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{\Large{MR.\ BALFOUR'S REPLY TO PROFESSOR MUNRO.}}
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Last evening Mr.\ Balfour addressed a largely attended meeting
of the electors of East Manchester in Christ Church Schoolrooms,
Bradford.  Mr.\ \textsc{Clegg Livesey} presided, and there were also on
the platform Miss Balfour and Mrs.\ Thompson, Mr.\ S.\ Chesters
Thompson, Mr.\ A.\ Waithman, Mr.\ E.\ Williams, Rev.\ Dr.\ Fletcher,
Mr.\ J. Thewlis Johnson, Mr.\ T.\ Elliott, Mr.\ Alderman ? Shaw, and
others.

Mr.\ \textsc{Balfour}, who was enthusiastically applauded, said
he supposed that the topic uppermost in the mind of every man who
listened to him was the great cause which was now before the electorate
of  England, the question whether they should of should not have Home
Rule for Ireland.---(Cries of No''(  On that topic he tonight
addressed an enthusiastic meeting, and on that topic he should have to
address them more than once.  He should have to enter into controversy
Morley, and other gentlemen.  That night, however, he meant to deal with
what he might perhaps describe as a more domestic antagonist.  He meant
to say a few words about a pamphlet which, he was given to understand,
had been circulated by Professor Munro.---(Hooting.)\ \ Professor Munro
had a perfect right to circulate it, and he was not complaining on that
account.  He meant to say a few words about that pamphlet, not so much
for the intrinsic interest of the subject or the importance of the
arguments which Mr.\ Munro had thought fit to introduce, but because he
thought it hardly respectful either to him or to those who differed from
him (Mr.\ Balfour) in that constituency in politics entirely to ignore
the special views laid before them by their representative of
Gladstonian and Separatist Liberalism.  He was not very anxious to deal
with the subject, because he could hardly do so without to a certain
extent occupying them with questions personal to himself.  He had much
rather dealt with the Irish question upon broad principles, apart from
individuals or the performances of individuals---(hear, hear),---and
excepting so far as that particular attack upon him was concerned he
hoped to avoid having to occupy the time of his East Manchester friends
by any special discussion upon the results of his own administration of
Ireland, or any detailed refutations of the numerous calumnies which,
for political purposes, it had been thought expedient by his opponents
from time to time to bring forward upon the subject of his Irish
administration.  However, as Professor Munro seemed to think that the
battle in that constituency had best be fought upon the question of
Irish government during the last four or five years, Heaven forbid that
he should shrink from a contest of that nature.---(Hear, hear.)\ \ He at
all events had no reason to fear the minutest examination, the closest
criticism of the Government during that period.  For after all Mr.\
Munro was but a poor imitator, a feeble copyist of men far more
experienced than himself in the arts of political detraction, and it had
been his fortune, on the whole he thought, his good fortune, to meet
with antagonists far more formidable, carrying very much heavier weight
of metal---(laughter and cheers),---than it was given to Professor
Munro, at least up to the present time, to bring to bear against his
account of his (Mr.\ Balfour's) administration in Ireland.  It might be
in their recollection that when he was speaking at Belle Vue in May last
statements advanced by Mr.\ Munro.  The pamphlet he held in his hand
purported to be an answer to what he then said.  It had been stated,
quite truly, though not, he thought, much by him individually, that
during the last five years the material condition of Ireland had very
largely improved.---(Cheers.)\ \ He ventured to say that there was not a
single man in or out of Ireland who had any practical acquaintance with
the condition of the people in the country who would not bear out that
statement.  Until Professor Munro arose among them he did not think it
had occurred to any human being to throw the least doubt on the immense
improvements in Ireland.  But the improvement in Ireland from 1886 to
1892 was an inconvenient fact, and therefore the Gladstonians set
themselves to work to prove that the fact was no fact at all.  Exactly
in the same way, Mr.\ Gladstone at Chester, finding that the prosperity
of Ulster was either more prosperous or more wealthy than the rest of
Ireland.  There were certain things which it was no use trying to
disprove.  There were certain propositions so obvious to every man who
knew the facts that it was in vain to parade, he would not say cooked
statistics, for that would be offensive, but manipulated statistics,
before the eyes of any audience in the country.---(Hear, hear.)
Professor Munro reminded him of an old saying which he rather
reluctantly proposed, in that company, to repeat.  It was to the effect
that there were three gradations of inveracity---there were lies, there
were d---d lies, and there were statistics.---(Laughter.)\ \ He hoped he
might be forgiven for the words of the quotation---(laughter):---the
quotation did not, he could assure them, represent his own ordinary
style.  Professor Munro’s statistics he dealt with in part at Belle Vue,
but Professor Munro returned to the charge with more statistics.  He
