called attention to the divergence of opinion expressed by various Members of His Majesty's Government on the subject of Retaliation; and moved: "That this House, while recognising that fiscal retaliation can only be effectively applied upon the basis of a general tariff, welcomes the recent declarations of the President of the Board of Trade that it may be usefully employed as a weapon in commercial negotiation." He said: I am sure the Government will welcome the fact that I was successful in the ballot for to-night. [An HON. MEMBER: "Everybody will."] As the hon. Member below me says, not only the Government but everybody will welcome the opportunity of listening later on to a declaration by one of His Majesty's Government clearly and precisely defining what their views are with regard to one of the great questions at present before the country. It is not very long ago that Members of this House then in Opposition, and now holding high office in the present Cabinet, were impatient on the subject of fiscal reform. Personally, I think they had no necessity at that time to be impatient, because when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham brought forward this great question in the House and in the country he naturally, with all the facilities available in the high office which he held at the time, was far before his time in bringing it before the country. The man in the street had to begin at the very beginning and study the question in all its bearings. The consequence was that delay was necessary, the subject having been brought foward in the advanced stage which it had reached in the mind of the right hon. Gentleman, but five years have passed away, and those right hon. Gentlemen who were impatient at first have had the opportunity, not alone during the three years they have been in power, but for five years of studying the subject They have also had all the facilities which 258 the various offices they hold can lay before them. They have studied the question, and I think, therefore, we are entitled to-night to demand from them—and I am sure they will be willing to accord it to us, clearly and definitely, not in any ambiguous terms, but in the same sense as a demand was made upon the Government in power in 1905—a statement on the question of fiscal reform in relation to its development for the moment as to retaliation. Four years ago, almost to a night, the Prime Minister referred in rather jeering tones to the Tariff Reformers below the Gangway, and to the gentlemen of variegated opinions above the Gangway. I think that to-night, if we cared to do so, we could talk about these retaliators on the Front Bench and the gentlemen of variegated opinions who sit in their midst. Their opportunity has come, and I hope they will satisfy us in any statement which they make.
Personally, in the time I shall occupy, I shall only endeavour to make two points. The first point is that, whatever has induced His Majesty's Government, speaking through the President of the Board of Trade, to declare to the House and to the country that retaliation may be used in negotiation with foreign countries, we on this side welcome that declaration most heartily, because when the right hon. gentleman made that important statement, he said:—I see no reason why we should assume that a Free Trade Government is obliged to sit still with folded hands. In discussing this matter I have always been careful to say that retaliation as an occasional weapon may possibly be used.So that I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has shown us that this Free Trade Government at last are convinced that there is something wrong. That in itself, I take it, is a most important advantage in a discussion with regard to fiscal reform. Whilst you had the great mass of this Free Trade party on the other side of the House doggedly determined that nothing shall move them from the position they took up at the last general election, it was hard indeed to make an impression upon them, but now, through their spokesman, the President of the Board of Trade, we are allowed an insight into the Government feeling that something is wrong, and that something has to be done. He says there is no reason why, referring to the Cabinet and the party opposite, they should sit still with folded hands. It is quite true that he did not say how his hands were to be unfolded, nor did he explain at the time 259 what pressure had been brought to bear upon him by the great chambers of commerce of the country, or business firms, or those interested in the welfare of the trade of the country. Nor did he explain why he made this gratuitous statement to the House, disconnected, and made apparently with an object which he failed to state. At all events, whatever his reasons were for the statements he made in the House and outside, we have the admission that the wheels of Free Trade are becoming clogged, and that, whatever attitude he assumes in the matter, he is prepared on behalf of the Government to take up a different attitude from that which he has taken up in the past. Now, Sir, if new schemes are to be inaugurated I think no better opportunity can be afforded to the right hon. Gentleman than to-night, when he can explain to us what he really wishes. The President of the Board of Trade has guardedly hinted how retaliation is to be carried out. He said that in his opinion it was impossible to carry out a system of retaliation unless we adopted that of a general tariff. The President of the Board of Trade now confirms across the floor of the House what I want to mention in connection with negotiations with France. This Free Trade Government is not sitting with folded hands, and we are told that retaliation may be used, but he stated at Dundee that retaliation was impossible unless you have a general tariff. I am very glad that the right hon. Gentleman agrees with that sentiment, but after all I have searched through John Stuart Mill, and I find that a country cannot be expected to tax foreigners except by departing from the ideals of the right hon. Gentleman and his party with regard to Free Trade. The right hon. Gentleman believes that retaliation is necessary. We who have been Tariff Reformers welcome this little ray of sunshine from the Government Benches. The whole thing arises through our negotiations with France. The question has arisen out of French tariff, and the whole matter arises out of the question as to what form the retaliation with France would take. The right hon. Gentleman discovered that our large imports from France were of wine, and that retaliation against France would mean the raising of duties which are imposed here on the importation of French wines. I have gone into the subject for the purpose of finding how this could be done without inflicting a great harm on this country, and looking 260 at it from that point of view I can see clearly two things. First of all, the importation of wine from France amounts to 2,900,000 gallons, from Spain 2,700,000 gallons, and from Portugal 640,000 gallons.
I never interrupt hon. Members below the Gangway, and I hope they will not interrupt me. This is rather a technical point, but with these figures before us it is quite clear that any retaliation against France must be directed against the importation of these wines, of which I have said we import every year 2,900,000 gallons. Our general imports from France are very limited, and without coming to this House with special powers it would be impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to retaliate unless he takes wine into consideration. If he imposes some restriction against France, we immediately lose the most-favoured nation consideration as regards our exports to that country. On the other hand, if he discriminates in favour of any particular wines he is equally caught, because Spain and other countries would immediately retaliate upon us by means of a favoured national privilege. Not only that by a treaty already existing with Spain, which was entered into in 1896, it is impossible for the right hon. Gentleman to do anything at least for 12 months. For 12 months at least he could not touch the subject at all on account of the treaty. It seems to me that in making his first statement he was not acquainted with the treaties already in existence with foreign countries, or that he forgot them for the moment. It seems to me an extraordinary thing that the President of the Board of Trade should threaten France with retaliation without having the power to retaliate and at the same time to admit that retaliation could be carried out only by a general tariff. I agree that one form of retaliation can be carried out only by a general tariff. The right hon. Gentleman shakes his head, but if he does not agree with me in this statement he differs materially from many of his own colleagues and with many of those with whom he is supposed to work most closely. I have no desire to single out Cabinet Ministers, amongst whom I suspect a great division of opinion on this question exists. I do not think a greater lesson could be furnished than the appearance of the Agenda Paper to-day.
