23 DECEMBER 1905, Page 3

A meeting convened by the Unionist Free-Trade Club was held

at Clifton on Monday, at which Lord Hugh Cecil delivered an extremely able and witty speech. Starting with the admission that he heartily regretted the Fiscal question had ever been raised, he declared that as long as Mr. Chamber- lain went on maintaining his side of the controversy they must go on maintaining theirs. He was not sure of Mr. Chamberlain's ",desolating logic," but there could be no doubt as to the desolating effect of his eloquence, particularly on his own peaty. Indeed, Mr. Chamberlain " might be com- pared to some great barbarian conqueror, so devastating was his course, but for the circumstance that the barbarian conqueror always devastated his enemies, whereas Mr.

Chamberlain devastated his friends." He reminded one of the coachman who, after colliding no fewer than five times and ending with a total upset, defended himself against his master's remonstrances with the remark : " You see, Sir, I have such nerve." Lord Hugh Cecil repudiated with passion the view that there was a substantial agreement between Mr. Balfour and Mr. Chamberlain. On the contrary, they differed funda- mentally, not in detail, but in principle, on the question of a general Protective tariff. We wish the facts bore out Lord Hugh Cecil's view of the antagonism between the policies of the two leaders ; but be that as it may, the speech was an excellent one.