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big things at all, any more than we should expect to get a grand piano into a bathing-machine. The Chief Whip has succeeded during the last few weeks in creating the impression that he regards Mr. Chamberlain's view of the Empire as an infernal nuisance. Mr. Chamberlain's view, nevertheless, happens to represent, for a great deal more than half the real fighting force of the party, the only cause that can henceforth make political life worth living for, or can be worthy of the earnest and undivided allegiance of men who take Imperialism seriously.

To the Chief Whip this attitude will appear monstrous. It may seem excessive even to yourself. But you, at least—who have shown yourself not insensible to the greatness, perhaps not to the urgency, of the Policy of Preference—will recognise its sincerity. And if this position is excessive it is not extremist. Alive to the obvious exigencies of practical politics, it is entirely untouched by the spirit of faction whether in aim or temper. It asks nothing better than to be allowed upon any tolerable terms to continue its loyalty to your leadership, and to extend an unwavering support to the present administration for as long as the work of army reform and Imperial interests in the Far East and South Africa may require its persistence in office.

But there are some things in the meantime to which men who are most ready to take a cool view of tactics cannot consent without converting sane moderation at once into compliance of a vicious and demoralising kind. We may be legitimately asked for all Parliamentary purposes to suspend our opinions. We ought not to be requested to eat them. We cannot consent to swallow unlimited leek in order that an inveterate faction of Mr. Chamberlain's personal enemies may be kept in play at the expense of the whole host of Mr. Chamberlain's friends. We can subscribe to no declaration which attempts if words have meaning to define “Retaliation" as a homeopathic antidote to Tariff Reform. We cannot be induced to tolerate amendments which amount to an express repudiation of Preference; closing the door upon the Colonies in order to open it to the Free Food League ; stultifying Mr. Chamberlain's whole enterprise, and wiping out all the work that has been done since the Glasgow speech in an inspired attempt to raise the Government majority above fiftyone.

It is impossible that the act of deep disloyalty to Mr. Chamberlain contemplated in the Wharton amendment can have been countenanced by you. We may doubtless hope to be spared for the remainder of the session any repetition of the ill-judged manoeuvres of a subordinate Minister, who hardly disagrees with the Free Food League even in opinion. The highest conceptions of Whip strategy seem to consist in endeavours to effect a judicious breach between the Birmingham programme and the Sheffield proposals, and to identify the policy of the Government with that of Sir Michael HicksBeach. The Empire is to be eliminated from the future programme of the Unionist party in order that Wimborne House, by the far-reaching combinations of the Chief Whip, may be induced to ask itself whether the economic policy of his Majesty's Government is not a safer thing to support than the policy of Lord Rosebery-who, after all, is never so susceptible to a new view as when he has expressed an opposite one. The Wharton amendment has convinced every firm supporter of Mr. Chamberlain's ideas that the official organisation of the party is actuated by a spirit of intense and rather stupid hostility to the programme of a national tariff and federal trade, or rather to the author of that programme. Nor does deduction end there. The strange utterances of the Ministers most nearly connected with you in the opening debates of the session, take a more intelligible significance in conjunction with the proceedings of the Chief Whip. Those who attempted to conceal the profound impression of uneasiness and insecurity which these performances have spread throughout the party, would be discharging their duty neither to themselves nor to their leader.

Every Radical lobbyist during the last six weeks has been encouraged to assure his readers that Mr. Chamberlain's policy is dead. The Wharton amendment would suggest that Sir Alexander Acland-Hood believes it, in which case it is only necessary to say that those who believe that sort of thing—well that's the sort of thing they believe. When Chief Whips think that sort of thing, it is the sort of Whips they are, But it is unquestionable that a disagreeable sense of “atmosphere" hangs over the Party as a result of all that has occurred since the opening of the session. We must and we do conclude that the Wharton amendment was not a happy expression of the Government's mind. It has made none the less essential that supporters of the Imperial programme should express their mind to the Government.

We had been content since the Cabinet disruption to know what the Government policy was not. Recent developments seem to make it desirable that we should know what the Government policy is. We were originally assured that while there was a difference between the larger and the lesser programme, there was no disagreement. The two things were not identical, but they were not antagonistic. Retaliation was

evidently a formula as elastic as the magic tent in the Arabian Nights. It could be spread out to cover an army, or folded up to the size of a pocket-handkerchief. The formula, in its capacity for expanding to bold or contracting to microscopic proportions, seemed to be as sensitive to by-elections as the mercury to the weather. After

After Dulwich and Lewisham it seemed as though his Majesty's Ministers were prepared to explain to the country that they had never been opposed to Preference upon grounds of principle.

After Norwich and Gateshead the official attitude again implied that it remained firmly distinguished from Mr. Chamberlain's policy upon grounds of expediency. Newer developments have made it by no means clear whether the “ Retaliation” formula is not losing its fluidity and solidifying under what the Chief Whip supposes to be the Arctic temperature of the latest by-elections into a shape that would be absolutely incompatible with either part of the Glasgow programme. The Wharton amendment, with its declaration against any “ general system of Protection," meant nothing if it did not mean that the Sheffield proposals are against a countervailing tariff upon foreign manufactured goods for the purpose of restoring equal competitive conditions for British industry, and equally against preferential duties for the purpose of realising Imperial union upon a basis of Federal Trade. If this, however, is what we are to understand as the final definition of the Government policy, it does not appeal to five per cent. of the rank and file of the Unionist party throughout the country. It represents a wholly abstract and, as we think, an artificial conception.

