26 NOVEMBER 1887, Page 1

The Conservative Conference at Oxford, which met on Mon- day,

and sat for three days, prodnced rather an ominous sign of the times. It included nearly a thousand delegates from Con- servative clubs in the United Kingdom, and on Tuesday it passed a Protectionist resolution by an immense majority, only about -thirty hands being held up, in the first instance, in favour of the " previous question," and only about a dozen, in the last in- stoups, against the substance of the resolution itself. Mr. Howard Vincent proposed the resolution, which ran thus :gr-" That the continued depression in trade and agriculture, the increase in scarcity of employment, and the consequent distress among all classes, render speedy reform in the policy of the United King- dom as regards foreign imports and the influx of indigent foreigners, a matter of vital necessity to the people of Great Britain and Ireland." That means, of coarse, a widespread revolt against Free-trade, and the jubilation of men like Sir William Harcourt over it is as shortsighted as it is unpatriotic. For though the blind desire for Protection shows itself first in the Conservative ranks on account of the Protectionism of certain Conservative leaders, it is spreading among the puzzle- headed of all ranks, the Liberals as much as the Conservatives, and has already very gravely affected the Liberals in the rural districts. On the Continent, in our Colonies, and in the United States, as we all know, the Protectionists are quite as numerous amongst the Radicals ae amongst the most Conservative of the Conservatives. Sir William Harcourt will have to reckon with it yet in his own party.