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nothing to forward these causes, Liberals might be glad that he retained his opinions on Tariff Reform. Lord Crewe also intimated that he saw no basis now for compromise on the education question, and that, after consideration, the Government would have definite proposals to lay before the country relating to the House of Lords; and Mr. Churchill, speaking on February 4 at Manchester, attacked that House as the avowed champion of the landed interest, and suggested that it might be overcome by“ tacking ” Bills obnoxious to it to money Bills, by creating new peers, and by “the power of the purse," which constitutionally belonged to the Commons alone.
But even stronger language was used by the Attorney-General, Sir J. Lawson Walton, at Leeds (Feb. 7), though he subsequently explained that his observations were unpremeditated and that he had spoken for himself alone. “They were entering,” he said, “on a work of grim and serious character, which would mean something like a revolution and involve one or two dissolutions.
The Government would endeavour to give effect to the will of the people by passing Bills which the Peers would promptly throw out, and then the Crown and the people would combine to overthrow the aristocracy.” Though the impression given by this speech was subsequently somewhat modified by his explanations, the nature of the proposal contemplated by the Government remained obscure, and so did the means of enforcing its acceptance by the Peers. Unionist speakers, meanwhile, made light of the Liberal designs, and continued to emphasise the need of a "constructive programme."
In London, however, the Unionists had a special opening for activity in the County Council election campaign. They hoped to utilise the resentment against the growth of rates and expenditure that had shown itself in the provincial municipal elections in November, 1906, and was stimulated in London by the conspicuous losses on the steamboat service and the Embankment trams, and other alleged instances of Progressive extravagance. The attack was carried on by a section of the press-particularly the Daily Mail, Pall Mall Gazette, Evening News, and Standard—with considerable violence of language, the Progressives were denounced as plunderers and “wastrels,” and an article in the Standard of January 17 was the subject of an action for libel against that paper by twelve Progressive members of the Council. After the writ was issued, Mr. John Burns, in a speech at Queen's Hall on January 24, denounced the tactics of the Standard, pointing out that the action could not be tried until after the election, but that the Standard could, if it pleased, have an inquiry at once from the Local Government Board. This speech was the occasion of an application to the Court of King's Bench on the part of the Standard (Jan. 26) for the committal of Mr. John Burns for contempt of court; but though his language was severely criticised by Mr. Justice Darling, the application was refused — Mr. Justice Phillimore remarking
that the world seemed to have gone mad on contempt of court. [The action was compromised after the elections.] The Progressive campaign began rather too late; and many independent voters probably shared the view of the Spectator that a period of exclusion from power would teach the Progressives caution.
A speech by Mr. Winston Churchill at the dinner of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce (Feb. 5) dealt with topics apart from party politics. The earthquake at Kingston (Foreign and Colonial History, Chapter VIII.) had given rise to complaints that the redistribution of the British squadrons had prevented them from rendering prompt assistance. Mr. Churchill held out some hopes of the formation of a patrol squadron; and, referring to the coming Colonial Conference, he intimated that there would be perfect frankness of speech on the part both of the Colonial representatives and of those of Great Britain. The British Government, he said, valued highly the preferences given on goods by the Colonies to Great Britain as well as to one another (a concession on his part which was made the most of by Unionist speakers), and he concluded with various suggestions of possible methods of developing Colonial commerce.
A great Liberal demonstration in Belfast (Feb. 8) was presided over by Lord Pirrie, and addressed by Mr. Lloyd-George. Contrary to expectation, it passed off without disorder. Mr. Lloyd-George, the first Liberal Minister who had spoken for more than twenty years in the North of Ireland, advocated popular control of State schools, attacked Tariff Reform, and announced that any Ministerial scheme for developing selfgovernment in Ireland would retain the supremacy of the Imperial Parliament.
