31 JANUARY 1903, Page 18

Sir Henry Fowler addressed a Liberal meeting at Bishop Auckland

on Tuesday evening, prefacing his remarks with a generous tribute to Mr. Chamberlain. He thought that the Colonial Secretary had discharged the difficult and responsible duties of his present visit to Africa with courage, caution, and courtesy : and further that he had secured, to an extent which neither friends nor foes could have anticipated, the confidence and respect of those Boers with whom we were so recently in conflict. Turning to the Education Act, Sir Henry Fowler made it clear that he ranged himself with Lord Spencer rather than Lord Rosebery. He did not disguise his dislike of the measure, but could not share the view that Liberals and Nonconformists should leave it alone and not help in its administration. Rather he held it to he

their duty to make the best of it as it was, and render its working as just and fair as possible. After some legitimate criticisms on the Ministerial action in regard to Venezuela. Sir Henry Fowler concluded by a statement of the duty of Liberals. It was, he said, not to pretend that there were no difficulties and differences of opinion, but to unite on what was essential, urgent, and practicable. The Liberal party did not at this moment possess the confidence of the country, and there was no good pretending that they did ; but there were encouraging signs abroad that it was deserving and securing that confidence.