Retaliation as a serious proposal to extend the system of free imports into surrounding nations by means of a paper crusade on the part of the Foreign Office—that is a scheme which has never been called for by any discoverable portion of public opinion. It arises from no popular demand. It evokes no popular enthusiasm. It is unintelligible to the plain man, impossible in the opinion of practical economists, and innocuous in the view of foreign Governments. There is not the remotest chance that a mandate will be given for the Sheffield proposals, if they are to be interpreted in this sense at the next General Election. But when they are condemned at one General Election it is quite certain that they never will reappear at another. When the Prime Minister puts them forward with the Prime Minister's authority, the country is bound to receive them with respect. But they have not got behind them one particle of the popular force which alone keeps political questions alive. The country understands free imports. The



Unionist party understands, and by a vast majority throughout the country it approves Mr. Chamberlain's policy of placing a tariff upon foreign manufactured goods. Ordinary Cobdenism democracy can grasp and anti-Cobdenism, but what nothing can ever make the English people understand or support is the neo-Cobdenism which proposes to reverse the Cobdenite traditions of the last two generations in this country in order to force free imports upon foreign nations. No statesman ever has succeeded or ever will succeed in inducing the predominant partner to build a policy upon supersubtleties of that kind. They make him feel like the blind man in a dark room looking for the black hat which isn't there. Meanwhile, the effort to pose as a party of tariff reform upon Cobden Club principles oppresses the whole party throughout the country with a humiliated sense of the unreality and futility of its proceedings. • Retaliation" excites no enthusiasm and no interest on its own behalf. It only serves to chill and kill part of the enthusiasm and interest that Mr. Chamberlain's efforts inspire. It is a paralysing influence upon the party, though it fills the quivers and feathers the arrows of the enemy.

The idea of Retaliation as we are now asked to understand it, springs from a profound misconception as to the natural and just relation of British trade to foreign markets. Our neighbours have as much right, if they choose, to keep their markets to themselves as to keep their territory to themselves. We cannot claim to force our goods upon countries that do not want them. We have no sound cause for complaint either historical or ethical because foreign nations prefer to manufacture for themselves. We could have retained their market permanently only by preventing their rise to competitive equality. But no country has ever yet created a national industry under Free Trade. John Stuart Mill's famous paragraph showed, what America had realised from the first, that a young country, no matter how great may be its natural aptitude for manufacture, cannot sustain in the beginning the rivalry of a fully equipped industrial nation, and requires to be “protected” from that rivalry in order to rise in the scale of economic development. During nearly three centuries this country built up its manufacturing and maritime power under the most persistent and stringent system of Protection that the world has seen. Was it to be supposed when we had acquired a crushing power of dumping, an irresistible superiority in almost every species of manufacture, that foreign nations should admit us to their markets as soon as our interest lay no longer as formerly in reserving privileged markets for ourselves, but rather in securing full scope for our productive force in every commercial sphere throughout the world. Had universal Free Trade been conceded to us we should have trampled out all manufacturing competition whether on the Continent or the United States, and remained indefinitely the workshop of the world, while other nations continued to “delve, plough, and sow for us." That was not the conception of their destiny which recommended itself either to Europe or America. They have become our industrial rivals under Protection. They could never have developed without Protection any more than we did. America's practice from the foundation of the Republic and the great system of national economy which Friedrich List based afterwards upon the study of Transatlantic conditions was inspired by the fiscal history of this country. Foreign nations have adopted the tariff for their own benefit, not for our injury, and they have done precisely what we should have done at any time in their place. We did it in the past and we shall do it again in the near future—not to hurt our neighbours but to defend ourselves. If the majority in the Mother Country and the Colonies should eventually believe that the vital interests of trade and Empire demand the adoption of Mr. Chamberlain's policy, it will be adopted, and we shall not readily brook the pretension of any foreign country to turn the Sheffield formula against us and to “retaliate” because we have again used the liberty to adjust our fiscal affairs to our liking.

We are free to have free imports or a tariff as we choose, and foreign nations are equally at liberty to embrace any scheme of economic organisation that their special circumstances may demand. It is the instinctive perception of this fact which has made it impossible during the last thirty years to galvanise the abstract formula of retaliation into political vigour in this country.

this country. Our only real remedy, sane in principle and effective in practice, lies not in seeking to force British goods upon the foreigner's market, but in restraining the foreigner's goods in the British market. So much for the ethics of the matter. Free Trade and Protection alike, to expand a little Lord Beaconsfield's admirable phrase, are not principles but expedients. We ourselves adopted Free Trade at the particular juncture when it suited us, with a proper view to the promotion of our interests and for no other reason; we had maintained Protection as long as it was necessary and we were sure to return to it again when the universal rise of modern tariffs and foreign competition made definite security in Imperial markets once more desirable.

Modern Protectionist nations do not consider that they

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