11 FEBRUARY 1905, Page 3

Mr. Asquith was the principal speaker at a Liberal meeting

at Heywood, Lancashire, on Saturday last. He described the situation created by the Government's postponement of an appeal to the country as indecent and perilous. " Everything they did, whether in the sphere of legislation or in the sphere of policy, lacked authority, and was, of necessity, provisional and precarious "; and he warned the Government not to imagine that their successors—assuming that a Liberal Administration was returned to power—would attach the least respect or sacrosanctity to the Acts which had been passed or the policy pursued. Turning to Mr. Chamberlain's Gainsborough speech, Mr. Asquith laid it down as an irre- fragable axiom that an import-duty on an article of necessity like food, of which the home supply could not meet the home demand, raised the price to the consumer not only of the imported but also of the domestic article, and tended to raise that price to the full amount of the duty imposed. This Mr. Chamberlain called the dear-food fallacy, and sought to refute it by the cases of America—where his analogy was irrelevant, because America was a food-exporting, not a food-importing country—and of G-ermany and France, where the Board of Trade Returns conclusively established the fact that the con- sumer, and nobody else, paid the duty. Mr. Asquith added that neither he nor any Free-trader contended that all was for the best with British trade ; but the blunder of the new Protectionists was that they had professed to discover the weakness of our trade exactly where it was strongest, and, in the name of scientific medicine, had substituted for exercise and open air a course of stupefying and paralysing drugs.