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He must indeed be more than confident who trades in such dangerous falsehoods! By growing our own corn, we should throw much of foreign corn-land out of cultivation.1 We thereby do an injury to our neighbours, who have expended their capital on the expectation that our free-trade system would remain a permanent one. Now, to estimate the nature of that injury, we must inquire, What was the condition which determined this country to receive the corn of other countries? This is an important consideration, as we shall endeavour to show.

The British Parliament was led, from motives of expediency, to permit the entry of foreign corn. But there was, in the background, the anticipation that, if we showed the way in freeing our trade, all other nations would follow our example. So that Cobden's description was taken to be the basis of the initial progress of a universal free trade. "We take your food; and you take our manufactured goods in return. The principle of exchange is equality. You take a certain value of our goods, and, in return, we take an equivalent of your corn."

And here we may allude to another of the interesting products of free trade. By telling the nation that it was to our interest "to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest," Cobden impressed many with the soundness of his views. Our selling markets would be dear, because we should have no competitor; our buying markets would be cheap, because many nations would compete for our corn demand.

1 Is it not a fact that our manufacture has been checked through the imposition and increase of foreign duties? There can be no injustice, therefore, in taxing corn. It is but a proper retaliation.

The hollowness of such a procedure will be evident to the impartial. The mass of the people, if uninfluenced by false enthusiasm and arguments constructed to inflame their imagination, find themselves in an equivocal position. But let them discern the trick which produced the appearance of prosperity without the substance. Let them learn that all those financial changes were changes which affected solely the principal organs of the distribution of wealth, and that they directly injured the sources of production. Let them decide whether or not a nation can continue prosperous, the sources of whose annual income are constantly diminishing. Let them revolve these matters, and perceive that but one choice is open to them—the choice between " production " and " distribution."

§ 39. It is more important for the labourer to regard himself as a producer than as a consumer.—It was certainly a strange sort of "ideal " policy which excluded the most important element of all from its scope of action. "Protection," whatever else might be assumed concerning it, at least tended to effect a due proportion between the functions of production and distribution. By the protection of industries, even the most insignificant, the results of the circulation of capital were experienced in the narrowest channels of labour. Prices were relatively high, but the employment of labour was ensured!

But as soon as a reimposition of duties is mentioned, the free-trader plunges into a vivid description of the horrors of war. Does the free-trader suppose that our system of free imports tends to keep off war from us? He must indeed be more than confident who trades in such dangerous falsehoods! By growing our own corn, we should throw much of foreign corn-land out of cultivation.1 We thereby do an injury to our neighbours, who have expended their capital on the expectation that our free-trade system would remain a permanent one. Now, to estimate the nature of that injury, we must inquire, "What was the condition which determined this country to receive the corn of other countries? This is an important consideration, as we shall endeavour to show.

The British Parliament was led, from motives of expediency, to permit the entry of foreign corn. But there was, in the background, the anticipation that, if we showed the way in freeing our trade, all other nations would follow our example. So that Cobden's description was taken to be the basis of the initial progress of a universal free trade. "We take your food; and you take our manufactured goods in return. The principle of exchange is equality. You take a certain value of our goods, and, in return, we take an equivalent of your corn."

And here we may allude to another of the interesting products of free trade. By telling the nation that it was to our interest "to buy in the cheapest market and sell in the dearest," Cobden impressed many with the soundness of his views. Our selling markets would be dear, because we should have no competitor; our buying markets would be cheap, because many nations would compete for our corn demand.

1 Is it not a fact that our manufacture has been checked through the imposition and increase of foreign duties? There can be no injustice, therefore, in taxing corn. It is but a proper retaliation.

The anticipation has not been verified. Those "other nations" of Cobden have seen through the trick of attempting to divert competition all into our own favour. For if any other nation bought our manufactures dear and sold its corn cheap, how could it be said, on the doctrine of free trade, to buy in the cheapest market, when it buys only in one ; and to sell in the dearest market, when it has to compete with others for the privilege ?1

If it was on this expectation that the British people were persuaded by the artifices of a leader desirous of fame to risk their material prosperity, surely it is in the power of that people to reverse2 their former decision, when they learn that the expectation has not been fulfilled, and that our partial system of free imports is injurious to the interests of labour.

But a party stands between the employment of the British labouring classes and starvation—a party committed to the free-trade doctrines, all which, because they are universal, are not equally applicable to succeeding, and oftentimes so altered as to be new, sets of conditions. And that party threatens3 the nation with evils worse than those which it at present experiences. Not only will war be directly fostered, but our exports, at present in a deplorable condition, will be further decreased. But can our export trade be under worse

1 I.e., Cobden did not place other nations in England's position. He treated the problem from our, not from their point of view.

- Cf. Cobden, p. 253: "If events should happen to change the circumstances of the country, there is no reason why we should not next year reverse the decision wc may come to in the present."

3 The old story of threats and menaces handed down from Cobden.

conditions than it is? Protective nations take what they want of us, and no more. If we place a duty upon their goods, it by no means follows that we shall produce less, and supply them with less. Not certainly till they are self-supporting will this be effected. On the other hand, by conserving our interests, and drawing our colonies into a closer commercial union, it is more than probable that our export trade would be increased.

But in the meantime, while other nations are conserving each its own interests; while the chances of mutual free trade and universal peace are as distant as ever they were,—it suits the policy of a party which has commenced the descent from its high position of popularity to keep the labour of the country unemployed.

But it is for the laboiirers to choose whether they shall have as full employment as their case admits of, and not be scared at the many delusions originating from high prices, or have provisions at a cheap rate and starve. Whether they will protect the sources of labour, aud create a general circulation, or contribute only to the circulation of capital amongst the wealthy classes. Whether, lastly, they will prefer internal cohesion, with all the chances of war (nor are these directly affected by commercial policies), to the alarming spectacle of internal disorder, induced by the exhaustion of the national resources.

Pdchard Cobden taught the masses to look forward towards an increase of their political power. But that power, it will be conceded, can never be wielded sue

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