« הקודםהמשך »
worked since the world began—the women to do the needle-work, the men to lift the weights. By that method there is more good service done and more weights carried than by any other : greater results in return for the food and wages. So it is with nations. Let each produce those goods for which it has the greatest aptitude : the goods made will be more and better, and—which lies in the essence of all trading-there will be the same employment for the populations with greater results. If silks can be more cheaply produced in France, even with only equal quality, England would be as great a fool to manufacture silks as to make clarets. Let France make the silks, and that part of the English people which would have made silks will now manufacture those English goods with which the silks will be bought. Thus more silks and more cotton cloth will be made in the two countries taken together, and equal employment, and subsequently more, provided for each country. If the Frenchmen sell silk to England, they must buy an equal amount of cotton or other goods : for England cannot buy unless she sells to an equal value. I may be allowed to quote a passage written elsewhere :
"The truth stands out in clear sunshine. Free Trade cannot and does not injure domestic industry. Under Free Trade foreign countries give in every case as much employment to English workmen and capitalists as if nothing had been bought abroad. English goods of the same value must be purchased by the foreigner, or the trade comes to an end. There must be an equal amount of English goods made and sent away, or England will never obtain the foreign commodities. Free Trade never does harm to the country which practises it, and that mighty fact alone kills Protection. Let those who are backsliding into Protection be asked for a categorical answer to this question :-Can and will the foreigner give away his goods without insisting on receiving back, directly cr indirectly, an equal quantity of that country's goods? Let the question be pushed home-and all talk about injury to domestic industry must cease.". Chapters on Practical Political Economy, p. 307.
But many deny that trade is always an exchange of goods of equal value, and they appeal, as proving the truth of their denial, to the immense excess often exhibited of imports into England over her exports. Want of space forbids a detailed examination of this assertion here; but a few remarks will suffice to show its inaccuracy. Those who take their stand on the wide discrepancy between imports and exports, as being a phenomenon of pure trade, must hold that the difference in value is made up by a remittance of money ; they cannot suppose that foreign countries make a present to England of the excess of commodities imported into her harbours. But they fail to perceive that this remittance of money conclusively proves the truth they attack. It establishes equilibrium : large imports are balanced by small exports plus money. Only that England should send a perpetual stream of money away, ever flowing, never ceasing, is an inconceivable absurdity; and where could she get that money from, that gold, but from foreigners buying her goods? The excess of imports into England is very easily
explained upon a different principle. Those imports in excess are not trade at all; they are payments of debts, nothing else. Immense sums are annually due to England for interest on loans lent to foreign nations and colonies, and for profits accruing on huge investments abroad, whether in foreign securities or agriculture or commerce. These are not exchanges of goods for goods, of buying and selling, but goods sent to pay debts due to England. Reciprocity can derive no help from this inequality between imports and exports to support its
Here common sense now puts the critical inquiry-Who pays the Protection duty imposed on the foreign goods, or else the increased price for the English-made articles realised by the aid of the duty? The English buyers-Protection is compelled to answer—the English con
So then, continues common sense, the action of Protection is simply to impose a tax on the people of England for the support of a certain number of persons who otherwise could not obtain a livelihood from the business they are carrying on. This is a Poor Rate, pure and simple.
There remains the second case-when an industry has been developed under Protection, and would come to an end under Free Trade. This is a practical problem to be left to the statesman. That business ought not to be maintained by Protection : it has no right to tax the country permanently for its support. The transition period will be painful—it is for the statesman to deal with it. Only one remark may be added. Not a few trades have been expected to be cleared away when the prop of Protection has been removed, and yet have sustained themselves manfully in the free air of heaven. The silk trade of England is an instance of this kind.
A few words will suffice on Reciprocity, for it is a distinct proposal to impose Protection. But this proposal has an absurdity which is peculiarly its own. Reciprocity is demanded as a counterblow to Protection practised against England by foreign countries. France, it is said, adopts Protection against England, let England retort with enacting Protection against France. But, ludicrously enough, Protection is not said by the advocates of Reciprocity to be a wise policy: on the contrary, it is virtually admitted that it is not capable of defence. Thus, under the pleasant sound of a pretty word, the cry becomes-Let us do ourselves harm, because it will harm the Frenchmen also. Let a tax be laid upon the people of England, because it will do harm to French trade; and this imposition of a tax on the English people, this diminution of English trade with France, are gravely proposed as correctives for a commercial depression, for a distressing stagnation of trade. Wonderful, indeed, is such an idea. To demand Protection on the ground that it is a policy good in itself, and capable of being defended, is a reasonable issue, meriting discussion : but to recommend that a bad thing should be done, because it would be bad also for our competitors, is a policy hard indeed
to characterise. To do ourselves good is not pretended: harm for harm, blow for blow, to our own additional hurt, is all that is thought of.
