Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
133
CAMPBELTOWN

and the allied Liberal policy for abolishing Chinese labour, the administration of Ireland, and »the, arnendment of the Education Act of 1902 so as to remove its supposed denominational character. In, his speech at the Albert Hall;on the erst of December 1905 it was noticeable that, before the elections, the prime minister laid stress on only one subject which could be regarded as part of a constructive programme the necessity of doing something for canals, which was soon shelved to a. royal commission. But in spite of the fiasco of the Irish Councils Bill (1907), the struggles over education (Mr Birrell's bill of 1906 being dropped on account of the Lords' amendments), the rejection by the peers of the Plural Voting Abolition Bill (1906), and the failure (again due to the Lords) of the Scottish Small Holdings Bill and Valuation Bill (1907), which at the time made his premiership appear to be a period of bitter and unproductive debate, a good many reforming measures of some moment were carried. A new Small Holdings Act~ (1907) for England was passed-; the Trades Disputes Act (1906) removed the position of trades unions from the controversy excited over the Taff Vale decision; Mr Lloyd-George's Patents Act (1907) and Merchant Shipping Act (1906) were welcomed by the tariff reformers as embodying their own policy; a long-standing debate was closed by the passing of the Deceased Wife's Sister Act (1907); and acts for establishing a public trustee, a court of criminal appeal, a system of probation for juvenile offenders, and a census of production, were passed in 1907. Meanwhile, though the Colonial Conference (re-named Imperial) of 1907 showed that there was a wide difference of opinion on the tariff question between the free-trade government and the colonial premiers, in one part of the empire the ministry took a decided step-~in the establishment of a self-governing constitution for the Transvaal and Orange River colonies-which, for good or ill, would make the period memorable. Mr Haldane's new army scheme was no less epoch-making in Great Britain. In foreign affairs, the conclusion of a treaty with Russia for delimiting the British and Russian spheres of influence in the Middle East laid the foundations of entirely new relations between the British and Russian governments. On the other hand, so far as concerned the ultimate fortunes of the Liberal party, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's premiership can only be regarded as a period of marking time. He had become its leader as a conciliator of the various sections, and it was as a conciliator, ready to sympathize with the strong views of all sections of his following, that he kept the party together, while his colleagues went their own ways in their own departments. His own special “leads ” were few, owing to the personal reasons given above; his declaration at the Queen's Hall, London, early in 1907, in favour of drastic land reform, served only to encourage a number of extremists; and the Liberal enthusiasm against the House of Lords, violently excited in 1906 by the fate of the Education Bill and Plural Voting Bill, was rather damped than otherwise, when his method o-f procedure by resolution of the House of Commons was disclosed in 1907. The House passed by an enormous majority a resolution (introduced on June 2 5) “that in order to give effect to the will of the people, as expressed by their representatives, it is necessary that the power of the other House to alter or reject bills passed by this House should be so restricted by law as to secure that within the limits of a single parliament the final decision of the Commons shall prevail”; but the prime minister's explanation that statutory provision should be made for two or three successive private conferences between the two Houses as to any bill in dispute at intervals of about six months, and that, only after that, the bill in question should be finally sent up by the Commons with the intimation that unless passed in that form it would become law over their heads, was obviously not what was wanted by enthusiastic opponents of the second chamber. The problem still remained, how to get the House of Lords to pass a “law” to restrict their own powers. After the passing of this resolution the cry against the House of Lords rapidly weakened, since it became clear at the by-elections (culminating at Peckham in March 1908) that the “will of the people” was by no means unanimously on the side of the bills which had failed to pass.

The result of the two years was undoubtedly to revive the confidence of the Opposition, who found that they had outlived the criticisms of the general election, and both on the question of tariff reform and on matters of general politics were again holding their own. The failure of the government in Ireland (where the only success was Mr Birrell's introduction of the Universities Bill in April 1908), their internal divisions as regards socialistic legislation, their variance from the views of the self governing colonies on Imperial administration, the admission after the general election that the alleged “slavery ” of the Chinese in the Transvaal was, in Mr Winston Churchill's phrase, a "terminological inexactitude,” and the introduction of extreme measures such as the Licensing Bill of 1908, offered excellent opportunities of electioneering attack. Moreover, the Liberal promises of economy had been largely falsified, the reductions in the navy estimates being dangerous in themselves, while the income tax still remained at practically the war level. For much of all this the prime minister's colleagues were primarily responsible; but he himself had given a lead to the anti-militarist section by prominently advocating international disarmament, and the, marked rebuff to the British proposals at the Hague conference of 1907 exposed alike the futility of this Radical ideal and the general inadequacy of the prime minister's policy of pacific ism. Sir Henry's rather petulant intolerance of Unionist Opposition, shown at the opening of the 1906 session in his dismissal of a speech by Mr Balfour with the words “Enough of this foolery” gradually gave way before the signs of Unionist reintegration. His resignation took place at a moment when the Liberal, Irish and Labour parties were growing restive under their obligations, government policy stood in need of concentration against an Opposition no longer divided and making marked headway in the country, and the ministry had to be reconstituted under a successor, Mr Asquith, towards whom, so far, there was no such feeling of personal devotion as had been the chief factor in Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's leadership. (H. CH.)

CAMPBELTOWN, a royal, municipal and police burgh, and seaport of Argyllshire, Scotland. Pop. (1901) 8286. It is situated on a fine bay, towards the S.E. extremity of the peninsula of Kintyre, 11 m. N.E. of the Mull and 83 m. S.W. of Glasgow by water. The seat of the Dalriad monarchy in the 6th or 7th century, its importance declined when the capital was transferred to Forteviot. No memorial of its antiquity has survived, but the finely sculptured granite cross standing on a pedestal in the market-place belongs to the 12th century, and there are ruins of some venerable chapels and churches. Through the interest of the Campbells, who are still the overlords and from whom it takes its name, it became a royal burgh in 1700. It was the birthplace of the Rev. Dr Norman Macleod (1812). The chief public buildings are the churches (one of which occupies the site of a castle of the Macdonalds), the town house, the Academy and the Athenaeum. The staple industry is whisky distilling, of which the annual output is 2,000,000 gallons, more than half for export. The port is the head of a fishery district and does a thriving trade. Shipbuilding, net and rope-making, and woollen manufacturing are other industries, and coal is mined in the vicinity. There are three piers and a safe and capacious harbour, the bay, called Campbeltown Loch, measuring 2 m. in length by 1 in breadth. At its entrance stands a lighthouse on the island of Davaar. On the Atlantic shore is the splendid golf-course of Machrihanish, 5 m. distant. Machrihanish is connected with Campbeltown by a light railway. Near the village of Southend is Machrireoch, the duke of Argyll's shooting-lodge, an old structure modernized, commanding superb views of the Firth of Clyde and its islands, and of Ireland. On the rock of Dunaverty stood the castle of Macdonald of the Isles, who was dispossessed by the Campbells in the beginning of the 17th century. At this place in 1647 General David Leslie is said to have ordered 300 of the Macdonalds to be slain after their surrender. Of the ancient church founded here by Columba, only the walls remain. Campbeltown unites with Ayr, Inveraray, Irvine and Oban in sending one member (for the “Ayr Burghs”) to parliament.