23 JANUARY 1909, Page 2

A meeting of the Executive Committee of the Unionist Free-Trade

Club was held on Thursday, when the position of Unionist Free-trade Members of Parliament was considered in view of the action of the Confederates. It was resolved that every effort should be made to support existing Unionist Members who may be attacked by that organisation, and that it be an instruction to the Organisation Committee of the Club to take the necessary steps to put the resolution into effect. We deal elsewhere with the whole attempt to drive Free-traders out of the Unionist Party. We will only say here that the attempt is based on a thoroughly vicious principle which is the negation of all statesmanship, as that has always been understood and estimated in Great Britain. It is a pleasure to be able to call attention to the leading article in the Times of Friday on this subject, an article which is inspired by sanity and responsibility and a full appreciation of the traditions of our politics,—qualities of which the Confederates appear to be as destitute as young children. The Times, while professing its firm allegiance to Tariff Reform, insists that the variety and elasticity of our institutions are the secret of their perrmanenoe. If narrow tests were to be exacted, we should

have a couple of machine-made parties confronting one another, with none of the golden bridges which for ages have brought together irreconcilable policies. '