r k s h i r e and Scotland. The r e s u l t was t h a t i n 1912 the U n i o n i s t s found  themselves  winning some resounding b y - e l e c t i o n v i c t o r i e s without mak37 ing a major appeal to the f i s c a l question a t a l l .  Under  the circumstances, the temptation to continue t h i s l i n e of a c t i o n was q u i t e natural'and understandable.  I t was, appar-  e n t l y , because they were keenly aware of t h i s general p o l i c y of d r i f t t h a t , i n the e a r l y summer of 1912, the T a r i f f Reform Caucus decided on a renewal of vigorous a c t i o n . 37.  e.g. i n March a t Manchester; i n J u l y a t Luton; i n August a t Middleton; i n December a t Kilmarnock, South Somerset, North Ayr, and Govan. R e f e r r i n g to the v i c t o r y i n March Austen Chamberlain wrote a t the time: The T a r i f f Reform League was very a c t i v e i n the Manchester D i v i s i o n , but I t h i n k the r e s u l t must be a t t r i b u t e d to d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h the Insurance B i l l and i n part to a general and growing discontent w i t h the Government. Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p."440.  187  One of the f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n s that the patience the T a r i f f Reformers was running  short was contained  of  in 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 f o l l o w i n g f o r p u b l i c a t i o n : The "Confederacy," an o r g a n i z a t i o n 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 s e v e r a l U n i o n i s t 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 a l t o g e t h e r . The Confederates, who have ample means at t h e i r d i s p o s a l , have decided that i n the event of any U n i o n i s t candidates adopting a s i m i l a r p o l i c y at any f u t u r e e l e c t i o n 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 o l i c y of the U n i o n i s t P a r t y . 38 A second feature of the T a r i f f Reform o f f e n s i v e  was  the launching of a monster d r i v e to r a i s e funds f o r a great 39 forward movement of the T a r i f f Reform League. 1912  The J u l y 8,  e d i t i o n of The Times, f o r example, contained a l e t t e r  from George Wyndham announcing the inauguration of a Birthday Fund to honour Joseph Chamberlain—-with s u b s c r i p t i o n s 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 d e s i r e .  As Chamberlain was  a  wealthy man there was no p a r a l l e l here to the p u b l i c s u b s c r i p 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 f o r about 4,000 meetings, had issued 3,000,000 pamphlets and booklets, and had begun to stimulate ' r e c r u i t i n g ' by using Chamberlain crosses and c e r t i f i c a t e s bearing photographs of the leaders of the movement to those s u c c e s s f u l i n b r i n g i n g i n new members. 40.  The Times. J u l y 8, 1912,  p. 8.  188  t i o n once r a i s e d f o r Cobden, and i t must have been g e n e r a l l y assumed that any sum r a i s e d would be devoted by him to h i s f a v o u r i t e cause. In any case, t h i s appeal aroused no great 41 response. S i r Francis T r i p p e l , as an expert f u n d - r a i s e r , therefore suggested that a d i r e c t d r i v e 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 i s s u i n g 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 c a r t o o n i s t s , the League obtained i t s money—£21,250 a t a founders' dinner on J u l y 30, and £60,000 43 at a second f u n c t i o n on October 16 alone. The t h i r d and by f a r the most important f e a t u r e 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 a c c e l e r a t i n g a c t i v i t i e s of the League, by i s s u i n g lengthy and extremely o p t i m i s t i c reports on the sue- •" cess of i t s a c t i v i t i e s ,  and by e x e r t i n g pressure p r i v a t e l y  41. The sum r a i s e d 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. 43.  The Annual R e g i s t e r . 1912, p. 212.  