may memories / 21


21st May, 1903 : The Tariff League was launched today in London at a meeting to promote a preferential trading system within the Empire. Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, is its sponsor and he expects support across party lines. About 3,000 businessmen have already signed a petition demanding rearrangement of Empire fiscal duties. This follows Chamberlain’s recent Birmingham speech in which he called for consolidation of the Empire through strengthening the colonies. His argument is that the self-governing lands overseas will then be sure to rally behind the Mother Country in the event of attack on Britain by a coalition of hostile European nations. MP Winston Churchill was doubtful about Chamberlain’s tariff reform ideas. He said it was important not to disregard the people at home.

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