20 MAY 1905, Page 3

" The weaknesses of weaker brethren cannot be left out

of account by the leader of one of the great political parties in the State. It is worse than useless to thrust upon them meat too strong for their digestion, and it is notorious that a certain number of excellent Unionists have very queasy stomachs on the subject of Tariff Reform. The opinions and the sympathies of Mr. Balfour on the question are well known, but he cannot be guided solely by his personal views and personal wishes in framing a line of action for his party as a whole. The course which he has taken, with the approval of the great majority of his followers, powerfully promotes the ultimate victory of Tariff Reform principles. It is educational, and it has the merit of securing for the policy of Retaliation many votes, both in Parlia- ment an in the country, which would probably be lost were it Here we have it declared in plain terms that Mr. Balfour is acting like the dog in a decoy. He is luring the timid, quacking ducks to follow him up the harmless-looking waterway which ends in the net set to enmesh them all. If Mr. Balfour had no such intentions, we may be certain that the Times, which is controlled by men whose business it is to study and ascertain the hidden facts of politics, would never have committed itself to a declaration so clear and specific as that just quoted. Leading articles of that kind are not written at a venture or based on mere untrustworthy gossip.