Meanwhile it was becoming increasingly clear that another subject would be pressed to the front independently of the wishes of the party leaders on either side. At the Labour Party Conference at Belfast the subject of women's suffrage had been discussed and met by the passage of a resolution in favour of equal adult suffrage—a result which caused Mr. Keir Hardie to intimate that he might have to retire from connection with the conference. But on February 8 a conference of nearly thirty women's suffrage societies, representing some 300,000 women, was held at the Holborn Restaurant under the presidency of Mrs. Fawcett, and passed resolutions to the effect that neither sex nor marriage should disqualify for the franchise, that women would not wait for the further enfranchisement of men, that, in view of the needs of women workers, the Labour party should be pressed to fulfil their promise of giving a prominent place in their ballot for the session to a Women's Franchise Bill, and that the Liberal party, acting on the resolution of the National Liberal Federation at Newcastle, should introduce a Bill during the coming session. On Saturday, February 9, in very unfavourable weather, 2,000 women marched in procession from Hyde Park to Exeter Hall, and passed resolutions calling
on the Government to introduce such a Bill. Many were ladies of considerable social position; others were leaders of the women's trade unions, and as a whole it was representative of all classes.
The customary invitation to Ministerial members of the House of Commons to attend the opening of Parliament stated only that “matters of grave importance" would occupy their attention; but both sides assembled in the expectation of a severe contest over two great constitutional issues——the Lords' veto and the union with Ireland.
Opening of the Session—The King's Speech-Debate on the Address in the
House of Lords --Debate in the Commons—The Lords' Veto, Free Trade, Ireland—The New Hebrides Convention–Old Age Pensions—Suspension of Writ for Worcester-Problem of Irish Evicted Tenants - Agricultural and AntiVaccinationist Demands—The Colonies and Imperial Defence-Mr. Balfour on the Situation-Renewed Suffragist Disorders—The Attack on the Lords— Earl Percy's Amendment to the Address; Debate-Tariff Reform Amendment; Debate-The Address Disposed of—The House of Lords and the Navy-Mr. Churchill's Cabled Speech-Deceased Wife's Sister Bill: Second Reading in Commons-Army Estimates--Mr. Haldane's Explanation of his Policy; Debate-The Irish Judiciary-The Berlin-Special Religious Instruction Bill-South African Controversies—A Scottish Church Rate Question-Debate on Disestablishment--Activity of the House of Lords: Its Claim for more Work — Bye-Elections at Aberdeen and Brigg -- Progressive Defeat at the London County Council Elections: Character of the Campaign-Territorial and Reserve Forces Bill—The Hague Conference—The Prime Minister's Scheme for “ Arrest of Armaments"_The Navy Estimates : Debates-Army Supplementary Estimate: & Financial and Constitutional Question-Railway Servants' Hours-Women's Franchise Bill Judicature Bill-Sunday Observance and Sunday Trading-New Hebrides Convention; Renewed Attack on the Government--Mr. Marks again explains-Civil Service Supplementary Estimates—The West Ridgeway Report-Welsh Disestablishment-Irish Sea Fisheries-Socialist Sunday Schools—The Welsh Education Department—The Government and the Irish Crimes Act-Further Naval Debates—Mr. Haldane on the State of the Army—the Lack of Capital and the Standing Orders—Non-Contentious Legislation: the Patents Bill-Colonial Questions: Newfoundland, South African Land Settlement, the New Hebrides Convention-Trawling in the Moray Firth-Small Landholders (Scotland) Bill-Railway Companies and Political Subscriptions-Speech of the Duke of Devonshire on Free Trade and Home Rule-Mr. Balfour on the Irish Policy of MinistersDebate in the Lords—Ministers and Reform of the Lords-Mr. Winston Churchill's Suggestion Education (Scotland) Bill-All-night Sitting-Fate of the Channel Tunnel-Reform of Parliamentary Procedure-Imprisonment for Debt-London Rating—The Metric System-Irish Primary EducationFinancing Social Reforms—The Canadian Pacific Mail Contract-Adjournment for Easter-The Unemployed Act—"Blocking" Motions--The Govern. ment and the Country-Hexham Election-Lord Rosebery at the Liberal League.
PARLIAMENT was opened by the King in person, accompanied by the Queen, on Tuesday, February 12, with the impressive ceremonial customary since the beginning of the reign. The weather, unfortunately, somewhat marred the effect of the State procession from Buckingham Palace, by the Mall and Whitehall, to the Palace of Westminster.
