13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 2

The Duke of Devonshire, in fulfilment of his engagement, addressed

a great meeting in the Guildhall on Monday. Dealing with the arguments for the proposed change in our fiscal policy, the Duke declared that if our people were called on to make sacrifices, they should be told what these sacrifices were, by whom and by what class they were to be made. For himself, he held that the issue must ultimately be decided by what on economic grounds was best for the United Kingdom, and that the prosperity of the United Kingdom was the greatest of Imperial interests. Free-trade was admitted to have been a wise policy once. When did it become unwise ? Certainly not in 1872, the picked year of the tariff reformers ; nor, again, in 1885, when a majority of the Royal Commission appointed by the Conservative Government never so much as said one word in favour of reverting to Protection. Efforts have been made in certain quarters to minimise the warmth of the Duke's reception—there was certainly no bodyguard of corybantio stockbrokers—but the representa- tive character of the gathering is admitted on all hands ; and after all, the efficacy of a political speech is not to be measured by the same standard as the popularity of a theatrical performance.