A large company assembled in the grounds of Holmestead, Castlethorpe on Saturday, and thoroughly enjoyed an attractive garden fete, arranged by a Committee of the Women’s Tariff Reform League. Mrs. Lee Wynn, who is local President of the League, kindly threw open the whole of her charming grounds, and as the weather turned out beautifully fine the Committee had every reason to be satisfied with their efforts the promotion of the forward policy of Tariff Reform. The grounds, refreshed after the recent rains, were looking at their best, the roses being especially a feature, and a liberal display of flags and bunting helped to add a festive character to the proceedings.
A meeting was held in the afternoon, Col. P. Broome Giles presided, supported by Mrs. Lee Wynn, Lieut. Colonel F. T. H. Bernard (the Conservative Candidate for North Bucks.), and Mrs. Bernard, Mrs. Watts, Dr. Rutherford (Castlethorpe), Mrs. Borrett (Hatton Court), Mrs. W. J. Harkness (Hanslope Rectory), Miss Cadd, Mr. J. Attwood Reeve, Mr. and Mrs. J. Hall, (Stony Stratford), Mr. Whiting (Castlethorpe), Mr. W. Fry, Mr. and Mrs. John Tilly, Miss Bruce (Wolverton).
The chairman criticising the radical meeting at Bletchley, remarked that Sir Harry Verney was introduced in a somewhat peculiar manner. It was said they wanted an ideal candidate (laughter)-because he was a man of peace, and Col. Bernard was not an ideal candidate, because he was a man of war. As to the ideal cause, what Free Trade given them? A far greater rate of unemployment than any of the great countries-almost double in fact, and they were compelled to look on whilst rival countries were reducing British manufactures and resources almost to a minimum (applause).
Colonel Bernard, who was warmly received, commented upon the Chairman’s remarks. No one he said, desired anything so terrible as warfare, would be under modern conditions. It was the greatest hope that the country would keep out of it as long as possible, but it was imperative that everyone should learn something of the defence of their country (hear hear). Having reviewed the history of Free Trade from the time of Cobden, Col. Bernard enlarged on the various points of Tariff reform. He pointed to Japan, a new country, which had adopted tariffs as the best policy for a go-ahead nation, and had recently put on a fresh tariff, the object of which was extremely detrimental to English industries. It was plain to see that this policy was in order to benefit their own textile manufacturers and encourage their expansion. The shrinkage of England’s agriculture, the industry which should be the backbone of a nation, was next dealt with; it was obvious to all that it was nothing like in value to the trade done 50 or 60 years ago, a view taken by Mr. Harris at the Devon and Cornwall Chamber of Agriculture. The remarkable growth of Germany in the iron and steel industries was supported by facts and figures, and a striking illustration was given that England’s best markets, or those which were fully open to them, were those which had been obtained by force of arms- Egypt, India, China, and the Colonies (hear hear). The speaker also spoke in favour of preferential treatment with the Colonies.
Thanks to Col. Bernard for his address were heartily accorded on the motion of Mr. J. Attwood Reeve, seconded by Mr. J. Hall, and a similar compliment was paid to Mrs. Wynn for the use of her grounds, on the proposition of Mr. W. Fry, seconded by Mr. Whitehead.
The speech-making closed with a vote of thanks to the Chairman, moved by Colonel Bernard, seconded by Mrs. Wynn.
Tea followed, served on the lawn, the rest of the evening being devoted to enjoyment. The Yardley Gobion Britannia Band played selections and later for dancing, whilst object lessons of Tariff Reform were given in the political sketch, “John Bull at Market,” taken part in by a company of young ladies from Stony Stratford, under the superintendence of Miss Cadd, an energetic and enthusiastic worker for Tariff reform. Miss Martin took the part of John Bull, and the piece was creditable performed, was loudly applauded at the close. Mrs. Bernard favoured the company with a song. “Come lassies and lads,” for which she was heartily encored, and gave “My first love.” The Morris Dancers, also of Stony Stratford, gave a skilful exhibition of their powers, and Master Willie Taylor and Miss Glad. Thorpe sweetly sang a duet, “The Elfin’s Call.” The gathering was augmented by several hundred in the evening.