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said the landlords did with reference to the labouring community of his day.1

But could he revisit the scenes of his active labours, how would he regard the changes effected by free trade in com, so far as our agricultural prospects are concerned? Would he call the present price of butcher'smeat a “natural” price? How would he contemplate the final result of his free-trade measure, when he discerned that instead of nourishing that monopoly in corn which he condemned, but which nevertheless succeeded in yielding employment to a million and a half of agricultural labourers, he was directly concerned in the creation of another and much narrower one, the profits of which could not by any possibility of means be spread over so large an extent of labour ? Would he confess that the one monopoly which he destroyed employed a vast quantity of labour, while the one he created conferred comparatively small benefits upon the labouring classes ? And would he be able to trace in the numbers that emigrate, and the million of paupers in our midst, the lines which labour has taken in passing from less to more remunerative occupations ?

All those who have the command of capital, therefore, are gainers by the cheapness of commodities. They suffer a relative loss owing to the “ monopoly price” of butcher's-meat, and the increased prices of eggs, milk, butter, and cheese. But were this loss not counterbalanced by the fall in the price of bread, it would be more than counterbalanced by the total effect of free trade in reducing the prices of tea, sugar, and other commodities.

1 And subsequent experience has shown what a serious misapprehension he laboured under.

2 John Bright, January 26, 1864. Speeches, edited by Thorold Rogers, p. 447.

Free trade, therefore, is all in favour of consumers. But of that large pool which is left to the consumers, a monopoly stretches forth its hand and takes away profits to the annual amount of sixty millions. What before went into the pockets of farmers and landlords, now goes into the pockets of a small circle. Instead of being distributed over a very wide area, it spreads over a contracted one. In place of the maximum amount of labour employed formerly, the minimum amount is occupied now. Can such a result be styled an economical success ?

But all this would not have happened if events had fallen out in accordance with free-trade anticipation. If manufacture had continued to flourish, instead of maintaining a feverish activity for a little while, then everything would have been in favour of the labouring interest of the nation. The labourer would have had constant employment, and the cost of his maintenance would have been the cheapest possible. But manufacture has not maintained her supremacy; and is it just that the labourers should suffer, in part or as a whole, for the singular reason that free-trade expectations have not been realised ? It is one thing to intend well; and if our free-trade manufacture had succeeded in swamping the foreign markets with her goods, truly there would

1 1. e., that portion of the increase of our trade (over and above the effects of natural causes of increase) induced by the moral influence of free trade, with the view of blighting the manufactures of our rivals.

have been no ground of complaint. But it is a very different thing to give that intention effect. The freetraders, and Cobden amongst them, have endeavoured their utmost to persuade other nations into the belief that free trade would confer increased prosperity upon them. Cobden even travelled to the United States and all over the Continent, with the view of convincing other people of the rectitude of his motives. But it mattered little whether his motives were pure or not. The question was, in the instance of each nation, “Will the new measure be to our self-interest, considered, first, from the absolute; and, secondly, from the international point of view? Shall we increase our trade by it, as extensively as other nations? If we do not, then we shall become less powerful.” But the scheme which Cobden designed was so gigantic, that its very size made it all the more transparent. It did not require any considerable astuteness to determine on which side the scale would descend. Cobden argued that the scales would both rise. The foreigner seemed to reply: “ Yes; but disproportionately. I can perceive the ascent of the whole commercial balance. But after that ascent, I should be relatively in a worse political position than before. I prefer to advance more equally.”

If, therefore, manufacture had maintained for all time that degree of prosperity which Cobden foresaw (but from false causes) it would temporarily experience, free trade would have been all in the interest of the labouring classes. Where you suppose there is going to be constant employment, it is but natural to make the articles of consumption as cheap as you can. But it was not certain that the labourers' employment in this country

balanced by the fall in the price of bread, it would be more than counterbalanced by the total effect of free trade in reducing the prices of tea, sugar, and other commodities.

Free trade, therefore, is all in favour of consumers. But of that large pool which is left to the consumers, a monopoly stretches forth its hand and takes away profits to the annual amount of sixty millions. What before went into the pockets of farmers and landlords, now goes into the pockets of a small circle. Instead of being distributed over a very wide area, it spreads over a contracted one. In place of the maximum amount of labour employed formerly, the minimum amount is occupied now. Can such a result be styled an economical success ?

But all this would not have happened if events had fallen out in accordance with free-trade anticipation. If manufacture had continued to flourish, instead of maintaining a feverish activity for a little while, then everything would have been in favour of the labouring interest of the nation. The labourer would have had constant employment, and the cost of his maintenance would have been the cheapest possible. But manufacture has not maintained her supremacy; and is it just that the labourers should suffer, in part or as a whole, for the singular reason that free-trade expectations have not been realised ? It is one thing to intend well; and if our free-trade manufacture had succeeded in swamping the foreign markets with her goods, truly there would

1 I.e., that portion of the increase of our trade (over and above the effects of natural causes of increase) induced by the moral influence of free trade, with the view of blighting the manufactures of our rivals.

have been no ground of complaint. But it is a very different thing to give that intention effect. The freetraders, and Cobden amongst them, have endeavoured their utmost to persuade other nations into the belief that free trade would confer increased prosperity upon them. Cobden even travelled to the United States and all over the Continent, with the view of convincing other people of the rectitude of his motives. But it mattered little whether his motives were pure or not. The question was, in the instance of each nation, “ Will the new measure be to our self-interest, considered, first, from the absolute; and, secondly, from the international point of view? Shall we increase our trade by it, as extensively as other nations? If we do not, then we shall become less powerful.” But the scheme which Cobden designed was so gigantic, that its very size made it all the more transparent. It did not require any considerable astuteness to determine on which side the scale would descend. Cobden argued that the scales would both rise. The foreigner seemed to reply : “ Yes; but disproportionately. I can perceive the ascent of the whole commercial balance. But after that ascent, I should be relatively in a worse political position than before. I prefer to advance more equally."

If, therefore, manufacture had maintained for all time that degree of prosperity which Cobden foresaw (but from false causes) it would temporarily experience, free trade would have been all in the interest of the labouring classes. Where you suppose there is going to be constant employment, it is but natural to make the articles of consumption as cheap as you can. But it was not certain that the labourers' employment in this country

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