would give a specimen of his statistics---(A voice: Disprove
them'')---which he thought would prove that the saying he had
respectfully ventured to quote sometimes had considerable foundation in
fact.  He was driven by something that Mr.\ Munro had said on a previous
occasion to allude to the fact that in Ireland in the last few years
increased.  But what did Professor Munro say about it?  He said that he
(Mr.\ Balfour) had recently at Belle Vue endeavoured, misrepresenting
his views, to avoid the challenge---that was, that he claimed that the
number of live stock had increased, and that there was an improvement in
the railway traffic.  In that and in other matters relating to Ireland
Professor Munro said that he (Mr.\ Balfour) had discovered half the
truth, and that he was correct as to live stock, and so far, at all
events, he had brought conviction to his (Mr.\ Balfour's) mind; but he
(Mr.\ Balfour) was wrong as to railway traffic.  The average receipts,
said Mr.\ Munro, from passengers during the years 1881 to 1885, when
Mr.\ Gladstone was in office, were £1,098 per mile, while the average
receipts between the years 1886-90, when  Mr.\ Balfour was in office,
were only £1,092 per mile, showing a decrease of £6 per mile.  That
sounded very convincing, and yet when he reflected that Professor Munro
was, after all, a professor of political economy, and ought to know the
meaning and value of statistics, he could not help saying---though he
was reluctant to use strong language---that it appeared to him to be one
of the most disingenuous statements ever put before a public audience,
who could not be supposed to have the mans of correcting it.---(Cheers.)
What were the facts?  There had been a great extension of light railways
in Ireland, and the result had been undoubtedly to confer an enormous
benefit and boon upon the poorer parts of the country.  But it had also
had the effect, of course, of gradually increasing the mileage of the
railways, and therefore the number of miles over which the average
traffic receipts had to be calculated.  So that from the fact that there
had been a great railway extension in Ireland Mr.\ Munro actually
deduced the conclusion that Ireland was worse off, because the receipts
per mile had diminished.  There was a much better test than the average
receipts per mile which Mr.\ Munro must have deliberately concealed, and
which had he in common honesty laid before the constituency would have
disproved the whole contention he was endeavouring to make.  If they
were to take railway statistics as an indication of the prosperity of a
country it should be the gross traffic receipts in the
country.---(Cheers.)\ \ The total traffic receipts in 1885 were
£2,759,000: they had been rising steadily every year, and in 1891, the
lat year upon which he had got the figures, they had reached the total
of £3,146,000, the highest figures ever reached in Ireland.---(Cheers.)\
controversy?  Was it not a finished performance in the way of
misrepresentation, from a man practised by profession in dealing with
such subjects.  So far as he could see, Mr.\ Munro was absolutely and
deliberately misleading the persons whom it was his bounden duty to
instruct in the true facts of the case.  He thought it was a deplorable
and melancholy fact, when a man---when a student by profession,---a man
who was bound by his very condition in life to devote his reason to
sifting and dealing with facts like those he had brought before them,
instead of using his gifts and his acquirements for the purpose of
falsehood which had poured over the country.  The old calumnies had lost
a good deal of their interest and value, but Mr.\ Munro did not shrink
from them.  He noticed that he made a quotation from a speech of his in
that constituency---a quotation which he had not verified, but which he
dared say was correct---in which he said that he should deplore, and
trusted it would not be necessary, to deprive Ireland of the freedom of
the press and the right of public meeting.  Then Mr.\ Munro went on to
say, notwithstanding the speech he (Mr.\ Balfour) delivered to his
constituents a few months after he was returned upon becoming Irish
Secretary, that he (Mr.\ Balfour) took part in passing a Coercion Act
for Ireland which deprived the Irish not only of the freedom of the
press but the right of public meeting, and all the leading rights which
Englishmen enjoyed.---(Cheers.)\ \ His friend in the crowd would perhaps
be surprised to hear that there was nothing whatever in the Act to which
he had so strong an objection that either deprived Irishmen of the
freedom of the press or of the right of public meeting.  There was not a
single clause, so far as he knew, which had that effect, and the law at
this moment with regard to public meetings and the freedom of the press
in Ireland was precisely the same it was in England.---(Cheers, and a
voice: What about Mitchelstown?'')\ \ Mitchelstown, he would
respectfully inform the gentleman who interrupted, had nothing to do
with the freedom of the press; and as far as public meeting was
concerned, the riot at Mitchelstown arose out of the determined and
brutal assault of the mob on the police and not out of any attempt to
suppress public meeting under the Crimes Act.---(Cheers.)\ \ He could
not help thinking that his friend in the crowd was thinking of another
