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ducts of industry and enterprise. The Australian continent is overrun to grow wool, but its sparse workers in such industries congregate only reluctantly with sufficient concentration to produce conditions favourable to the genesis of the industries that find favour with the close-packed population of these islands. The areas we occupy in the tropics, where white labour is impossible, can be our allies but never our rivals. They can supply us with cotton and with sugar. But it will require a new civilisation, a new order of mankind, to enable them to make for themselves machinery or even clothes on terms that can at all compete with the human vigour and the applicable mineral resources these islands
possess. Nor is it only of trade between England and the colonies that cognisance is being forced upon us. There exists also a rapidly growing inter-colonial commerce already of vast dimensions. The tonnage of the shipping employed in this trade alone already excels that of France and Germany added together. The great Australian tea-market is now being largely supplied from Ceylon and Assam. The very life of some of our West Indian colonies depends on the fact that ships bring them continual supplies of labour from India. As the British Empire grows, so is it proved that the mainspring of its prosperity is intercourse between its parts.
The second table supplies us with a second lesson, significantly witnessing to these things. We see in this table the recorded effect of commercial depression on our trade. The colonies record a protest, and no mean protest, in our own favour. During the four years of depression immediately succeeding to that notorious period of inflation culminating in the year 1873, we find our trade with our colonies continued to increase to the amount of 11 per cent. : we find our trade with foreign countries continued to decrease to the amount of 11 per cent. If we pay heed to it, we have here an invaluable bint as to the compensating influences resulting from width of area and diversity of forces, both natural and human, provided their individual energies contribute in mutual union.
The surface of the world, so far as Englishmen are concerned, is held by two classes of communities; the one class altogether independent one of another in sentiment and in kinship, and only held together in any kind of forbearing union by the selfish interests of each individual community. The second class is a whole made up of homogeneous parts bound to one another by the powerful ties of national character and sentiment, as well as by the selfish interests of each individual community. This former class presents a mere discrete agglomeration of foreign states; the latter class embraces the wide-spreading provinces of the British nation. The one class Englishmen seem to be able to affect only by the means of threats and destructive retaliation; the other class is directly ruled and controlled by Englishmen.
It needs to insist upon the strange fact, that while England is maintaining at great effort a precarious and utterly untrustworthy commercial connection with foreign states, the average public seems doggedly to shut its eyes to the opportunities afforded by England's extensive empire. It is true this unaccountable error disappears when we look to that main but silent current of industrial endeavour, which runs its course, fed by every streamlet and font of individual interest and enterprise in the true direction of success. This current has long ago recognised, that within the frontiers of its own empire the lively productive enterprise of the English race has plenty of scope for the profitable exercise of all its power : there are long years, long centuries of work, before these ample resources shall be, all of them, opened out. The Australias, by themselves, are equal in area, and in natural capacity, to the whole of Europe. In the Canadas and the districts of South Africa the English race possesses yet another potential Europe. And in India and the various outlying colonies the nation possesses surface and wealth of resources equalling those of Europe. The nation owns, then, an extent of surface and a variety of natural resources equal to three Europes conjoined. Here then we have a field not altogether insufficient for employing the best energies of a nation of 50,000,000 people, and for providing unlimited scope
for an unlimited increase of this nation. Mr. Nenfchatel in Endymion makes the appropriate and wise remark, . We do not want measures; what we want is a new channel.' At the present moment our manufacturers and our exporters want for their relief not measures but new channels; and trade, if we look to figures, is endeavouring to carve for itself a new channel in the mutual supplying of our wide empire. The great engine to the successful development of a vast mine of rich natural endowments is assured freedom of exchange. Labour and capital, energy and enterprise, skill and abstinence—these bases of successful production must be assured their opportunities of exertion over this vast field. In such case, and in such case alone, there opens out for Englishmen a new future of signal prosperity.
But the fact is that though England enjoys free trade, Englishmen do not. There is free trade in Great Britain; there is free trade in the British Isles. But there exists also a greater Britain ; there are British Isles, ay, and British continents, over the Atlantic and the Pacific, that at the present have not the assured advantage of free trade, and thus every moment run the risk of a relapse to the evils of fettered production and fettered exchange. It is undoubtedly true that the British Empire is, in itself, for the next century or so at all events, a complete world of production and consumption. But it is a world which does not at the present enjoy that true commercial union which insures freedom both of exchange and of production. And yet it is a world so circumstanced that it may, immediately if it will, institute for itself the undoubted benefits of such union : for it is a world inspired at the present by the two essential bases of human union, community of material interests and community of national spirit.
The very prime question in the whole matter is the reason why there is not this free trade. And the answer is simple. Under present conditions any 'self-governing' colony finds itself free to adopt a policy of protection if it will. Consequently English merchants, manufacturers, or producers, no matter where they may build their castles within the Queen's dominions,' have at the present no guarantee that they shall enjoy freedom of exchange in regard to other portions of these same dominions. This is a statement that can be made of no other nation past or present, and it states a condition of things diametrically contrary to all accepted principles of national union.
It was a quarrel about duties that caused us the irreparable loss of the United States. And the very first action taken by the citizens of the New Republic was solemnly and irrevocably to institute perfect freedom of exchange within the frontiers of their own new Empire. Within those frontiers customs duties are to this day an impossibility. This eminently wise resolution has been one main element in the growth and prosperity of the United States. In all ages so soon as and whenever industry and commerce win for themselves a supremacy in the face of politics and war, at once extended freedom of commercial intercourse is sought as an essential to existence. A Customs Union was the first sign of a modern German nation. The jealous national independence of the petty German states in the early years of this century soon discovered the fact that free interchange of products was the one great mutual interest none could afford to forego.