The Speech from the Throne, which was read by the King, began by referring to the continued friendliness of the relations of Great Britain with foreign Powers. Satisfaction was expressed that the earthquake in Jamaica had been met by the Governor and his officers with courage and devotion, and by the people with self-control; and grateful recognition was accorded to the sympathy shown by the American nation and the aid promptly offered by its naval authorities (cf. Foreign and Colonial History, Chapter VIII.). The visit of the Amir to India had gratified the King, and, it was understood, the Amir himself, “as tending to promote that right feeling which is more important than formal compacts.” In India, while firmly guarding the strength and unity of executive power unimpaired, the King "looked forward to a steadfast effort to provide means of widening the base of peace, order, and good government. The estimates had been framed “with the object of effecting economy consistent with the efficient maintenance of the public service.” The difficulty with the Lords was referred to obscurely. "Serious questions affecting the working of our Parliamentary system have arisen from unfortunate differences between the two Houses. My Ministers have this important subject under consideration with a view to a solution of the difficulty." Prominence was given to a Bill for licensing reform, to proposals for “more clearly defining the functions of the military forces of the Crown, both regular and auxiliary, and for the improvement of their organisation," and for the holding and valuation of land in Scotland. The attention of Parliament would also be called to “measures for further associating the people of Ireland with the management of their domestic affairs, and for otherwise improving the system of government in its administrative and financial aspects," as also for a reform of University education in Ireland. Bills were likewise announced for the establishment of a Court of Criminal Appeal, for regulating the hours of labour in mines, for the amendment of the patent laws, for improving the law relating to the valuation of proper in England and Wales, for enabling women to serve on local bodies, for amending the law affecting small holdings in England and Wales, and for the better housing of the people.
In the House of Lords the Address was moved by the Earl of Castletown, whose references as an Irishman to the portions of the Speech relating to the dispute between the two Houses, and to Irish reforms, were cheered from the Ministerial benches. It was seconded by the Earl of Chichester. Both peers made appropriate references to the late Viscount Goschen, which were emphasised by the Marquess of Lansdowne, who rose next. He regretted that the Speech did not refer to the Colonial Conference, and remarked that the allusion to the differences between the two Houses, though vague and oracular, contrasted agreeably with some recent speeches of Ministers. The Opposition, however, were ready to meet charges against the Lords
either inside or outside the House. He defended the Lords' action on the Plural Voting and Education Bills, and said there were two distinct currents of thought on the question of reforming the House-one, constructive, upheld by Lord Rosebery, and now by Lord Newton, whose proposals were an open secret ; the other destructive; but he believed the country apprehended far less danger from an unreformed House of Lords than from an uncontrolled House of Commons. He urged the Government to send up Bills to that House in time for adequate consideration ; hoped that the liquor traffic would not be handed over to the municipalities, and protested against the mode of announcement of the Ministerial measure on Irish University education (p. 5). Of improving Irish administration they were all in favour, but the reference in the Speech was nebulous; the improvement must be subject to the maintenance of Imperial authority unimpaired.
The Marquess of Ripon, in reply, after a reference to Lord Goschen's death, commented seriatim on Lord Lansdowne's speech. The Colonial Conference would have full freedom of discussion, but real Free Trade within the Empire was the last thing some of the Colonies desired. The paragraph on India referred to the deliberations of a committee of the Viceroy's Council as to the possibility of meeting the general desire in India for political advance. With regard to the relations of the two Houses, the Lords differed from the Commons only under a Liberal Government. They were all agreed that some reform of the House of Lords was necessary, but there was also the question how the differences between the two Houses were to be solved, and it was this that the Government were considering. The Address was then agreed to.
In the Commons, where the Speech was read by the Speaker, the passages referring to the Lords and the Licensing Bill were loudly cheered by the Ministerialists. The Address was moved by Mr. Tomkinson (Crewe, Cheshire) and seconded by Mr. Rainy (Kilmarnock Burghs).
Mr. Balfour (City of London) doubted whether the promised legislation would all be carried through. This session would hardly be so long as the last. It “surpassed his comprehension" that no allusion had been made to the Colonial Conference in the Speech. As to the relations between the two Houses, he was glad Ministers were going to reflect. Let them think more and talk less. The President of the Board of Trade wanted to crush the Lords at once ; the Home Secretary favoured "filling up the cup"; but whose cup? The cup of Ministerial unpopularity might overflow first. He ridiculed the AttorneyGeneral (p. 9) as a Robespierre in disguise. He believed the House sincerely desired the Government seriously to attempt social reforms, but the majority of such Bills had been passed by Conservative and Unionist Governments. Radical Governments, before dealing with social questions, sought to subvert