261 Some Members do not seem to read the Agenda Paper but those who do will see that the hon. Member for Preston has dropped the Amendment of which he gave notice and substituted one which deals with a different matter altogether, while the hon. Member for Rotherham has adopted the Amendment of the hon. Member for Preston. Doubtless the Mover and Seconder of the Amendment will do so in the voice of Preston and Rotherham, but I expect that the language of it has been drafted by the airy hand of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dundee. I hope he will not endeavour once more to cover up his utterances on this very difficult matter. The only Member who has had the courage—and no one will deny him courage in all matters—is my hon. Friend the Member for East Down. At all events, he was the only one who had the courage to stick to his original Amendment, which would have raised an issue of some sort, while those on the other side ran away and allowed the President of the Board of Trade to shelter himself behind a milk-and-water Amendment. We have been growing accustomed as time goes on to these differences of opinion between Cabinet Ministers. I recollect an instance last year in North-West Manchester in that contest which resulted in a great victory for fiscal reform. There was a subject introduced into the contest at the very last moment by hon. Members from Ireland below the Gangway on the question of Home Rule. When I asked the Prime Minister in this House if he agreed with the sentiments of the President of the Board of Trade as to making Home Rule an issue at the next General Election—[An HON. MEMBER: "The dominant issue."]—the dominant issue, as I am reminded, at the next General Election his answer was: "I have not got time to read the speeches of the President of the Board of Trade." This Session, when my hon. Friend the Member for Worcester asked the President of the Board of Trade if he agreed with the sentiments of the Prime Minister on the subject of retaliation, the President of the Board of Trade shrugged his shoulders, and said: "I have not got time to read the speeches of the Prime Minister." I think on this question equivocation of that kind should be dropped. If I may just refresh the memory of the President of the Board of Trade as to what the views of the Prime Minister are, perhaps he will be able to reconcile them with his own, which is more than I have been able 262 to do, and, for the purpose of giving him a better chance of doing so, I would like to give him a choice of the Prime Minister's views, which vary almost as frequently as he speaks, and I would like to ask the President of the Board of Trade with which of these views he agrees. Speaking at Birmingham on 24th February, 1905, on retaliation, he said:—You will have a war of trade interests and the best organised and the best equipped will hold their own. The weaker will go to the wall. All round the world you will provoke reprisals. For one tariff barrier which exists now a score will be brought into existence, low tariffs will be raised into high tariffs, tariffs through which you have forced your way will become prohibitive. Believe me, as ail experience shows, you will inflict far more and far severer wounds upon yourselves than upon the industrial rivals of your own once you begin to play with the boomerang of retaliation.He then held up his finger and said:—Do not let us in a lit o) hypochondria commit industrial suicide, for when all is said and done that is what retaliation comes to.That is the statement of the Prime Minister. It is not the latter part of it, but the earlier part of the quotation to which I wish to draw particular attention: "Tariffs through which you have forced your way will become prohibitive." At the Conference in 1907 he said:—There is no tarif wall that has yet been erected even in America, which is the highest of them all, which will succeed in excluding British goods from the market. You cannot do it. No power on earth can do it.So there you have two quotations from the Prime Minister, both spoken on important occasions, for the President of the Board of Trade, to choose from. The right hon. Gentleman became a little more definite on 8th March, 1904. He said:—I have always felt that retaliation meant we were to entrust the Executive with power of putting on a general tariff, to put it on or take it off at its discretion.Here we have in this particular instance a closer approximation of the aspirations of the President of the Board of Trade and the Prime Minister than at any other period I can discover in the various speeches I have searched through. In August, 1908, speaking inside the doors of the Cobden Club, the Prime Minister said:The more our experience widens the more do we realise the wisdom of the advice given sixty years ago by Sir Robert Peel, that the best weapon with' which to fight the protectionist tariff is free imports.I do not desire to labour the matter more than is absolutely necessary, but there is one quotation which, I think, will interest the House, not by the Prime Minister, but by one of his colleagues. The Secretary of State for the Colonies, commenting on the utterances of the President of the Board of Trade at a meeting 263 of the North Staffordshire Liberal Federation, said:—There were Mr. Churchill stated, cases in which it might be possible to introduce a policy of retaliation, even under a Free Trade system. That undoubtedly was true…. That fact cannot lie disputed.Then he went on to say:—Everybody knows that among many forms of protection, retaliation is commonly understood as one of the most dangerous and for this reason, that it is impossible to retaliate effectively without the imposition of very high duties indeed.["Hear, hear."]You cannot retaliate under a system of low duties Retaliation demands a system of very high protection and as everybody knows…. we, the Radical party." are no more likely to compromise on the question of retaliation than on any other side of the whole subject.So that you find the Earl of Crewe throwing over his own colleague, who was his, former representative in this House. In the first part of his speech he says one thing, and at the close of his speech he says the party will not compromise on the subject of retaliation. I daresay the right hon. Gentleman will be able to explain that to us, amongst many other things, later on in the debate. But what does it all prove? It all proves that the utmost confusion exists among the members of the Government on this subect; it all proves, after five years' study of the problem, with all the official information in their hands, and, as they said, with the mandate of the country behind them, they come to the conclusion that there is something wrong by the large admissions which have been made on that side already.
That is my first point. I think I have proved up to the hilt that the utmost confusion prevails and that the Government are not settled in their policy, are not definite in their pronouncements which they make to the country, and one of them cannot speak on the subject without throwing a colleague over. Therefore I take it, if the Members of the Cabinet are pulling in opposite directions on this great subject, as they have been recently doing on a very much greater subject, it is time that the whole mystery is cleared up and with the clearness of pronouncement, which the President of the Board of Trade can command when he likes. I hope to-night he will leave nothing that it will be necessary to clear up at a later date. The next point that I am trying to make to the House is this. The Labour party—a very strong and influential party—have, since they came into this House, consistently supported the Free Trade party. I should 264 have liked very much, if it bad been possible, to have claimed some of their attention in regard to their side of the question, because I have never been able to understand the attitude of the Labour party with regard to this question of fiscal reform. I have never been able to understand how it is that they have been so captured by the Free Trade doctrine and that no amount of reasoning is able to bring them over to our way of thinking. They identify themselves in this House—quite rightly, and nobody 'wishes otherwise—with great measures of social reform. We all know the Factory Acts, the Miners (Eight Hours) Bill, and the Trade Disputes Bill, and now in this Session the Sweated Industries Bill and the Bill establishing Trade Boards. All these are very good in their way, and undoubtedly confer benefits upon those who have worked in the country, but in my opinion this overburdening of the Statute Book with these measures of so-called reform will drive labour out of this country to foreign countries. As was pointed out the other day, it is all very well for those who have work to do, but extremely hard for those who are thrown out of employment altogether. There is a medium m this matter as well as in everything else, and while we cannot control the legislation of other countries so far as these great social reforms are concerned I cannot see how it is possible for us to combine to place further restrictions on the trade of this country without sending a portion of it abroad.
I would like to point out that the cry of the unemployed is still to be heard in the country. From April. 1907, the percentage has grown from 3.3 to 9.1 at the present time. The Royal Commission on Poor Law showed that Tariff Reformers, in dealing with this subject of unemployment, have by no means overstated the case. I go further, and say the conditions are appalling, and no speech of any Tariff Reformer has even approximated to the distress that there is in the country. The whole thing seems to turn upon the bitter enmity with which the Labour party treat capital, and i): they would join hands with it in meeting their common enemy, the foreign manufacturer, great good would be done in this country, employment would be found for many men, and the trade of the country would steadily progress for the benefit of all concerned. This problem will have to be grasped by the Labour party, and they will have to face some day one of their members rising in his place and 265 proclaiming himself a strong Tariff Reformer. That is as certain to come as that there are still a few who cling steadily to the Free Trade doctrine in our ranks. The problem will be solved when a man returned to power by Labour announces himself as a strong Tariff Reformer. We, shall then see the whole party tumble into the Tariff Reform camp, hot and strong, after the results of the elections since the General Election, especially after the victory which was secured last night. Does anyone deny that Croydon—
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Emmott)
Order, order. I think the hon. Member is getting a long way away from his Motion.
§ Mr. F. E. SMITH
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, may I ask whether your attention has been called to the fact that the Conservative candidate at Croydon placed retaliation in a very prominent part of his programme?
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER
It was not to the reference to Croydon I was alluding. I was referring to the previous argument of the hon. Member.
Of course I bow to your ruling, Mr. Deputy-Speaker. It was more or less beside the question. In my opinion every year's delay in taking some steps such as have been pointed out to us by the President of the Board of Trade means a great loss to this country. Every year's delay still faster binds the fetters on our hands, and if this idea of retaliation which has been put forward by the right hon. Gentleman is in real sincerity then the sooner he carries it out the better. He admits that it is to be carried out by a general tariff, then the sooner the general tariff is imposed the better. If all the rumours are true there is to be a general tariff under a name to suit the consciences of the right hon. Gentlemen opposite and the hon. Gentlemen above and below the Gangway. But if they do not take these steps early it strikes me, at all events, that incalculable loss will accrue to the country. It is a strange thing that while the right hon. Gentleman contemplates the imposition of tariffs in this country, that Mr. Payne, opening a debate in the American Congress a few days ago on the revised tariff of which he is the author, should have made the following interesting statement:—He did not believe there was a man in the whole of the House in favour of Free Trade. To Protection the United State? owed their phenomenal prosperity and growth. The Dingley Tariff Bill had proved an 266 immense boon, protecting industries and working men while providing an immense revenue.The next day an article appeared in the "New York Tribune." It stated:—For the United Kingdom to stand up alone before the world and let nil the other countries impose all sorts of taxes and penalties upon its commerce and do nothing, and lie able to do nothing in return, may be magnificent from a Cobdenite point of view, but to the average Englishman it does not seem to be 'good business.' That is the attitude which, to judge from the current drift of political sentiment, it will not he easy to justify in the sight of the British nation.'There you have the Americans reading our sentiment better than hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House. People over in America are able to gauge the feeling of the country. There is hardly a Free Trader in any foreign countries; there is hardly one who will be found to say that our system can be doing good to this country. Free Trade, without this new attribute of the Board of Trade, is simply sapping the life-blood of the country's business, and there is no doubt a growing feeling to back up the President of the Board of Trade and the whole Cabinet in any action they take in this direction. The whole country is aroused by the matter, as some hon. Members will find when they have to face their Constituencies. Some may call this suggested change of the President of the Board of Trade a plunge in the dark. I have seen that phrase used. Others think that they will be sacrificing their independence; and, again, that it is rather too late to make a change. I fancy if one looks for a parallel to the small country called Japan he does so with benefit. That country in a very few years by determination and skill has carried out its programme so ably as to defeat the great nation of Russia—both is Army and its Navy. So with us with regard to Protection. It is not too late to adopt the change foreshadowed by His Majesty's Government, it is not too late to go for retaliation and the accompanying and necessary tariff. Speaking in Manchester on 17th January, 1905, when indicting the Leader of the Opposition the President of the Board of Trade said:—The third count, and it is the most serious of all because after all it is a moral charge, is constitutional misdemeanour, by which I mean want of candour—I had almost said' want of honesty—in stating to the nation plainly and squarely, the fiscal principles by which they propose to stand.Sir, I appeal now in the words of this serious third count to the Government to state to the nation "plainly and squarely the fiscal principles by which the Government propose to stand," and particularly to state their intenions in regard to retaliation. I beg to move.
