The movement grew quickly, its supporters including a number of the cleverest younger politicians and journalists in the Unionist party.
The tariff reform movement itself was now, however, outside the purely official programme, and Mr Chamberlain (backed by a majority of the Unionist members) threw himself with impetuous ardour into a crusade on its behalf, while at the same time supporting Mr Balfour in parliament, and leaving it to him to decide as to the policy of going to the country when the time should be ripe.
Outside parliament he was busy formulating proposals for old age pensions, which had a prominent place in the Unionist programme of 1895.
The problems of empire engrossed him, and a new enthusiasm for imperial projects arose in the Unionist party under his inspiration.
His speech at Birmingham (November 14, 1907), fully accepting the principles of Mr Chamberlain's fiscal policy, proved epoch-making in consolidating the Unionist party - except for a small number of free-traders, like Lord Robert Cecil, who continued to hold out - in favour of tariff reform; and during 1908 the process of recuperation went on, the by-elections showing toamarked degree the increased popular support given to the Unionist candidates.
He refused altogether to haul down the flag of Tariff Reform; it was his policy to give British workmen a preference, both in the home and in the colonial market; but he said that a Unionist Government did not intend themselves to impose food duties.
Michael Hahn, Unionist and Military James M.
On Lord Salisbury's resignation on the 11th of July 1902, Mr Balfour succeeded him as prime minister, with the cordial approval of all sections of the Unionist party.
Mr Chamberlain retorted that this was a matter for a general meeting of delegates to decide; if the duke was outvoted he might resign his presidency; for his own part he was prepared to allow the local associations to be subsidized impartially, so long as they supported the government, but he was not prepared for the violent disruption, which the duke apparently contemplated, of an association so necessary to the success of the Unionist cause.
Eventually it was the Liberal and not the Unionist party that carried an Old Age Pensions scheme through parliament, during the 1908 session, when Mr Chamberlain was hors de combat.