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that prosperity. But it must assuredly have been at the expense of the growth of manufactures in other countries. But if other peoples lost in one direction they would have gained in another, says the specious free-trade doctrine. They could not compete with our manufacturers under the free-trade system, but then, neither could we compete with them in the manufacture of their natural productions. This follows, quite obviously, from the free-trade doctrines, that "the price of the foreign market controls the price in the home market,"1 and that "labour and capital are diverted from less into more remunerative channels." But although the gain on the part of some other nations may have been undoubted, it is clear that the nature of that gain was not accurately described by Cobden. We know he does not refer to this "aspect" of the gain problem. He merely asserts that nations would gain. From Cobden's point of view, then, the future growth and development of towns in his own country would become unparalleled.2 But the soil was not to be deserted !3 How could he hope, therefore, to supply tbe world's markets with English manufactured goods? Surely its demand would be more than our greatest supply; and we have had some experience what was the magnitude of that supply.
1 Were free trade universal, these doctrines would stand. But as free trade is carried on nowadays, the prices in our markets are influenced by foreign prices, while we have no equivalent influence over foreign markets.
2 It was said at the time (1841) that Cobden's aim was to make Great Britain one large town. Sir Robert Peel also alludes to the probability of free trade converting our island into one vast workshop.
3 P. 62. On the contrary, "free trade was to clear the streets of those spectres which are now haunting your thoroughfares begging their daily bread, and to depopulate your workhouses."
think it has been proved that the manufacturers of this country gained much more than the foreigner during the early period of free-trade action. The respective gains were therefore very unequal. But had our manufacturers by a universal free trade been enabled to maintain their supremacy, then the manufacturers of foreign countries would have been confined within a very small circle. And what would be the consequence? Their towns would not grow at a natural rate, if they grew at all; their civilisation would be impeded; their chances of affording each individual of the community that "natural" opportunity of directing his talents into their natural channel would be restricted. He may have an original genius for facilitating the production of a certain trade, but he cannot apply his talents to the benefit of his own country, because that trade has no existence there.1 But it is clear that the range not only of the satisfaction of disposition, but also of the practice of ingenuity, is contracted when certain industries are denied a nation. Is this a true gain, then? To have burdens placed in the way of their efforts to work out their civilisation; to have limits applied to the dispositions which men evince for this or that particular kind of employment; to restrict the number of industries, and therefore the amount of ingenuity of a nation,—How is this gain? we ask once more.
Other nations have not thought it to be so; and they have, naturally enough, afforded each member the fullest scope in the satisfaction of his disposition, and
1 He must migrate to some other country, and thus to obstacles already existing there will be added a new set.
the ingenuity of the nation the largest possible field for its application. It is thus that protective nations conserve all the interests of their people. Suppose, if a future Arkwright makes some great discovery in the development of the silk trade, is this nation to make a present of it, on free-trade principles, to the Frenchman, because he can utilise it to greater advantage than the Englishman; but, worst of all, because, in the end, we can have our silks at a cheaper rate? How was this country developed, unless it has been by the ingenuity of some few of its members, and by the useful discoveries they have made? Can we hope to progress as rapidly when we have contracted the field for the display of that ingenuity? When one industry has reached its acme of development, we might have been so circumstanced that a second, younger, and less stable industry might, through a similar impulse afforded to it, as ingenuity succeeded in advancing the growth of the former, have rapidly assumed its active character and growing tendency. Thus might there have been a transfer of activity; but the opportunities for such a transference free trade has practically destroyed.1
§ 16. Final results of the artificial demand induced by free trade.—To return to the indirect action of free trade. What was it that the manufacturers created when they succeeded in abolishing the Corn Laws? An artificial demand. Why was this demand an artificial one? Be
1 I.e., free trade working unequally. With universal free trade we should derive advantages as well as the foreigner. Under a system of free imports the advantages are all on his side. He protects '' young and growing " industries. We have lost ours.