The Akaroa Mail. TUESDAY, JULY 7, 1914. A GREAT STATESMAN.
The death of Mr Joseph Chamberlain, the great English statesman, ends an illustrious career. Mr Chamberlain's record is one of which tiny man should be proud. He started work at a Birmingham firm, of which hig father wag a partner, at the age of eighteen. By big keen insight into business and a quick grasp of trade opportunities with foreign firms he built up the firm's business on a solid basis, and at
fcho aga of 88 retired with ft fortifne. Ho then entered public life, and has been asoociafced ever since with the town of Birmingham. Hβ began bis political life in 1876 as the representative of Birmingham. His views were very far advanced for those timesfand bis easy eloquence made him a valuable addition to the Radical Party. In 1880, only four years after he bad taken his seat in tbe House of Commons, Mr Chamberlain was given the post of President of the Board of Trade in the Cabinet of 1880, Mr Gladstone found Mr Chamberlain a very Radical colleague, and bis fiery statements earned him much enmity and disfavour in high quarters. Queen Victoria was much incensed at M r Chamberlain's views on the taxes which the owners of property should pay, and more so when he went to greater lengths and remarked on the way the Sovereign evaded the income tax. The coalition with Gladstone only lasted sis years, when Mr Cham-, berlain fell out with his chief over the question which is engaging so much attention now, Home Rule. "Punch , ' of that year had a very fine cartoon, depicting this parting of the ways. Gladstone was portrayed as carrying ,a large cage witb a number of birds all with heads of the Ministry of that day, and up in the sky a bird with Chamberlain's bead wa3 seen. Gladstone wa3 looking up sadly at tbe lost bird, and quoting the famous lines from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet:
" Oh, for my sweet falcon dove To lure this tassle gentle back again."
It was in 1895 thai; Mr Chamberlain loomed again so largely in front of the public eye. He wa3 made Secretary for the Colonies, and conducted negotiations with the Transvaal, resulting
jin the war, Hβ has been fittingly :• described as the idol of the nation 1 during the conduct of the war, and he continued to be a prominent figure in the Cabinet till 1903, when his fiscal policy caused a split in the Unionist Party. He resigned from the Cabinet with the idea of progecuting his scheme for preference to»British colonies, and thereby cementing the Empire together. However, ill-health overtook him; and he was unable to pay mu6h attention to the furtherance of his pet scheme. Mr Chamberlain's parliamentary career is of great interest, but if; siqks into insignificance beside b>3 work for the town of Bir mingbam Too much cannot be said for what he did for that city. In one c:ke hs bought up a quarter full of slutng, and pulling down the old buildings, furnished the locality with good residences and shops. Then, finding the water supply in another locality very inadequate, as the people only got water three days in the wetk, as Mayor of Birmingham he was abie to have put in a ,water supply syeteta of the most up'to date (style, and was able to give the water to the people at a cheaper rate than they were paying for the old unsatis factory • system. The Corporation also built gasworks, where they were able to retail & good article at a cheap rate. These are only a few instances of the work done by Mr Chamberlain for Bir mingham, and in that; city his memory will be I'evered for all time, With regard to his political career, many have found fault with his desertion of the Gladstone Party. Mr Chamberlain was a severe opponent of Home Rule, and he was a man who could not possibly remain with a party unless his vieVs coincided with theirs. Though he became a supporter of the Conservative Perty, he was alwaye progressive, as can be proved by the l fact that at the end oLhig career he ' propounded a fiscal reform scheme of the most revolutionary nature. J