Loc. c i t . . The T a r i f f Reform League apparently on occasions r a i s e d funds i n other novel ways. One came to l i g h t i n September, 1911 i n the pages of the N a t i o n a l Review, when that j o u r n a l c a r r i e d a s e r i e s 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 U n i o n i s t M.P. who was elected a t North West Ham Wk a' J u l y , 1911 b y - e l e c t i o n , and who during the campaign claimed to have been o f f e r e d a viscountcy i f he made a l a r g e enough c o n t r i b u t i o n to the T a r i f f Reform League. Nothing came of i t , but de Forest d i d not r e t r a c t . The N a t i o n a l 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 h e s i 45 t a n t , and the work progressed slowly. E v e n t u a l l y , however, p e r s i s t e n t 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 a c t i o n which the T a r i f f Reformers d e s i r e d . On that day, while addressing  the Annual Conference of the  N a t i o n a l U n i o n i s t A s s o c i a t i o n of Conservative  and L i b e r a l  U n i o n i s t Organizations, Lansdowne f r a n k l y r e f e r r e d t o Mr. Balfour's referendum pledge, t o the r e a c t i o n of the L i b e r a l government to i t , and t o 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  p o l i c y , although he went on t o make i t c l e a r that i t s a p p l i c a t i o n would not be r e v o l u t i o n a r y , and that indeed the whole f i s c a l programme would only cause the smallest p o s s i b l e d i s l o c a t i o n i n business.  He went f u r t h e r , and promised that any  revenue from a t a r i f f on food % o u l d not be regarded as o r dinary income, and would be used s p e c i f i c a l l y t o 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 F o r t n i g h t l y 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 w i t h great e n t h u s i a s m — j u s t 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 p r e v i o u s l y .  When Henry Chaplin introduced a 48  T a r i f f Reform r e s o l u t i o n , i t was passed unanimously. The T a r i f f Reformers were n a t u r a l l y d e l i g h t e d , and many undoubtedly hoped, as d i d A.W.S.Hewins when w r i t i n g i n h i s d i a r y , that they had seen the death of the " . . . a n t i - f o o d 49 tax movement i n the Party."  So secure d i d t h e i r p o s i t i o n  appear to be that Lansdowne, some two weeks a f t e r h i s A l b e r t H a l l speech, p u b l i c l y sought to make h i s e a r l i e r  suggestion  s p e c i f i c by endorsing a 2s. duty on f o r e i g n corn, and 50 suggesting the f r e e entry of c o l o n i a l wheat.  by  Austen Cham-  b e 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 U n i o n i s t r a n k - a n d - f i l e i n t o r e a l i z i n g the true import of the A l b e r t H a l l d e c i s i o n — namely, that w i t h the Referendum dead, food t a x a t i o n would be a u t o m a t i c a l l y included i n the f i r s t U n i o n i s t budget a f t e r a favourable e l e c t i o n . 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 o p p o s i t i o n to the o f f i c i a l Party p r o g r a m m e — f i r s t amongst the U n i o n i s t s of Lancashire and Y o r k s h i r e , where the d i s s e n t i e n t s ' views were endorsed by such strong papers as 52 the Manchester Courier and Y o r k s h i r e Post.  The U n i o n i s t s  of U l s t e r soon adopted a s i m i l a r stand, and i n short order the r o t 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 w i t h The Times and the D a i l y 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 produced the anomaly of December 16, 1912. Chamberlain, who  remained convinced  On that day, Austen  that the 'Dear Food'  cry was a bogey which could be r e a d i l y overcome i f b o l d l y faced, spoke v i g o r o u s l y on the 2s. duty on corn, and  the  ten percent duty on manufactured goods, which the U n i o n i s t s were prepared to l e v y .  In s t r i k i n g c o n t r a s t , Bonar  Law,  while speaking at Ashton-under-Lyne on the same evening, a f t e r endorsing T a r i f f Reform w i t h the u s u a l arguments went on to make t h i s d e c l a r a t i o n : I f our countrymen entrust us w i t h power-, we do not intend to impose food d u t i e s . 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 d u t i e s w i l l be imposed w i l l not a r i s e 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 t r u e , no food d u t i e s w i l l be imposed under any circumstances. We do not wish to impose them. They are not proposed by us f o r the sake of P r o t e c t i o n , and there i s not Protect i o n i n them. They are proposed s o l e l y f o r the sake of Preference.... 53 52. 53.  Chamberlain, op. c i t . . p. 502. The Times. December 17; 1912, j n . 8.,  e  192  Bonar Law,- i n other words, had on h i s own a u t h o r i t y r e i n t r o duced an element of delay i n t o the a p p l i c a t i o n of food taxat 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 t a x a t i o n on t o the Overseas Empire.  