§ Mr. SALTER
I beg to second the Motion, which invites the attention of the House to two principles, and to two principles only. It invites the House to assent to and adapt and carry out the declaration of the President of the Board of Trade in regard to retaliation in principle, and also to declare that it is impossible to have any effective retaliation without a system of general tariffs. If the House is prepared to assent to these two propositions no Amendment to this resolution is necessary. We shall ask the House to say, and vote plainly Aye or No, whether they accept or do not accept the declaration of the President of the Board of Trade, and whether they assent or differ from the proposition that you can have no effective retaliation without a general tariff. I would remind the House of the grave circumstances under which this important declaration was made by the President of the Board of Trade. In the course of the official Amendment to the Address the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Dover in traversing the wide field of a general tariff, and in dealing with retaliation, referred very pointedly to certain suggested changes in the French duties, which undoubtedly are causing at to certain suggested changes in the French anxiety to important interests of this country. The right hon. Gentleman in that connection had challenged the Government to say whether in view of grave eventualities such as this the principle of Free Trade required the Government to sit which folded hands. The President of the Board of Trade, when he came to reply made the statement to which the House is this evening invited to assent. He began by saying that up to the present time we had suffered no harm in consequence of our Free Trade practice. Indeed, as he declared up to the present time we had succeeded in obtaining in the markets of foreign countries as favourable terms as Protectionist nations had been able to obtain. But he went on to say that if matters should change, and if tariffs should rise further, then he did not assent to the proposition that Free Trade required that we should sit with folded hands. He proceeded to make a statement, which I summarise in these terms, that according the true doctrines and practice of Free Trade retaliation was permissible in principle, and that in conceivable circumstances it might become expedient to practice.
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD Of TRADE (Mr. Churchill)
Whom are you quoting?
§ Mr. SALTER
I am quoting you. It would be the greatest possible waste of time to invite the House to discuss a very important pronouncement by a responsible Minister unless we are going to agree as to what in substance and in truth he said. I think it would be better to read the words.The right lion. Gentleman the Member for Dover asked what about future increases of tariffs. Is this House going to sit with folded hands? I see no reason why we should assume that a Free Trade Government is obliged to sit still with folded hands. In discussing this matter I have always been careful to say that retaliation as an occasional weapon may possibly be used.The right hon. Gentleman went on to say he had frequently said so before.
§ Mr. SALTER
I will conclude the paragraph:—I have made that statement at intervals during the last three or four years.That is the statement—and its importance no one can deny—of the right hon. Gentleman—a very guarded statement and beyond all question an official statement, made in closing a great debate in this House and in speaking from his place on behalf of his party for the Department concerned. The declaration excited, of course, great attention, and naturally some anticipation was expressed that the Prime Minister might take an opportunity, which occurred two or three days later, to qualify or even to repudiate from the platform what his colleague had said here. It was a very poor compliment to the President of the Board of Trade and a very poor compliment to the Board of Trade and the Cabinet itself that any such anticipation should ever have arisen. It is hardly necessary to say that nothing of the kind took place, and this is the official declaration of the views, and therefore of the policy, of His Majesty's Government.
It is, of course;, important in connection with certain great practical interests which are under discussion at the present time. To my mind it is much more important in view of the wide question of principle which it raises. In my humble judgment, this declaration makes it very difficult for Free Traders to adhere, at any rate in their fulness, to several of the most fundamental of the general dogmas on which Free Trade has hitherto rested. How is it possible after this to say that there 269 must be no taxation except for revenue? How is it possible after this to tell us that if you take care of your imports you need not trouble about your exports? How is it possible any longer to say that a protective tariff only injures the country which puts it en, inasmuch as it is invariably paid, and paid in full, by the consumer? If that is so, why need we trouble about the unfortunate French consumer who, through no prejudice of our own, should have to pay more than he has hitherto done for our goods? Not only is this important in regard to the great question of principle which it challenges, but it is important as showing a most remarkable change of opinion on the part of the Cabinet. The right hon. Gentleman declared that this was no new view of his. I do not say it is a new view, but I find him declaring at Liverpool about a year ago:—The sole justification for taxation is revenue. The only object of taxation is revenue. The only advantage to be reaped from taxation is revenue. I invite you to condemn the imposition of taxation for any other purpose.It is not very long since the Chancellor of the Exchequer declared that retaliation was a matter which would not stand five seconds' scrutiny. Not very long ago the Noble Lord the Member for Wolverhampton declared that retaliation necessarily meant the' taxation of food and of raw material, and the Prime Minister has declared that retaliation is neither more nor less than an imposture. That being so, the official declaration to which the attention of the House is invited appears to mark a very remarkable and extremely rapid change in the collected views on the part of Members of the Cabinet. For my part, I hope this declaration marks an end of what I conceive to be the first period in this long debate on Tariff Reform—the end of the high, dogmatic period, the end of the period in which any attempt to challenge the ancient formula of Free Trade was met by a dogmatic formula and a pitying smile. I hope we are passing from a period in which large numbers of persons in this country with complete self-satisfaction may maintain not merely that they were right and others were wrong, but that the fiscal policy of the civilised world was so childishly and ludicrously wrong that it was unnecessary to demonstrate it. I hope we are now in a much more hopeful and reasonable phase, in which the defenders of Free Trade will no longer tell us that Free Trade is at all times and in all places necessarily right, but will with much more humility submit that our national position, our insular and indus- 270 trial position is so exceptional that that which is good for mankind in general is not good for England. We invite this House to accept this declaration in favour of the admissibility and the orthodoxy of the principle of retaliation lately laid down by the Government, and we invite the Liberal party to identify themselves with the Liberal Government. I now come to the question of the Resolution, which invites this House to affirm an opinion in regard to the proper methods of effecting retaliation which we have already accepted in principle. The President of the Board of Trade, with his usual courage, did not at all shrink from being precise; not merely did he put the principle of retaliation, but he went on to say:While I am responsible for the Board of Trade. I am certainly not going to deny to the British Government the most absolute freedom in the using of all revenue duties, which they are perfectly entitled to make use of as they please for the maintenance of the general trade and industry of the country, and none of the effects of protective tariffs, and none of the abuses which creep in as results of protective tariff could possibly follow.The position, then, of the right hon. Gentleman is this: "I accept retaliation in principle. When the proper occasion has arisen, I shall retaliate, and I shall retaliate in this way: upon the basis of existing revenue duties. I need hardly point out that if we are going to confine ourselves to existing revenue duties, a great many countries would be quite immune from our attack, and we should not have, any real avenues of attack against anybody.
