23 DECEMBER 1905, Page 1

though we agree with portions of his programme—notably the declaration

in regard to the alteration of our licensing system in order to increase the revenue—there are certain things in it which we as Unionist Free-traders dislike and shall oppose, and certain things which we believe are entirely infructuous and will never be carried out. Our Protectionist critics will no doubt retort in this context : " See what comes of supporting Liberals and opposing the doctrines of Protection." Our answer is clear. We have never failed to face the fact that the breaking up of the Unionist party by Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Balfour was a great political calamity, and that it would have to be paid for at a heavy price. But though the price is so heavy, it is infinitely lighter than that which would have to be paid if Protection under either of its aliases were to prevail. That would mean the break-up of the Empire, and the plunging of the nation into a condition of industrial disintegration, of which the destruction of the social fabric might in the end be the only outcome.