Act passed by another Government---(hear, hear)---which did interfere
with the liberty of the press and the rights of public meeting,---an Act
passed in 1882, when the Prime Minister has the Right Hon.\ William
Gladstone.---(Hooting and cheers.)\ \ He did pass a Crimes Act which,
unlike the Crimes Act to which his friend in the meeting referred, did
interfere with the liberty of the press and the right of public meeting.
It was a matter of small surprise that Mr.\ Munro, who had blundered
fictions to choose from, and why he had chosen was past one’s
understanding.  He said boys were arrested in the streets for trying to
earn a living by selling newspapers favourable to the Irish cause.
Probably they had all herd that fiction before; it was one of the oldest
lies current on the subject of Irish administration. (Cheers.)\ \ Three
of the boys were convicted of street obstruction, a fourth for throwing
stones at the police, and of the fifth there was no ground for thinking
he ever existed except in the fertile imagination of the original
inventor of the story.---(Cheers.)\ \ This was the kind of thing, when
were all sick and tired to death with these fictions about the
administration of the Crimes Act, that Professor Munro dragged out of
some dusty old drawer, without examining its truth, without apparently
giving the slightest thought of whether he was propagating the truth or
spreading falsehood.---(Cheers.)\ \ If it were worth while, Mr.\ Balfour
proceeded, he could go on talking for half-an-hour about the mistakes in
Professor Munro's pamphlet.  For example, there was a statement that
under the Crimes Act crime did not diminish; or rather that crime began
to diminish long before the Crimes Act was passed, and therefore it was
not due to the Crimes Act,.  Let them not believe it.---(A voice: We
will have to believe it.'')\ \ His friend in the audience uttered a
great truth.,  He said, We will have to believe it.''---(Laughter and
cheers.) They allowed him no choice.---(Renewed laughter.)\ \ Home
Rulers had a great deal to swallow in those days, and like his friend in
the meeting they did not like the operation, but they had to do it.  He
would advise those who were still open to conviction on this important
subject to take heed of the conclusive evidence of official statistics.
Crime rose steadily when the pressure of the Crimes Act was taken off,
and steadily diminished when the pressure of the Crimes Act was renewed,
and so far as they could tell from the figures the union of hearts,
which was pompous phrase and Gladstonian bid for the Irish vote, had no
effect whatever in preventing the increase of agrarian outrage.  The
more serious agrarian offences in 1884 were about 380.  The Crimes Act
was then in force.  In 1885 it was taken off, and the crimes increased
to 506.  In 1886 Mr.\ Gladstone brought in the Home Rule Bill, and the
union o hearts began.  In that year the agrarian crimes, exclusive of
threatening letters, were 632.  In the next year, 1887, the Crimes Act
was in force.  Serious agrarian crime fell to 591; in 1888 they sank to
411, in 1889 to 341, in 1890 to 320, and in 1891 to a little over
250.---(Crimes.)\ \ Now, unless in Ireland facts had the curious
property of preceding their causes, he did not see how it was possible
to conclude, from those figures, that diminution of agrarian crime as
due to the union of hearts; it was evidently due,---largely, at all
events, he did not claim it to be solely due---to the firm
administration of the Crimes Act.  If Mr.\ Munro would only consent to
look at those figures with the eye of a political economist, and not as
a party politician, he was sure he would be forced to come to the
conclusion which every impartial student must come to on the
facts.---(Hear, hear.)\ \ He (Mr.\ Balfour) had troubled the meeting
with a few of the salient points from the document, but he thought he
had done enough to show his respect for Professor Munro and his
supporters.  He hoped to be permitted in future occasions to deal with
the broader aspects of the Home Rule problem, without having to go back
upon those petty, sordid, and worn-out calumnies which had occupied so
much of his time and their time in the past.  He desired in future to
discuss the question in its broader aspects, as it related to the safety
of the Empire, the welfare of the population, and their duty to the
minority in Ireland, and especially the minority in Ulster; and last,
but not least, in its relation to the constitution of the
country.---(Cheers.)\ \ It was not sufficient to claim---as they did
claim---that Ireland could be governed by the laws as they now existed;
it was not sufficient to show, as he had shown and should show
again---(cheers)---that the Home Rule Bill, as far as it had been
presented to them, carried with it not promise of settlement of the
Irish question---(a voice: Nonsense''),---no hope for the pacification
of Ireland, no probability of freeing the Imperial Parliament from the
incubus of Irish discussion.  On the other hand , it was grossly unjust
to the minority in Ireland and grossly inexpedient from the point of
view of the interests of the majority in Ireland, while so far as
England, Scotland, and Wales were concerned it was most inequitable and
unjust, and would be the most absurd measure, in its present shape,
which had ever issued from the brains of politicians in search of a
majority.---(Cheers.)