But, in truth, there is a capital blunder involved in the cry for Reciprocity, of which those who utter it do not seem to be conscious. They confound into one two acts which have no connection whatever with each other. England repealed the protective duty on French silks ; she thereby relieved herself of a tax, and created more wealth and a larger trade. France protects her cotton factories against the English, thereby bringing two losses on herself—a diminution of trade, and the still severer one of supporting a portion of her population at the expense of the whole French people. Therefore, Reciprocity exclaims-Since France refuses to buy our cottons we will not buy her silks. But what connection have cottons with silks ? None. The question who should make silks for England was settled by England on its own merits. It was clearly the true policy for England to buy cheap and not dear silks. So ends that matter; England pursued the rational course. What France does in the matter of cottons does not touch the English decision about silks in any way. England suffers a diminution of trade by the lack of intelligence of the French on silks, and that is all. Why should she injure herself by silks because the French injure her by cottons ? Reciprocity has for its sole intelligible principle : Let us do some harm to the French. Perhaps a less costly method of hurting her might be found than by altering our excellent regulations about the supply of silks for our wants.
A few words in conclusion. What means must be adopted for bringing the commercial depression to an end ? Reverse the practice which caused it.
Over-consume no longer, but increase the production of Wealth by every possible effort. You will not, of course, produce goods whose cost of production no buyers can be found to repay; but attract buyers by making that cost as small as you can. If this practice is Carried out along the whole line of manufacturing, the means of buying will be enlarged; and more buying and a return of prosperity will be accomplished. Let capitalists and labourers join in a hearty determination to make every exertion to produce largely and cheaply. And let them save. Let luxurious consumption, excessive drinking, and all other Waste be put aside ; and let capital be vigorously accumulated. And let not the dangers of foreign competition be forgotten by a nation whose greatness—nay, the existence of a large part of her population—depend on her being able to sell her products over the breadth of the whole earth. Finally, let the manufacturers and workmen listen to the questions put to them by Mr. C. O. Shepard, United States Consul at Bradford, in his admirable Report to the Assistant-Secretary of State at Washington:
"1. Can and will England's artisans live as cheaply as their competitors ? 2. Will they accept the same wages? 3. Will they give more labour for the wages ? 4. Will ail classes live within their means ? 5. Will young people be
content to commence life where their fathers began instead of where they left off! 6. Will English manufacturers keep pace with the wants and advancement of the age? 7. Will they encourage and adopt new scientific and labour-saving improvements ? 8. Will they stimulate, foster, and disseminate both general and technical education?
More solemn, more all-important words were never addressed to any people. “Should a negative answer be returned to these queries, the three consequences which must quickly and inevitably follow," are told by Mr. Shepard. “ Further dejection in business, as compared with which the present will seem but moderate depression. Greatly increased suffering and destitution. An emigration such, perhaps, as has never been known."*
* Some valuable suggestions of remedies in detail will be found in the able Paper on the Depression of Trade, read by David Chadwick, Esq., M.P., at the Social Science Congress at Cheltenham, October, 1878.
MR. BROWNING'S DRAMATIC IDYLLS.
Dramatic Idylls. By ROBERT BROWNING.
London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1879.
R. Browning's “ Dramatic Idylls” contain all that the terms
properly imply; very little of that which popular association conRects with them; and though the graceful unrealities suggested by the word Idyllic could never be looked for in any work of his, he has exceeded forecast in the opposite direction. The concentrated vigour of his latest volume may startle even those who have learnt by long experience that his genius is incapable of attenuation, and that writing six short poems, instead of one long one, means with him, not the suspension of constructive effort, but a constructive effort multiplied so many times. It justifies the stereotyped opinion concerning him by dealing chiefly with the unusual in character and circumstance, and with emotions more startling than sympathetic. It belies it in so far that the unusual in its pictures adds often not only to their impressiveness, but to their truth, recalling, as they do, forgotten, rather than improbable aspects of human life ; and rough-hewn possibilities, rather than over-specialized forms of human feeling. That the result is on the whole somewhat stern and sad will be approved or disapproved according to the temperament of the reader. It seems superfluous to say, what is implied by the shortness of these poems, that they are free from all tedious elaboration; or to add that the intellectual matter which they contain is strictly subordinate to their dramatic form.
" Pheidippides” differs from the five other Idylls as the classical son rentionalities of a Greek subject differ from any possible romance of Borthern life. It differs also in this respect, that though the most historical in treatment, it is the most pathetic. It is an episode in the life of an Athenian "runner," who was despatched to Sparta to invoke aid against the Persian invasion, and covered the distance of 150 miles in 48 hours; and who ran again, and for the last time, from KOL. XXXV.