What he had t r i e d to do was t o  r e s t a t e h i s Party's determination t o s t i c k by Preference w h i l e a t the same time stemming the I n c i p i e n t panic.  In  a c t u a l f a c t he succeeded i n doing n e i t h e r ; the T a r i f f Reformers were disheartened, and the clamour from the opponents of food t a x a t i o n continued. The Times received Law's speech 54 very unfavourably. The L i v e r p o o l C o u r i e r , the Y o r k s h i r e D a i l y Post, the Manchester Courier and the D a i l y Graphic went f u r t h e r , and c a l l e d f o r 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 d u t i e s , d e c l a r i n g that i f they were s c u t t l e d , "Mr. / 56 A s q u i t h would grow as grey as Palmerston i n o f f i c e . " So r a p i d l y d i d the d i s c o n t e n t spread that by December 18, 1912 The Times was r e p o r t i n g that some 60 - 70$ of U n i o n i s t M. P.'s were adverse to the food d u t i e s , and that U n i o n i s t f e e l i n g i n Scotland was as strong against them as i t 54. The Times . December 17, 1912, pp. 6, 7. 1  55.  The complete I r i s h U n i o n i s t Press d i d l i k e w i s e — I r i s h U n i o n i s t s , keen to shelve T a r i f f Reform to leave the f i e l d open f o r 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 a l s o were Conservative leaders i n such Lancashire c i t i e s as L i v e r p o o l , which had never been s t r o n g l y T a r i f f Reform, and which had l a r g e Orange populations.  56.  C i t e d i n The Annual R e g i s t e r , 1912, p. 268.  193  was i n Ireland and the North of England.  57  Nearly a quarter  century l a t e r Austen Chamberlain painted an even more d r a s t i c p i c t u r e of the r e v e r s a l when he wrote: In a few weeks, almost i n a few days, the r e v o l t had become general; the panic had spread to a l l but a few s t a l w a r t s . 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 f o r t y men, i n c l u d i n g the veteran Henry C h a p l i n but mainly drawn from among the younger and more a c t i v e s p i r i t s of the Party, not a few of whom had been drawn i n t o p o l i t i c s by the c a l l to p u b l i c s e r v i c e 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 f o r the l a s t major change i n the o f f i c i a l stand of the U n i o n i s t s to the Chamberlain dream before the onset of war i n 1914 s t i l l e d such debate. Faced w i t h the l a r g e scale r e p u d i a t i o n 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 r e s i g n .  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 c l o s e s t c o l l e a gues, the l a t t e r ( l e d by Edward Carson and F.E.  Smithy))  d r a f t e d a memorial which s t r o n g l y r e - s t a t e d the Party's 57. 58.  The Times, December 18, 1912, p. 7. 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 g l a d l y support Law i f he determined to s t i c k t o h i s guns, not more than twenty-five wished him to do so." Chamberlain, op. c i t . , p. 508.  59.  The complete memorial i s p r i n t e d 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 l e a d e r s , reaffirmed the adherence of the U n i o n i s t M. P.'s to I m p e r i a l Preference, and r e - i t e r a t e d t h e i r determination to "bring i t i n i f e l e c t e d .  In addition,  and t h i s was the c r u c i a l p o i n t , the memorial revived the o l d 59 two e l e c t i o n s scheme v i s - a - v i s the food taxes. Eventually, a f t e r i t had been considerably modified by such T a r i f f r e 60 formers as Hewins,  the memorial was signed by almost a l l  U n i o n i s t 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 d e c i s i o n had gone h e a v i l y against the T a r i f f Reformers.  Austen Chamberlain made no secret of h i s  disappointment at the new p o l i c y of the Party, and even at Law's e a r l i e r Ashton Speech, when he addressed h i s own cons t i t u e n t s a t 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 necess i t y to any system of preference. To him, the new d e c i s i o n was a mistake.  Nevertheless, i n what appears to have been .. 62 J  V-  an extremely e f f e c t i v e 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 d e c l a r i n g that he f e l t too strongl y on the other causes represented by Unionism to do anything 59. The complete memorial i s p r i n t e d 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 r e t e n t i o n of the Party's l e a d e r s