An elector asked if the minority in Ireland owed any duty to
them majority.

Mr.\ \textsc{Balfour}, in reply, said every citizen in Great Britain
and Ireland owed it to the community at large to do his best for the
common interest.---(Cheers, and a voice: That's no answer.'')

Proceeding, Mr.\ Balfour answered a number of written questions.
The first refereed to the Eight Hours Bill for miners.  The right hon.\
gentleman said he knew from experience that there was in this
constituency a considerable mining population.  He recollected that he
had the pleasure some few years ago of going down a coal mine and seeing
them for himself.  His view was this.  He was in heartiest sympathy and
agreement with those who desired to see a diminution in the hours of
labour and especially in the hours of labour of such arduous toilers as
those who followed their occupations in coal mines.  If there was a
difference between them it was simply as to whether there or not  the
diminution of the number of hours should be made by a fixed rule,
imposed upon all men, irrespective of the conditions under which they
carried out their industry.  So far as general knowledge was concerned
he thought it would be admitted---it was admitted by the great bulk of
responsible politicians---that a universal Eight Hour Bill would
probably do more to destroy British industry, and thereby injure the
working classes of the country, than any other single measure that could
be conceived.  He thought most of those who had thought over the
question in all its bearings would agree that should be admitted.  Then
it would be granted that it would be a serious step to make an Eight
Hour Bill in favour of one particular industry.  He admitted that that
was not a conclusive argument, and he did not stand there bound by any
rigid orthodoxy on this question.  Hf would not pronounce a final and
conclusive opinion on this or any other question into which the Labour
answer he now gave was provisional.  He had voted against the Miners'
Eight Hours Bill as he understood it at the present moment, and so far
as he was able to grasp the very complex social problem with which they
were dealing, if that bill were brought forward again he should give the
same vote; but he freely and frankly acknowledged that on this subject
he could not profess to speak as an expert.  Anything he could do to
ameliorate the conditions of the workers, and especially of those
engaged in the difficult and sometimes dangerous occupation of coal
mining, should certainly be done.

In answer to the question as to whether he has in favour of one
man, one vote, Mr.\ Balfour said he did not think that, except so far as
registration was concerned, they need again occupy the time of
Parliament, which might be better spent in dealing with questions of
reform.  He thought it far more important that there should be one vote
one value than that there should be one man one vote.  To further
questions submitted to him Mr.\ Balfour said land was already taxed, and
ought to be taxed.  He saw no objection to making either ground rents or
any other form of property bear its full share of the burdens of
taxation.  Existing contracts, however, must not be interfered with.  He
had voted for woman suffrage.  He was in favour in every respect of
placing personal property and real property as it was called upon an
equal footing.  As to local self-government for Ireland, he had the
honour not only of voting for a bill providing for self-government for
Ireland, but of bringing one in and speaking upon it.---(Hear, hear, and
a voice: Where is it?'')\ \ He was in favour of everything which
rendered it way to transfer parcels of land from those who desired to
sell to those who desired to buy, and he belonged  to the only party in
the State which, so far as he knew, had ever done anything practical to
attain that object.---(Cheers.)

On the motion of Mr.\ E.\ \textsc{Williams}, seconded by Mr.\ A.\
\textsc{Waithman}, the following resolution was passed:---

{\small{That this meeting of the electors of the Bradford Ward
of the East Manchester Parliamentary division expresses its entire
approval of the policy pursed by the later Government, both at home and
abroad; and also its unqualified satisfaction with the programme for
future legislation as set forth in the address of our esteemed
candidate; and pledges itself to use every legitimate means to secure
his triumphant return.}}

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\textit{Manchester Guardian}, Wednesday, June 29, 1892 Page 5.
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Arthur James Balfour, 1st Earl of Balfour (1848--1930).
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