Let us watch the President of the Board of Trade at work applying in practice the system of retaliation. He takes the existing revenue duties of the country and proposes to use those. What are the existing revenue duties of the country? They are imposed according to the basic principle of Free Trade, entirely upon things which we cannot produce ourselves in order that our action may by no possibility confer a benefit upon any British industry. They are necessarily of that nature, and are for the most part duties imposed on food. The President of the Board of Trade desires to retaliate. He is fortunate enough to find articles which are part of our revenue tariff coming in from the country which he desires to influence. He raises his revenue duty. What will be the effect of that. We Tariff Reformers always maintain that the consumer does not necessarily pay the whole, sometimes we say not the greater, part of the duty. But I think we have never contended—and for my part I should never contend 271 —that if you put the duty on a thing which we do not produce ourselves, and for which there is no home competition, that there is anything to prevent the foreign importer from raising his price on the home consumer in exact proportion to the increase of the duty. The President of the Board of Trade has put on a duty. What is the result? Simply an increased price to the British consumer and no coercion whatever of the foreign importer. The Englishman pays more. The higher the duty that is imposed the higher the price that is paid for the article, and you get no coercion, and can get no coercion, until you have reached a price so high that the English consumers are obliged to dispense with the article altogether. Then for the first time you bring a coercive influence into effect, but at what cost? At the cost not only of the consumers here, but at the cost of the immediate dislocation of your revenue producing machinery, which you have just abused. So long as your duty admits the article it must be useless for coercion. The moment it excludes it. is useless for revenue. The right hon. Gentleman, therefore, is going to try to retaliate by the mere raising of revenue duties, a system which combines the maximum of inefficiency with the maximum of suffering to our own people and a minimum of advantage and the necessary destruction of your revenue producing machinery. I venture to say, whatever may be the right method of retaliation, beyond all doubt it is not the method indicated by the President of the Board of Trade.
I assume we could never retaliate with effect against any country unless we levied against that country a variety of duties—duties essentially distinct from any on which we rely for revenue, and duties carefully selected to attack the interests of that country in the most vulnerable point. And the question which we ask the House to assume is this, that those duties should be brought into operation by the adjustment of the general tariff, and not by the legislative imposition of duties ad hoc in each case. I am not sure whether I need argue this question or whether there are now any left who contend, as a considerable number of Liberal Members contended three or four days ago that if you desired to retaliate you must not employ any general tariff, but must proceed by way of restrictive legislation adopted in each case. I see there hon. Members who set down amendments to that effect which 272 have mysteriously disappeared. Is it not obvious that if you attempt to coerce a foreign nation by the method of fiscal declaration of war you would have the maximum of inefficiency and the maximum of poverty, at the same time'? We have good authority on this matter.
We have the authority of the Prime Minister, who declares what was meant for retaliation: "He presumed it meant business. If so, two things had to be remembered: retaliation was not mere bluff; for retaliation to be effective we must have a tariff all round." That is the opinion of the Prime Minister. What then is suggested? That we should go against a foreign nation and ask Parliament for powers of addressing an ultimatum to a high-spirited foreign country and say to them, "You must concede our demand or we will pile on duty on duty against you and injure your trade"? Which is the more likely to succeed. An unusual method such as that, or a reasonable, businesslike method which obtains in all civilised nations, except ourselves, on the face of the world, in which you have a maximum tariff of general applications, and, instead of threatening, blustering and attacking other countries, and particular selected industries in those countries, you are able to say courteously to the country which you desire to influence, "If you will grant me the privileges which I desire, I shall have pleasure in granting reciprocal privileges, and placing you on the privileged status of lower tariff as I do others of my friends"? I venture to say that there can be no reasonable doubt when once you grant the permissibility of retaliation in principle, it must follow that you grant the existence of a general tariff. But I mean to say also that it is unreasonable to suggest, as hon. Members opposite do, because that is so, it therefore follows that you must adopt a general tariff. They have their choice. They must either adopt it general tariff, or, I think, concede that they are powerless in the way of retaliation, and must not cry out when they are taunted with it. My great hope is that this evening we may get a declaration from this House, whether they do or do not accept any retaliation in principle, and whether they do or do not accept a general tariff if you have retaliation. My feeling is that we shall have an evasive discussion which will not meet the challenge we seek. What has happened within the last few days is very instructive, and very significant. My hon. Friend who put 273 down this Motion, which throws down in plain language two plain challenges to the Liberal party, was met upon the field of battle by the hon. Member for Preston. He put in an appearance, and dug himself in a trench of his own selection in a commanding position. A day or two after he was joined by five or six other stalwarts of Free Trade, some of whom I see sitting here. How do they propose to counter this attack? They propose to counter it in the terms of the Motion which now stands solitarily in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Durham. They proposed at that time—that was something like three days ago—to say that they did recognise retaliation, although very reluctantly and unwillingly, and they described it evasively. They say:—Cases may conceivably occur in which fiscal retaliation may he employed as usefully; is other methods of warfare'… holds that such cases are rare, that they cannot be dealt with by a general tariff, but only by measures framed for the particular end in view.But two days ago the hon. Member for Preston was seen to have evacuated his position. He came out of the trench that he had dug for himself into another, and a very different trench and a very different position; and his followers they came out of the trench too, and they disappeared from the field of battle altogether. Thus the trench is now inhabited solely by my hon. Friend the Member for South-East Durham. The Liberal party has thought it wiser not to commit themselves to paper at all on either of these matters. They prefer not to say on paper whether they accept or do not accept the principle of Retaliation, and they prefer not to say on paper whether they admit it as a proposition that if you desire to retaliate you must have a general tariff. They desire to evade that committal to paper on either of these grounds. What have they done instead? They have set down an Amendment in the names of the hon. Member for Preston and the hon. Member for the Rotherham Division of Yorkshire. Of this Amendment I desire to say in conclusion one or two words. The Amendment socalled—I assume its correctness as a matter of order—the Amendment begins with an ambiguity and ends with an evasion. The Amendment in truth and in substance is not an Amendment, and does not meet the challenge which we threw down. It is an Amendment designed to assist evasion, and eventually to lead up discussion to a perfectly important but perfectly irrelevant topic. It begins: "This House, without seeking to limit by any declara- 274 tion its entire freedom in fiscal matters, is of opinion that Great Britain has secured, without recourse, for many years to a policy of retaliation," and so on.
What on earth does that mean? Does the hon. Member for Preston in relation to the declaration of the President of the Board of Trade either agree with what he said or disagree, or was he in doubt I do not believe he was in doubt. I do not believe he agreed with what he said. I believe he profoundly differed, but this phrase may mean any one of the three events. It will suit me or anybody else in any conceivable event. It is one of those conciliatory, meaningless, evasive, nice sounding phrases, redolent of a Minister in difficulties. I should have thought it was a long way below the accustomed stringent straight forwardness of the hon. Member for Preston which we so much admire. If ever his fingers traced that phrase I am sure they loathed the operation.Terms of entry into the markets of protectionist countries at least as good as those obtained by any protectionist State.That is what it says. What on earth has that got to with it? With either of the challenges we have thrown down? The right hon. Gentleman told us in the course of discussions which is the text of this debate that we had not suffered up till now. We ask the House, "Do you accept the principle of retaliation"? They propose to answer: "We have suffered no disadvantage up till now." How does that deal with the point. We ask the House: "Do you accept the position that you must have a general tariff if you wish to have retaliation?" They say: "All we can say is we have sustained no disadvantage up till now." I do not admit for a moment we have suffered no disadvantage, but for the sake of discussion I am compelled to admit that we have sustained no disadvantage. I ask the House now to answer these two questions. "Do you accept retaliation in principle or not, and do you agree that it involves a general tariff?" The so-called Amendment is nothing but an attempt to obscure the issue and evade the challenge. There was a time not long ago in this House when we Unionists, Tariff Reformers, suffered so much from the divisions in our ranks and from the difficulties which were then felt on Tariff Reform that we were sometimes hard put to to meet the challenge of Free Traders, and sometimes driven, I am afraid, to tactics of a policy of evasion. Well, now that has passed to the other 275 side of the House. We shall go on bringing forward at every opportunity we can such challenges to get the other side to face this great question, and so keep step in step in defeat after defeat in this House, with victory after victory in the country.
