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FIGHTING FOR THE LEAD.

A UNANIMOUS EMPIRE. NEW ZEALAND'S NOBLE OFFER. (PRESS ASSOCIATION—COPYRIGHT.) (Received 8.15 a.m.) IA/JVjJcrN", March 23. Lord Plunkett's cablegram to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, contaming New Zealand's offer of a Dreadnought and a second if necessary, was immediately conveyed to Hie Majesty the King at Biarritz, to Mr. Asquith, and to the Admiralty. The Secretary of State for the Colonies has cabled to the Governor of the Dominion the following reply:— I should Hasten to assure your Prime Minister that hie message lias feeen received hy mc with the highest appreciation of the generous and spontaneous offer on behalf of New Zealand. It will be laid before His Majesty s Government. The "Daily Mail" declares: "Wβ shall gladly accept the preoious gifts offered by the oversea dominions, but we must be prepared ourselves to lay down eight Dreadnoughts, and to continue the process annually until our supremacy is indisputably established." The " Star" commends Mr. Asquith for smashing the artificial naval agitator. The "Manchester Guardian" describes Mr. Balfour's motion of censure on the Government on the ground that its Dreadnought programme is insufficient as a war policy, ana urges England to treat German professions as falsehoods, LIBERALS SUPPORTING THE EXTENSION. AGITATION NOT A PARTY MOVE. (Received 8.10 a.m.) LONDON, March 28. In the House of Commons yesterday, during the discussion on the naval vote, Mr. E. Beauchamp, Liberal member Tor Xowestoft and a former chairman of Lloyds, and Mr. A. C. Beck, Liberal member for Wisbech, urged the Government to include the four conditional Dreadnoughts in the 1909-10 programme. Mr. E. R. Ridsdale, Liberal member for Brighton, emphasised the grave anxiety existing through the length and breadth of the land. He said it was unfair to describe this as an agitation manipulated for party purposes. "It can be allayed," he continued, "at the cost of four Dreadnoughts. Then, for Heaven's sake, why not lay them down." (Opposition cheers.) The Lord Mayor of Bristol declined to receive a Navy Leagut deputation in favour of calling a' meeting to support a strong naval policy, declaring that a 9 a vote of censure was being discussed the question was now a political one. BRITAIN'S STEADY DETERMINATION. WILL NOT BE OUTSTRIPPED. UNANIMITY OF THE EMPIRE. (Received 8.15 a.m.) . . LONDON, March 23. The Unionist newspapers applaud the patriotic spirit prompting Australasian offers. They argue that the general feeling is: "We ought not to need them, and if we have failed in our duty this is not an occasion on which we ought to ask the colonies to come to help us out." The Conservative organs indignantly deny anything in the nature of a panic, but Bay that there simply exists a steady determination not to be outstripped in vital competitions. The "Morning Post" declares that Australasia's splendid example will have a far-reaching effect in quickening the epirit and hardening the Motherland's resolution to unflinchingly face the task before her. The "Times," remarking that the censure motion waa virtually anticipated in yesterday's debate on the naval vote, warns slr that the " unscrupulous agitator" referred to in his speech was clever enough to rouse the city into indignation on The one hand, and on the other to cause New Zealand to offer one or even two Dreadnoughts, and further to evoke striking demonstrations of- the daily-recorded sense of partnership in Imperial responsibilities in all the self-governing dominions. It adds: "The country and the Empire, by extraordinary unanimity, judged his measures inadequate."

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FIGHTING FOR THE LEAD. Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 71, 24 March 1909

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