Moreover, at the present moment, if we look to foreign nations, we see everywhere signs of a tendency towards customs union.' Italy is straining every nerve, by the curious means of an elaborate reciprocity, to bind up as many nations as possible in close intercourse with herself. Austria and Germany are contemplating closer customs union. The United States is eager to obtain secured footing in Europe. Spain is in earnest struggle to adjust the commercial connections of her colonial empire.
Thus the English nation stands at the present moment in a very singular position. It is an anomalous and a self-contradictory position, but yet one of those that recur in the history of nations that grow, and are not manufactured. The thoroughly English principle of selfgovernment has now developed to such perfection in the larger provinces of the English Empire, that the fiscal policy of each province is regulated by the local Parliament. But this development has had an unlooked-for, an unexpected issue.
There have arisen cases in provinces where this self-government rules, in which this fiscal liberty has run to seed, and become fiscal license. The consequence is that what was originally a grant or concession of liberty to the individual has threatened, in these latter days, to become a liberty that is destructive of the same liberty granted to the other individuals.
It seems to me that so long as this nation remains a nation it is not only its interest, but its paramount duty, to see that the liberty of any of its component parts be not in any way infringed by the action of other parts. Moreover, the fiscal liberty originally granted was merely and simply the handing over, for geographical reasons, to each separated community of Englishmen their right to devise and supply the means to their own local government. To use this liberty for other purposes, such, for instance, as the discouraging the importation of particular products from some other English community, seems to me a direct subversion of this liberty, a distinct breach of the grounds on which the nation made the concession. And the proof of this is the fact that the using of it for these other unforeseen purposes at once interferes with the grant of this liberty to the other English communities.
Earl Russell, in one of his speeches about the time of these concessions, distinctly acknowledged this principle :-
With regard to our colonial policy, I have already said that the whole system of monopoly is swept away. What we have in future to provide for is that there shall be no duties of monopoly in favour of one nation and against another, and that there shall be no duties so high as to be prohibitory against the produce and manufacture of this country.
Earl Russell, with penetrating foresight, saw the high commercial value our colonies were to be to us. And yet Canada has set up a high tariff, shutting out some of our products; and Victoria has done the same. It is, however, satisfactory to bear in mind that of our eight self-governing colonies, only these two have as yet stepped aside from the right path. Canada, however, proffers the somewhat valid excuse of special necessities, bred of her political contiguity to a foreign state of peculiar commercial views, and Canada has taken the lead in demanding free-trade for all within the Empire. Victoria bas no excuse but the fact that a crude but specious theory commends itself for the present to a majority of her manhood-suffrage rulers.
The strange anomaly of the position is brought into yet greater relief when we bear in mind that it is in one sense a distinct breach of the most favoured nation' clause in foreign treaties, for these treaties are made for all the dependencies of the British Crown en bloc.
The awkward question remains, why, when with self-government the nation conceded the obvious addition of fiscal liberty so far as the raising of revenue was concerned, the nation did not rigorously watch that any other fiscal action, which in any way curtailed the liberties of other sections of the nation and for purposes other than
revenue, should have been allowed or disallowed as a totally distinct question.
To the practical politician the interest centres in some adequate remedy; for the evil is accomplished : and any analysis of its demerits and its causes is only of use so far as it enlightens us in regard to its removal.
Inadequate information or thought leads many to forget that an authority still exists supreme over all others within the Empire. It is, indeed, only under the shield of this central authority that the various self-governing provinces enjoy this liberty to govern themselves. But these various self-governing bodies are constitutionally subordinate to the Imperial Parliament; the true explanation of their virtual independence is the fact that this Parliament has delegated, for the sake of obvious expediency, some of its powers to certain bodies of Englishmen, segregated by long distances of disassociating'
But the natural tie of supremacy remains; sanctioned by the indisputable fact of the far greater material and human power congregated in the centre of the empire; and illustrated both by the eager willingness of the mother-country, on the first suspicion of danger, to spare no exertion to render adequate assistance to her oversea provinces, as well as by the wise habit of colonial statesman.ship to look to the St. Stephen's Parliament for political inspiration and guidance.
Nevertheless self-government, implying self-supporting government, involves self-taxation, and so the self-adjustment of fiscal policies. Each community of Englishmen may tax themselves how they will to maintain their community in its corporate concerns; but to strain fiscal policies beyond the mere maintenance of government is a course of action legal only on the condition that it do not touch upon the independence of other provinces of the Empire, and so interfere with the grant of self-government to the other provinces.
It is against the equity no less than the interests of the Empire as a whole that any one band of Englishmen should impede the industrial progress of any other band. It is by the crediting aid and material support of the rest of the Empire that our Colonies spring into being and continue to rise in stable prosperity. England sent money, brains, skill, and muscle to Victoria, as she is now sending them to Natal. So is a prosperous community originated. Is that community to turn round and, with scant t anks, say, 'Now you have given us all we require, we will, if you pleas, keep all this for ourselves, and not allow the rest of the Empire to participate in the benefits it has conferred on us. Communities of Englishmen, at all events, are not likely to proceed on these plans. They may, for the nonce, be led astray to consider they are doing themselves good by protection or other such policy, but they will recognise, at the same time, that not only their duty but also their interest lies in maintaining the spirit and VOL, X.-No. 53.