§ Sir WILLIAM HOLLAND moved, as an Amendment, to leave out from the first word "that" to the end, and to insert the words: "This House, without seeking to limit by any declaration its entire freedom in fiscal matters, is of opinion that Great Britain has secured, without recourse for many years to a policy of retaliation, terms of entry into the markets of protectionist countries at least as good as those obtained by any protectionist State." I observe that the Mover of the resolution appears to revel in what he described as the alleged admission of some of His Majesty's Ministers that there was something wrong in regard to our fiscal system. But I think the effects of that "something wrong" are felt not so much in this country as in some foreign countries, where they are constantly endeavouring to put right what they think wrong by altering their tariff arrangements. I notice also that the same hon. Member expressed his great pleasure that the weapon of retaliation, according to the declaration of the President of the Board of Trade, was not to be for ever thrown away, and yet lie went on to point out some, of the practical and I think, as he thought, insuperable difficulties in the exercise of that weapon of retaliation, by the description he gave of difficulties in the way of increasing our wine duties with France. I do not. think that last argument was calculated to encourage either the President of the Board of Trade or any other of His Majesty's Ministers on that policy of retaliation which some are j inclined to enter upon, for it pointed out the very serious difficulties they would encounter directly they followed that path. I think experience has shown that the Free Trade policy is as a rule a far more effective instrument for obtaining good tariff reform than any hostile action on our part would be, and no wonder that it is so. for the policy we adopt in this country must appeal to every fair-minded man abroad. ["Oh, oh."] I said every fair-minded man abroad. Inasmuch as we treat the foreigner well in any goods he may send to this country, we obviously have the first claim to be treated well in return when we send goods into his 276 country. But the reason why that is not carried out is that the rapacity of monopolists in foreign countries is often fatal to any fair-minded consideration of our legitimate claims. Hence it would be folly to say that we would never resent hostile treatment on the part of those countries, however injurious and unfair that hostile treatment might be. It is not every hostile tariff that is really injurious to this country. Sometimes hostile tariffs abroad help us in the great neutral markets of the world, so that we should be ill advised, I think, to pledge ourselves to retaliation in every case where undoubtedly we are badly treated. I think it is enough for our present purpose to pledge ourselves to consider these cases as they arise, and certainly not to throw away the weapon of retaliation and never under any conceivable circumstances to resort to it. On the other hand, I think the history of tariff wars is by no means encouraging. Usually the result of a tariff war, when it is over, is that each party finds itself worse off than it was at the beginning. I think the most-favoured-nation treatment, which up to. the present has saved us from endless anxiety, must still remain our most valuable asset in tariff revision. Reference has been made to the Amendment which was on the Paper a few days ago, which has since been withdrawn. I was one of those who had their names attached to that Amendment, and although it has been withdrawn the sentiments which, it expressed have not been withdrawn. I agree heartily with the expression of those sentiments given a few days ago by the President of the Board of Trade. The Amendment which I now have the honour to propose stands for freedom either to put duties on upon the one hand or take them off on the other hand, whichever we think may be in the true interests of the country. The Resolution before us stands, for the general tariff in any case, and when a general tariff is once imposed any country which imposes it is not free to take it off or to modify it very greatly, because the monopolists will not let them.
I remember hearing a short time ago of someone who went to look at a country house and after looking over it a member of the party, a lady, said that she had heard there was a haunted room, and she did not want a house where there were any ghosts. The caretaker said he did not believe in ghosts, and stated when anybody died and went to a good place
they would not want to come back again; but if they went to a bad place they would not let them come back. If a general tariff is once imposed, and it is desired to remove it when vested interests have been built up behind a tariff wall, the monopolists will not allow the removal of those tariffs. At the present moment the United States are in the throes of what may be described as a tariff revision. We have had a good many of those revisions in our time, and we all remember the Wilson and the Dingley tariff, and now there is the Payne tariff. Whilst that is proceeding business in the United States is paralysed. I may mention that President Roosevelt was in favour of tariff revision, and President Taft has also declared himself in favour of revision, and so have the electors at the poll. What sort of a revision are they likely to get. In "The Times" it was suggested that if the present proposals were carried into effect, whereas the average duty on a certain number of articles before revision took place amounted to 45 per cent, of their value the average duty after the revision would represent 47 per cent, of their value. In other words, the duty would be 2 per cent, higher after revision than it was before. I notice in "The Times" newspaper it was stated the other day that if Mr. Payne's Bill becomes law it will be the highest tariff in the fiscal history of the United States, and the President would be justified in vetoing the measure in view of his promises of a reduction of the excessive duties and a straightforward reduction of tariffs. Another London newspaper, the "Daily Telegraph," spoke of the farce of revision, and went on to say:—
American trade interests are strongly entrenched in the Senate, and any substantial tariff red net inn in that august body would stand as much chance as a lamb in a pack of wolves.
We are free from wolves now, and let us see that we remain so. Although some opinions have, been quoted on the other side, personally, I am dead against a general tariff as a weapon of retaliation, as being the most unwieldy, the most ineffective, and the most costly that could be invented, and as being an arrangement which would involve the maximum of outlay on the one hand, and secure the minimum of return on the other. A general tariff, in my opinion, has no special adaptability for dealing with the grievance which is sought to be remedied, nor can it have in that case, because it was drawn
up long before the grievance arose. It surely is a reflection on our common-sense to attempt to prescribe medicine before you know what is the matter with the patient. You do not know whether it is a surgical case or a medical case, and yet you prescribe the treatment. To impose upon ourselves the burden of a general tariff is like a man constantly wearing a suit of armour lest he should be attacked at some future time. It is a perpetual burden that he is carrying, and one which may never prove to be of any advantage. It is infinitely better to devise the weapon of retaliation when the condition of things arises with which you have to cope. You will then be able to devise a weapon which will be very much more effective for its purpose, and it does not take long to construct the weapon when once it is decided that it shall be adopted. It is a question of carrying a Vote through the Houses of Parliament. You can soon have your weapon ready for use. As a Free Trader I am not myself disposed to submit quietly to any fiscal treatment, however hostile or injurious, at the hands of foreign nations if I can help it; but I would not rush blindly into reprisals which would leave me worse off afterwards than? I was before. Who shall say that even the very mention of the word by the Board of Trade the other day may not be found to have produced some substantial effect when the final revisions of the French Tariff are disclosed. I observe there was a resolution passed unanimously the other day by and influential French society, namely, the Association of Industrial and Commercial Economy, in Paris, to the effect that they hoped, amongst other things, that the Government will reject every modification of the tariff capable of arousing reprisals Who knows but that that resolution was passed in consequence of the language used by the President of the Board of Trade? I cordially and confidently submit for the acceptance of the House the Amendment which I have the honour to propose.
§ Mr. HAROLD COX
The Mover and Seconder of this Resolution laid stress on the fact that my hon. Friend and I have put down another Amendment to their Resolution. That is perfectly true; but if they had taken the trouble to examine the two Amendments a little more carefully they would have seen that the one we put down originally challenged them on the question of theory, whilst this Amendment challenges them on the point of fact. We 279 are indifferent whether they argue the question of Free Trade on theory or on fact; we come out top either way. The object of the hon. Member in moving the Motion is to draw attention to the speech of the President of the Board of Trade. The right hon. Gentleman has been greeted with n>any epithets from the other side of the House, but never before by any of them has he been denoted as a little ray of sunshine.
