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"We do not expect perfection either in the New World or in the Old. All we ask is, that when an abuse is pointed out, it may be fairly and openly inquired into, and, if it be proved to be an abuse, honestly abated."—John Bright (Dec. 19, 1845—Speeches, p. 418).
FREE TRADE UNDER
WILLIAM BLACKWOOD AND SONS
All Rights reserved
"7 The development of free trade may be considered
r relatively or absolutely. "Free trade under protec
<j tion" was the system pursued by our statesmen up to
J 1846. Amongst them, William Huskisson stood pre
", eminent as the first of our commercial reformers. The P . ,
repeal of the Corn Laws inaugurated an entirely new
policy. The principle of free trade, instead of being controlled by the protective system, was left to act without restraint of any kind. It influenced, with varying and not known degrees of power, all those industries which, in course of time, were brought within scope of its operation. It affects our trade and commerce nowadays generally—the exceptions being some few industries "protected" for the purposes of State revenue.
Now there were certain steps in the process of making trade more free under the system of protection, very liable to be overlooked. The first was the
subversion of the policy of prohibition. The second