The annual meeting of the members of the East Cumberland Conservative Association was held on Saturday afternoon last, in the County Hotel, Carlisle. There was a very good attendance, including Sir Henry VANE, President of the Association, who occupied the chair; Colonel SALKELD of Holme Hill, Mr. PARKER of Carleton Hill, Mr. HASELL of Dalemain, Mr. PARKER of Warwick Hall, Mr. JAMESON of Moorhouse, Mr. HORROCKS of Eden Brows, Mr. DOBINSON, Mr. T. King ATKINSON, Mr. Musgrave BRISCO, Mr. R. S. FERGUSON, Mr G. H. DIXON, Mr. WILSON of Thistlewood, the Rev. G. E. HASELL, the Rev. W. DACRE, Mr E. PAGE, Mr. BOWSTEAD of Edenhall, Mr. PATTINSON of Penrith, Mr. RICHARDSON of Cavendish Place, Mr. COWEN of Dalston, Mr. LAWSON of Holme House, Mr. GRAHAM of Parcelstown, Mr. GRAHAM of Beanlands Park, Captain ASBRIDGE, Mr. James ATKINSON of Brackenthwaite, Mr. T. WATSON, the Rev. E. FITCH, Mr R. DALTON, and many others.
The Secretary (Mr. S.G. SAUL) read the annual report, which mentioned that during last year's registration the Conservative Party gained 259 votes. A reference to the indebtedness of the Party to Sir Richard MUSGRAVE, on account of the gallant manner in which he had again come forward and fought their battle, was received with warm and general cheering.
On the motion of the CHAIRMAN, seconded by Mr. PARKER of Carleton Hill, the report was approved and adopted.
Mr. HORROCKS in cordial terms proposed the re-election of Sir H. VANE as President of the Association. All those who knew East Cumberland were aware that a more popular or efficient President they could not have. (Applause.)
Mr. PARKER of Warwick Hall seconded the motion. The report showed that their affairs were prosperous; he was sure that under Sir Henry's presidency they would continue to prosper; and he was sanguine that when the time came for fighting the battle once more, their cause would be victorious. (Applause.)
The motion having been carried,
The CHAIRMAN assured them that he had the cause of the Party sincerely at heart, and he would do all he could to promote its advancement. (Applause.)
On the motion of Mr. HASELL, seconded by Mr. GRAHAM of Beanlands Park, the former Vice-Presidents were re-elected, with the following additions: -- Wm. PARKER, Esq., Edward W. PARKER, Esq., Rev W. DACRE, Captain J. Heron MAXWELL, H.P. SENHOUSE, Esq., Rev G.E. HASELL, Thomas WILSON, Esq., Shotley; A.J. Blackett ORD, Esq., General BROUGHAM, Thomas RIDLEY, Esq., John Matthew RIDLEY, Esq., Rev M. GRAHAM, Col. SANDERSON.
On the motion of the Rev W. DACRE, seconded by Mr. JAMESON, the General Committee was re-elected with the following additions: -- Mr. LAWSON of Home House, Mr. M. HODGSON of Burgh, Mr. R. H. HORROCKS, Mr G. H. DIXON, Mr. John JENNINGS, Mr John PERCIVAL of Burgh, Mr. GRAHAM of Beanlands Park, Mr. W. STORDY, and Mr. John BELL.
The Rev G.E. HASELL then (with the permission of the Chairman) submitted a resolution which he thought very suitable at this time, because not only the state of England, but the state of Europe, was critical and of absorbing interest. Today, the 10th of February, he reminded them, was the anniversary of the East Cumberland election in 1874; it called to mind many a good fight, many a gallant effort; and though we were not successful here, the result throughout the country was one of deep satisfaction to the Conservative Party. (Hear, hear.) The Government whom that election placed in power had many true friends; but they also had enemies, who denounced their policy almost before they knew what that policy was. ("Hear, hear," and laughter.) He alluded more especially to the Eastern Question; in respect to which to the was every prospect that when the subject was fairly and fully discussed, it would be found that this Government, under circumstances of great difficulty, had upheld the true interests of England, and had contributed to the preservation of the peace of Europe. (Hear, hear.) Believing that, and having gathered that that was the strong feeling of many others, he would submit a resolution to the meeting. The Government had had difficult waters to pass through, but they had carried the ship of State well through them; and there was no greater encouragement to men in their position than to feel that not only in the large manufacturing centres of Lancashire for instance, but also in agricultural districts like Cumberland and Westmorland, their policy met with the support of their fellow countrymen. (Hear, hear.) There were two extremes which men of sensible and moderate views could never please. There might be those who thought that the Government had shown too great a leaning towards Turkey; there might be others who thought they had shown too great a leaning towards Russia; but what they head done was to uphold the honour of the country as we would wish it to be upheld, to urge and suggest reforms so far as we were warranted in doing so in the case of a foreign country, and to preserve the general peace. (Hear, hear.) He would carry this meeting with him when he said that the Government had the affection and confidence of the people just as much now as when they first came into power three years ago. (Hear, hear.)