I do not, I regret to say, always agree with my right hon. Friend. I differ from him very often, but on this occasion I agree with him so far that I think what he said was not only true, but almost a truism. He said that we had never taken up the position in this country that we would under no circumstances retaliate upon foreigners. Of course we have not, and of course we never mean to. If hon. Members opposite would study the Free Trade case a little more instead of reading into that case their own imaginings, they would find that Free Traders have always taken that position. If they go back to the time of Adam Smith who, if any one can, may claim the honour of being the Father of Free Trade, they will find that he argues the question of retaliation carefully and fully, and after pointing out the conceivable cases in which it | may be applied with advantage, he says the practical question whether you are to apply it is to be left to the skill of that crafty and insidious animal vulgarly called a statesman or politician. If they go a little further and come down to the year 1820, when the famous petition of the merchants of London was presented to the House, they will find there not only the whole Free Trade case clearly set out, but that it is clearly stated that we may, when occasion arises, rebate our tariff to secure reciprocal advantages from other countries. They will find between 1820 and 1830 that that brilliant Tory Free Trader, William Huskisson, in the course of the many alleviations of the tariff with which this country was cursed, held out to other countries the offer of reciprocal concessions in return for their abatements. Sir Robert Peel did the same thing, and professed the same doctrine. It was only when Sir Robert Peel found that the policy which he and Huskisson had tried brought no results that he said:—We will cease to traffic with other countries: we will consider our own interests and meet hostile tariffs with free imports.Let them take their great bogey man, 280 Cobden, and they will find that he not only accepted the doctrine that you may receive reciprocal concessions, but that he held you may give them. It was he who converted the Emperor Napoleon in 1860, and won large concessions in the French market by giving concessions in our own country. Free Traders have always held the position which the right hon. Gentleman put forward the other day. They have always held the position that tariffs may be used for bargaining, and they have never taken up the position that under no circumstances are we to retaliate on foreign countries. It is quite easy to bargain as long as you have a big tariff; but suppose you go on bargaining until you have completely exhausted your tariff, what then are you going to do? That is what we have done. We have bargained our tariff away until we have none left. Are we to begin all over again and build it up? And how often are we to go on repeating that process? Generation after generation? Surely that is folly. If you are going to retaliate at all you must devise special measures for that special purpose, and such measures as will be likely to produce the desired result. Hon. Members opposite say, "Build up another tariff and take care that all your duties are very low." And with this you are going to fight very high tariffs. It is like going into action with pea-shooters against 12-inch guns. [An HON. MEMBER: "They do not mean it."] Of course they do not. There is no Protectionist who can logically be a Retaliationist for two reasons. The Protectionist, believing Protection to be a good thing, cannot go to another country and say, "We mean to force you to give up Protection." It would be extremely unfair to try to make them give up what they think is good for them. Supposing they succeeded in building up their Protectionist tariff and then used it for bargaining with another country, their tariff disappears, and the Protection they crave for is gone, so that no Protectionist can logically be a Retaliationist. They use the cry of retaliation, thinking that the word has some merit in it, in order to get in their Protection by a side wind. I think that the Member for Dulwich has got the idea in his head that when foreign countries think that it is desirable to put duties on our goods we should put duties on their goods of an equivalent value. At all events, if he does not hold that opinion some Members of his party do. They say, "if our goods are shut out from foreign competition and the foreign goods come in 281 free, that is not fair." But if the foreigner shuts out our goods we have an advantage over him. If he is able to sell to us at lower prices, that is an advantage to us. [A Cry of "No" from the OPPOSITION Benches.] Surely it is an advantage to this country to get goods below the cost price. But that is not all. Think of the injury we should be doing not only to the consumers, but to the producers. Supposing we should shut out these goods, they would go to other markets. Our consumers would lose, and our producers would lose in the markets in which they have been selling. I know that some hon. Members opposite believe in universal Free Trade. I am an Englishman first; and if foreign countries choose to injure themselves, they may go on doing so to the crack of doom. They benefit us by enabling us to command the markets which, otherwise, they would command. There is a practical illustration of this in the cotton trade. I do not think anything could be worse for the cotton trade of Lancashire than if the United States were to become a Free-Trade country. The Member for Dulwich is rather chary in dealing with the cotton trade. He went down to Liverpool some months ago and made a speech upon the cotton trade, and it was easy to see, reading between the lines, the trouble he gave himself to find some argument to justify a system of protection as applied to the cotton trade, because the cotton trade has a vast export market and cannot benefit by import duties. But he did discover one. He said the market for our cotton goods was India, and he went on to say: Can we kept open by our political power over India, and he went on to say: Can we always hold India, and he felt it was doubtful. How, then, are we to maintain our rule over India? By bribing the Colonies into a system of preference, so that they will come and help us to maintain our rule over India. It is not only markets such as India and China that we have, and I would mention that though the markets of India are open to all the world as well as to England, still 97 per cent, of her cotton conies from this country. But it is not only in the neutral markets, but in the protective markets we are better off than the protected countries. It is true any particular country can keep us out of her particular market, but what we have to consider is how we stand in other protected markets, and if hon. Members will examine the figures of the great manufacturing countries of England, France, Ger- 282 many, and the United States, they will find that in manufactured articles Germany buys more from us than from the other two countries, France buys more from us than from the other two countries, and the United States buys more from us than the other countries. In other words, we are always better off because we have an open door, and can find the materials for our enterprise at the lower prices. That is the result following upon the policy which Sir Robert Peel laid down as a result of his experience. It has given us a magnificent position in the trade of the world. I admit frankly it is quite conceivable that cases may arise in which we may be met with a situation with which we could not deal adequately by simply trusting to the pressure of time and to the ultimate success of our sound policy. I take the case of a sudden imposition of a new tariff by one country. I call the attention of the House to the fact that my right hon. Friend carefully confined' his remarks to the case of a new tariff. He was perfectly right to draw that distinction. With regard to the old tariffs we need not bother. Our manufacturers and merchants have established their business in spite of the old tariffs, they have-built up that business and clambered over walls—
§ Mr. ROBERT DUNCAN
I can give from experience an example of an established trade being cut off by a foreign tariff.
§ Mr. HAROLD COX
I do not think my hon. Friend understands my point. My point is that foreign countries may put up new tariffs that might destroy part of our business. How are we to deal with that? It is all a question of the magnitude of the injury. We do not fight about trifles. Assuming it is a great injury, assuming it is an injury affecting only a limited number of people, but it is conceivable it is a great injury to them, and so serious in principle that the nation should shoulder the obligation of defending them. How is it to be done? I have dealt already with the Conservatives trying to face the question by means of a general tariff limited to small duties. I contend in such a case it would be far better not to attempt to deal with the matter by such trivialities as duties, but actually to say, "You have injured us; you may not have intended to do so, but you have injured us considerably, and therefore we intend to injure you as much as we can, and we shall 283 prohibit certain of your goods until you remove this injury." That, of course, is an act of war, and, like all war, it involves risk, and looking round the world, I do not see many opportunities of doing that without hurting ourselves a great deal more than we should hurt others. Take the case of French wines, which has been alluded to by the hon. Member. I would go beyond what he said. I would boldly say to the French Government, on the assumption that the injury is one to justify action—assuming that for the sake of argument—I would go beyond the hon. Member and say to the French Government, "We will dispense with your wines altogether. We can do without them; many of us do not drink wine. All our Nationalists, for example, drink nothing but Irish whisky, with a compulsory Gaelic label; and as to our Tariff Reformers, it is true that they used to be fond of toasting the British Empire in champagne or Chateau Lafitte, but recently a secret society has arisen among them, which threatens immediate political death to any Unionist who ventures to drink anything but Burgoyne's Australian burgundy." In that particular instance it is quite possible that retaliation might be successful, but, as I said, the number of such instances is very rare, and—this is my last point—there is nothing in the case which has been put forward to justify even for a moment the suggestion that we should adopt a general policy of retaliation any more than any man would be mad enough to say you should adopt a general policy of war. A general policy of retaliation would involve constant interference by ignorant officials and still more ignorant Members of Parliament in every man's business in the country, and it would also do this—it would necessarily create a series of vested interests. You put on your tariff for the sake of retaliation, and at once under the shadow of that tariff grow up a number of vested interests. What, then, has become of your freedom of action? These will be the people who will prevent you from retaliating. If hon. Members ever succeed in establishing this policy of retaliation they will find that instead of being restrained by fiscal theories which they regard as out of date, they will be restrained by a series of vested interests which will render any such movement impossible.
§ Question proposed: "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the question."284
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
Mr. Speaker, I desire to be as brief as possible, but I confess it is very difficult to know in what particular direction to address the remarks I want to put before the House. We have a Resolution, and we have an Amendment, and we have the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down, which has very little to do with either. I cannot refrain from pointing out that the Amendment which is now before the House has absolutely no connection with the Resolution. What possible connection can it have? The Resolution is so explicit. Obviously this Amendment has nothing to do with the first part of it; but the Amendment is supposed to deal with the second part. The declarations of the President of the Board of Trade is referred to in this part of the Resolution because, rightly or wrongly, we consider they have something to do with the present intention or policy of the Government. But this Amendment deals with nothing but issues—and those false issues. The hon. Member stated why they ran away from the Amendment—he said it was just a different method of dealing with the matter. Well, I think I can give an explanation which the House will accept much more readily than that. That explanation is that if the Amendment had stood in the form in which the hon. Member first put it clown it could not possibly have been accepted by any Government of which the Prime Minister is a Member, for the very reason that he has declared that you cannot have retaliation unless you have a general tariff. The Amendment, as it stands, amounts only to this, that this House does not welcome the recent declarations of the President of the Board of Trade. I can quite understand that in that form it would be acceptable to the majority of the House, but I understand that it is going to be voted for and spoken in favour of by the President of the Board of Trade himself. Obviously, therefore, it could not be agreeable to him in its original form. Now I go from the Amendment to the Resolution moved by my hon. Friend. That Resolution is quite plain, and I think the object is quite plain also. It has not merely the object of expressing an economic truth; it has the subsidiary object of pointing out the difference of opinion prevailing among the different Members of the Cabinet. It has also another object, which, I think, is even more important than knocking the head of the President of the Board of Trade against the heads of some of his col- 285 leagues—namely, of drawing attention to the striking change which has taken place in the whole attitude towards Tariff Reform not only in the country, which we all recognise, but even in the present House of Commons. This Resolution is really the natural, and, I think, inevitable successor of the first fiscal discussion which took place in this House. The House remembers the circumstances. The Government, fresh from their victories at the poll, took the very unusual—I think unprecedented—course of spending two days not of private Members' time but of Government time in order to establish an academic Resolution.
