13 JANUARY 1906, Page 3

We regret to record that Lord Ritchie, who had been

raised to the Peerage only four weeks previously, was struck down with paralysis at Biarritz last Saturday and died on Tuesday. Mr. Ritchie, to call him by his more familiar name, sat in the' House of Commons for nearly thirty years, and held office in three Conservative Administrations. In 1902 he succeeded Sir Michael Hicks Beach as Chancellor of the Exchequer. His first and only Budget was of historic importance, since by his taking off the Corn-duty he unquestionably precipitated Mr. Chamberlain's Fiscal campaign, and led to the break-up of the Cabinet in the autumn of 1903. It may be remembered that, like Lord George Hamilton, Mr. Ritchie complained— and, in our opinion, with justice—that his resignation was accepted by Mr. Balfour without any intimation to him that Mr. Chamberlain had also resigned. Mr. Ritchie subsequently attached himself to the Free-trade Unionist group, but with- out taking a prominent part in their operations, and the appearance of his name in the Honour List last month was naturally regarded as indicating a reconciliation with Mr. Balfour. The part played by Mr. Ritchie in 1903 showed real courage and independence, and deserves the gratitude of all Free-traders.