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.
The elections of 1890, when the metropolis returned free traders and Liberals to the Second Chamber, certainly effected a change in the latter, as the representatives of the towns and the old " Landtmanna " party joined issue and established a free-trade majority in the chamber, but in the combined meetings of the two chambers the compact protectionist majority in the First Chamber turned the scale.
An enormous increase of business, consequent upon the use of steam machinery and free-trade openings to commerce, filled the land with prosperity, and discredited all statesmanship but that which steered by the star over Manchester.
He went to Trinity College, Cambridge, and in 1837 was elected to parliament as Conservative member for Ipswich, but resigned two years later, having adopted Liberal views, and became an ardent supporter of the free-trade movement.
In the following year he published a pamphlet on the currency system, which confirmed his reputation as the ablest financier of his time; but his free-trade principles did not accord with those of his party.