19 MARCH 1904, Page 3

We note with satisfaction that the Liberal Council of North

Wilts at their meeting on Saturday last unanimously decided to support Sir John Dickson-Poynder, the Free- trade Unionist Member, at the next Election. Considering that the Protectionists, encouraged by a member of the Cabinet, have a candidate in the field against Sir John Dickson-Poynder, and that the sitting Member has never hesitated in his opposition to Protection, the Liberal Asso- ciation could hardly have taken any other course and yet remained true to the cause of Free-trade. Nevertheless they deserve the thanks of all Free-traders for refusing to place party above principle. It is very greatly to be hoped that their excellent example will be promptly followed by other Liberal Associations, and that Liberal candidates already in the field against Free-trade Unionists—as, for example, Mr. Baring, who is standing against Major Seely—win prove the sincerity of their convictions by not splitting the Free-trade vote. We also note with satisfaction that the Wiltshire Liberals made no attempt to press Sir John Dickson-Poynder as to pledges for the future. They were content with his declaration that "so long as the Conservative party pro- claimed itself in favour of Protection, whether openly or otherwise, so long should he act with the party in the State which stood by the policy of Free-trade." That is a position which all Free-trade Unionists can rightly take up. They ought not, as Free-traders, to say less, but they ought not to be asked, as Unionists, to say more. While there is any rhinger from Protection they must not only vote against it, but must loyally help to keep a Free-trade Ministry in power as an essential safeguard against Protection. They must claim the right, however, when all danger from Protection is passed, to return to their own party,—a party purged, as we believe it ultimately will be, from the poison of Protection.