Apart from the delicate and difficult European problem with which they had had to deal, they had in home affairs maintained the institutions of the country, and by adding new life to those institutions, they enlisted popular favour in their behalf, made them more stable and vigorous, and increased their prospect of usefulness to a remote posterity. (Hear, hear.) The Conservative Party did not go on any narrow idea of Conservatism. He believed Mr. Disraeli had endeavoured through the greater part of his political life to be the true follower of the great William PITT, probably the greatest of all our statesmen; and it was because he looked tot he general welfare of the country in a broad and generous spirit, that the mass of the people not only follow but respect and honour this distinguished man who had sprung from themselves. (Hear, hear.) He (Mr. HASELL) had the deepest respect for their illustrious leader, and he hoped he would live some time longer to enjoy that repose which he had earned as a laborious and faithful servant of his Queen and country. (Applause.) He moved, "That this Association expresses its unabated confidence in the Earl of Beaconsfield and her Majesty's Government in their foreign policy, by which they have maintained the honour of England and contributed to the peace of Europe; that in home affairs this Association rejoices that the highest interests of the nation are safe whilst in their hands." Also, "That a copy of this resolution, if carried, be sent by the secretary to the Earl of Beaconsfield."
Captain ASBRIDGE seconded the motion.
Colonel SALKELD said they were indebted to Mr. HASELL for introducing the motion, and he was quite sure it would be supported by every one here. It was proposed also at a most seasonable time, when Parliament had just met, and when so many were seeking an opportunity to find fault with the Government. Mr. GLADSTONE and others seemed to think that the only object of the English Government should be to look after the Christian population of the Turkish Empire. So far as that object was concerned, we all heartily go with Mr. GLADSTONE and his present political associates. But there were other objects beyond that; the maintenance of the interests and security of the wide-spread British Empire was a most important object, and we had every assurance that it engaged the earnest attention of the Government. (Hear, hear.) He did not see why those two objects should not be combined. He certainly had little faith in the condition of the Christian population being improved by the general war which Mr. GLADSTONE'S policy would provoke. (Hear, hear.) They were also indebted to Mr. HASELL for extending the scope of his resolution so as to embrace home affairs, to which the Government had paid great attention in a useful and beneficial way; for no Government within the last twenty years had contributed so much towards the general internal welfare of the country as the present Government. (Hear, hear.)
Mr. JAMESON also supported the resolution. The Conservatives, he said, would be sorry to see the body of the people deprived of a single right they had. The people had their rights, and they had been maintained in time past. But it was not well that certain principles, good in themselves, should be pressed too far, as they often led to measures which in the end were mischievous, and often raised hopes in the minds of agitators which could not be realised, or which, if realised, would damage the very class they were intended to benefit. (Hear, hear.) Hence we should uphold the principle, not only of the rights of property, but of every man being allowed to reap the fruit of his own industry in the way in which law, the custom of the country, and nature itself pointed out. (Hear, hear.) The Government in their legislation had had due regard to these objects; they had done it with moderation, but at the same time with firmness, which convinced the world that they were in earnest. With regard to the Eastern Question he submitted that the interference of this country with the institutions and internal affairs of a foreign people was a matter which called for the most careful and delicate handling. (Hear, hear.) There were a set of impulsive philanthropists who would go to a foreign State and say, "You are not ruling your people as you should rule them; we can suggest certain amendments, and we not only ask you to make them, but we will compel you." That was a policy of meddling which the sensible English people would not endorse. (Hear, hear.) Mr. GLADSTONE seemed to have repudiated a doctrine which up to recently had always been associated with his name. When the Alabama claims were presented to this country, he urged that they should be compounded or compromised at all risks, in order to avoid war. But now he came and insisted that we should go to war to remedy the internal state of another nation. (Hear, hear.) No doubt Mr. GLADSTONE was a man of great acuteness and power; but his name was particularly associated with a desire to maintain peace; and why he had now taken so striking a departure from his customary course must be left to his own conscience to solve. ("Hear, hear," and laughter.)
The Chairman said he had great pleasure in putting the resolution, believing as he did that the Government had done their utmost to maintain peace.
The motion was carried by acclamation.
Mr. T. K. ATKINSON moved a cordial vote of thanks to Sir Henry VANE for taking the chair.
Mr. G. H. DIXON seconded the motion, which was carried amid applause.
The Chairman having responded, the proceedings came to a close.