They wished, I suppose, to have one final fiscal discussion to solemnise the obsequies of that Tariff Reform which the general election had killed. The substance of the Resolution was that the House desires to express its undying devotion to the sacred cause of Free Trade. That was very easy, but I remember that the Leader of the Opposition and the Member for West Birmingham wanted something a little more definite. They said: "Will you tell us what you mean by Free Trade?"; and they put some very pertinent questions. They asked, for instance, whether a tariff such as that of India, which imposes revenue duties without corresponding excise, is Free Trade or not? They got an answer which was quite satisfactory to the then tone and temper of the majority of the House. "Enough of this foolery," we were told. "Free Trade is Free Trade, and that is an end of it." My right hon. Friend suspected, and gave expression to the suspicion, that while the House was voting so readily in favour of Free Trade they had not a very clear idea of what Free Trade meant, and that there was among them an immense difference of opinion as to how it should be carried out. Have not subsequent events amply justified that suspicion? Take first some utterances of hon. Gentlemen on the back benches, who support the Government. They are all, of course, Free Traders, but there are differences. One hon. Gentleman, a friend of mine, who is a Member for Kent, is willing to live or die for Free Trade, but hops are produced in Kent. Hops are different. A duty on hops would be an unmixed advantage to the people of this country. Take another illustration. The hon. Member for Macclesfield also was an out-and-out Free Trader, but silk is made in Macclesfield.
286 Silk is different. A duty on silk would be; nothing but an advantage to the people of this country.
I admit the utterances of individual Members who are trembling for their seats are not very important. If we leave them and come to the Members of the Government itself we find that that same heresy of Protection seems to have spread even to the priests who are standing before the altar. That there are heretics among the Members of the Government I do not think anyone would doubt. There are two of them who are specially outstanding, the Chancellor (if the Exchequer and the President of the Board of Trade. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, I think, is a hardened offender. We have pointed out over and over again that while he has been giving perorations about Free Trade in the country he has been practising Protection in his Shipping Bill and his Patents Bill. I have pointed that out so often that I should not have referred to it to-night if I had only myself or the opinion of my Friends to rest upon, but there is on one on that side of the House who has given any consideration at all to the question of Free Trade and Protection who does not recognise that M. Guyot knows as much about the subject, and is as good a judge of what is Protection and what is Free Trade, as any Member of this House. What does he say about it? I am sure the hon. Member for Preston himself will admit that he is at least as great an authority on the subject as he is. This is what he says about the present Government:—They have not only dug the grave of Free Trade, lint they have practiced protection in their Shipping Bill and their Patents Bill. This Government which was created by the great Free Trade majority offered one programme only, to strengthen and defend Free Trade. Instead it has prepared the way for the Protectionist reaction.Before I touch upon the special heresies of the President of the Board of Trade I ask the House to notice this curious coincidence. Who are the two Members of the Government who are suspected of being heretics? They are the two Gentlemen who have successively filled the office of President of the Board of Trade. They are, therefore, the two Members of the Government who came more in contact with trade than any of their Colleagues and whose views presumably are more influenced by the facts of the world as they see them around them.
But the fact that these two gentlemen are the heretics is interesting from another point of view. If you ask any Members 287 of this House to tell us which two Members of the Government have the keenest scent for a change with the trend of opinion they will tell you the two right hon. Gentlemen whom I have named. And it is the gentlemen with these characteristics who are admittedly, not by us alone but by their own friends, heretics on this question. I say by their own friends, and have given one instance, and shall now give another. The President of the Board of Trade is accused of heresy. For my own part I can only say I am very grateful to him for the immense step forward which he has made in regard to this question. But it is not quite the same with all the supporters of his own party. There is one journal in London which has rebuked the right hon. Gentleman in words which I thought unnecessarily severe— that is the "Nation," which I think represents the undiluted quintessence of the present spirit of the modern Liberal. It asked him to drop this heresy. But not merely this particular journal, but another journal which also represents very largely Radical opinion—the "Manchester Guardian"—also dealt with the right hon. Gentleman. I admit it did so in a different way. It was kindly disposed towards him. It spoke to him in a gentle way, as a loving father admonishing his erring son, but it also pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman that he had erred, and must sin no more. I want the House to realise another curious thing in connection with this heresy of the right hon. Gentleman. What has caused it? It is the new French tariff with which there is some desire to deal. The very fact, apart from the right hon. Gentleman, that that tariff has excited so much interest in the country is itself the most striking sign of the immense progress of the Tariff Reform movement. We all remember the M'Kinley tariff and the Dingley tariff. These tariffs did enormously greater harm to this country than this French tariff, yet not one word of remonstrance was addressed to the Government of the United States at the time. Only three years ago I think an addition was made to the tariffs of Germany and of Austria, which also did quit-o as much harm to us as this French tariff. Again not a word from any Member of the Government, and not much from the country. What is the meaning of the change? It means that the country has been aroused on this question. It means that men actually engaged in business, whatever their political views, 288 whatever their fiscal views, have recovered their common sense, like the hon. Member who moved this amendment, and who is prepared at all events to protect his own trade, whatever happens to any other. They are determined that they will not without an effort allow this additional burden to be inflicted on British trade. In my view that agitation itself, whatever the result, is the most striking sign that the whole edifice of Free Trade is crumbling.
§ Sir WILLIAM HOLLAND
Does the hon. Member suggest that I have endeavoured to protect the cotton trade?
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
I do suggest, and certainly with no disrespect, that the hon. Member in. his speech showed that he was in favour of retaliation in order to allow the cotton trade to get into France. Let us come to the statement by the President of the Board of Trade which has given rise to this particular dispute. The right hon. Gentleman wrote a long letter to the Press the other day, which seemed to have for its object to prove his consistency. There is a familiar quotation that reminds us "that the fear of inconsistency is the bane of weak minds." Now I had thought that in that respect the right hon. Gentleman had a strong mind. But he wrote this letter in order to show that his views had always been the same. I think it was an entire failure. I think he entirely misunderstood the effect of his recent speeches compared with his earlier speeches. His earlier speech, as he quoted in this letter, was intended to prove that although retaliation may be defensible in theory on Free Trade grounds, it is never advisable in practice. The special speech to which this Resolution referred to is that where the right hon. Gentleman, leaving the region of theory, goes on to deal with a concrete problem of Government. He says, or leads us to believe, that he was going to use retaliation in dealing with that problem. What is the difference? The difference is to be shown between the words used by the right hon. Gentleman quoted already which were used by the Prime Minister. The right hon. Gentle man said this:—I see no reason why we should assume that a Free Trade Government"—Well, the words are well known, and I will not quote further. What did the Prime Minister say?For retaliation to lie effective we must have a tariff all round.289 He told us that it was no use ranging here and there and taking a pot-shot with a single revolver. What the right hon. Gentleman, however, so far as anyone can understand his policy, declares is that he is going to fire this pot-shot and he is going to fire it at that particular Power which is in front of his revolver at the time, though it may not be by any means more unfriendly to us at that time than any other nation. That is a question to which a definite answer has been asked from the right hon. Gentleman. It is a clear question. It demands a clear answer. I do not regard with so much importance the speech that he made on retaliation in this House, I refer to the speech which he made at the Associated Chambers of Commerce. There he deliberately raised this question of the French tariff. There, dealing with the French tariff, he said: "I will never say"—lam quoting as well as I can without taking the trouble to look up the matter—"that we will do nothing, no matter what is done against us."
My point is this—the hon. Member left on the minds of everyone who heard him this belief—that in dealing with this practical question of Government to-day, it was his intention, and the intention of the Government of which he is a member, to use retaliation in order to get the best terms we can from France. That is a direct question which I ask the right hon. Gentleman to answer. Did that expression of opinion represent his intention and the intention of the Government of which he is a member. Does he mean in this case not to fight hostile tariffs, but by free imports? Does he mean to fight it by, if not retaliation, by a possibility of retaliation?
§ The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of TRADE (Mr. Churchill)
We always welcome on this side of the House the opportunity which our Friends opposite afford us from time to time of having an evening's discussion upon various aspects of the fiscal question. Personally, I always enjoy very much listening to their development of a fiscal debate. I rejoice in the opportunity of watching the psychological workings of the Protectionist mind. It is a very interesting and instructive study, and nothing strikes me more strongly in that examination than the inexhaustible faculty of hon. Gentlemen opposite of harbouring, nourishing, and cherishing delusions of all kinds upon the subject to which they have pinned their faith. There are three delusions which have occupied the 290 speeches to which we have listened this evening, which were presented in a very short and plain form in the speeches of the Mover and Seconder, and which we have listened to in the rather more cultured version given in the speech of the hon. Member who has just sat down. There is no divergence between the opinions of Ministers upon the subject of retaliation, none whatever; none exists, none is apparent. There is no difference between what I have said in this House and outside in the last few weeks and what I have always said in discussing this question of retaliation. No departure has been made from the canons of fiscal orthodoxy, and the hon. Member for Preston, than whom there is no greater authority on orthodoxy in Free Trade and all other matters, in his admirable speech was able to quote all the greatest authorities, from Adam Smith, Huskisson, Sir Robert Peel, and Cobden, in support of the propositions which he and I have ventured to advance.
There is no new announcement or no new declaration of policy on the part of the Government or on the part of Members of the Free Trade and Liberal party, and no one knows it better than the hon. Gentleman himself opposite, for he has thoroughly studied this question, and he is acquainted with all its points and all its turns. No new view has been propounded, and so far as I am concerned I beg respectfully to say I have no withdrawal to make and no modification of any kind to offer of the observations I have made. I own that hon. Gentlemen opposite have great faith in the cause they put forward. It is only just to those who press and advance their views to recognise their sincerity and their conviction, but I do not think that a cause which requires to be advanced by consciously false arguments, by garbled extracts from past speeches, and by tricked statistics, is a cause which can be said to repose on any very steady or assured foundation of truth. Now what in the position on which we stand on this question? We are all agreed on this side of the House and on this bench that a system and policy of retaliation as propounded by the party opposite would involve us in mischievous and wasteful tariff wars, would almost certainly lead to the imposition of a general tariff, would probably be quite ineffective in practice, and we have done extremely well in the past without recourse to such methods. We are all agreed in that. Let me say, at the same time, we have always said that we have never lost our freedom to retaliate if a 291 case were made out, that such cases might conceivably occur, and that we have no intention at any time, least of all at the present time, of limiting, by any declaration of our own the perfect and unfettered discretion of the House of Commons to judge all such cases on their merits, and to deal with new circumstances when and as those circumstances arise. No, Sir, there is no new departure, there is nothing new in what I have said. There are no two members of the Government who more authoritatively and completely might express and declare its policy than the Prime Minister and the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The Prime Minister distinctly said, on 28th March, 1905:—No one alleges, or has over alleged, that there may not be under peculiar circumstances. Inch have never yet been described, a conceivable instance in which, possibly by the deliberate action of the Legislature, some form of retaliation may not be imposed.That was in 1905. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary as long ago as 6th May, 1901, before the fiscal controversy was born or thought of by any responsible politician in the country, said in the course of a debate:—I am prepared to stand firm and to fight import duties so long as we have the most-favoured nation clause, but if it comes to this that any foreign country deliberately imposes a differential duty on British goods, that is to say gives British goods deliberately worse terms in its markets than other competitors, then I think we shall have to set no limit to our indignationThe right hon. Gentleman went on to say in June, 1903:—I could imagine a case in which some country might be subjected to such hostile treatment that it "would be impossible to sit still under it; but before -we resorted to commercial retaliation I should want to have five things clearly proved: that there was a case of hostile discrimination: that all the resources of ordinary diplomatic negotiations have been exhausted; that commercial reprisals would not hurt us more than they would hurt the other country that they were likely to prove elective; and that there was no other better method of bringing pressure to bear to attain our ends. Show me such an exceptional case, prove that every one of these live points hold good, and we will consider the ease on its merits.Those, I venture to say, are almost the exact words which I used in the debate on the Address, and which four years ago, when I prosecuted my candidature before the General Election, I unfolded to those whose votes I received. I have ventured to trespass upon the House in regard to this small point of my personal orthodoxy, which is after all of no great consequence. I only wish I had always been as consistent in everything else as I have been in this. I want the House to see that all this trumped up argument about a new departure, and the great concession on the part of the Government to the revelation which 292 hon. Gentlemen have been proclaiming, is a wholly misleading and unfounded argument which rests upon no other authority than their earnest desire to strengthen their case by fabricating situations which do not exist, and by misunderstanding and misrepresenting the opinions of their political opponents. Now, let me take an instance which, I think, illustrates the position which we adopt on this intricate but minor point in the great discussion between Free Trade and Protection. I will take an instance which will appeal to hon. Members opposite. In trade disputes we are all conciliators. Everybody is in favour of arbitration and conciliation and methods of settling trade disputes without recourse to lock-outs or strikes. What would be thought of a firm who said, "Our policy is a policy of lock-outs?" What would be thought of a trade union who said, "Our policy is a policy of strikes?" All the most responsible leaders of trade unionism endeavour to discourage, by every means in their power, recourse to these injurious and violent methods. Yet, with all the inconvenience, friction, and loss which strikes cause, not only to those against whom that weapon is used, but also to those who use that weapon. I venture to think that no sensible workman, no responsible trade-union leader, would for a moment allow himself or those for whom he is responsible to be cut off from the right or the power to strike if the occasion arose. No one can possibly doubt that the relations of capital and labour proceed on a healthier basis because that power exists and, if need be, can be effectually exerted. I think the workmen in any industry would make the greatest mistake if they repudiated the right to strike, and employers would make a great mistake if they were to assume that, because their men had never struck, and were opposed to that method of settling disputes and preferred other methods of adjusting industrial fluctuations, therefore, they would not strike, no matter how favourable the opportunity, how strong the case, or how clear the provocation. If I were the secretary of a trade union at a time when some rather critical negotiations in trade matters were pending, and I were to go about proclaiming, or allowed others to go about proclaiming, that under no circumstances whatever should we possibly resort to extremes, I should not be doing my duty to those of whose interests I might have been placed in charge.
293 Just in the same way I think foreign nations might easily make a mistake if in their commercial relations with Great Britain they were only to think of securing new advantages for themselves, and not to value sufficiently those advantages they already enjoy, and were not ever to remember because this country had given much it had for that very reason much to take away.
Let me further say on this subject that it is a delusion to suppose, as hon. Gentlemen opposite are always supposing, that a policy of retaliation would mean substantial commercial advantages for this country. To go about imagining that there is a sort of rich unconquered field of benefit to be acquired by the use of retaliatory provisions is only another of those inexhaustible delusions with new varieties of which we are always being confronted. The reason is a very simple and easily apprehended one, and one which I think will appeal to the Protectionist mind. The object of foreign protection is to protect, and no foreign country will yield up an effective and unrestricted entry into its home market and into the area of its home trade for any operation which another country, whether Free Trade or protection, may attempt upon its export trade, which, after all, is the only part of its trade open to any such attempt. Therefore it is a delusion to suppose that any serious or substantial advantage will be gained by a policy of retaliation. I say further—and I have been quoted in this respect—that the policy of retaliation, unless rigidly restricted to articles not produced in the retaliating country, would inevitably require a general tariff. If, as a matter of regular practice, you are going to adopt a policy of barter by means of Custom duties you would inevitably be led to the erection of a maximum and minimum tariff. For this reason when a tax is put on a trade the disturbance is very often more injurious to the trade than the tax itself. The whole point of retaliatory policy involves frequent alteration in the Customs tariff, and the trades selected as the counters for this negotiation would be exposed to a quadruple uncertainty on every occasion—first there would be the expectation that they would be the subject of the duty when the threat is made; secondly, the imposition of the duty when the duty operates; thirdly, if the retaliation is successful, the expectation of the removal of the duty when it is seen that the threat is effective; and fourthly, 294 the disturbance when the duty is finally removed. No industry could stand that. No industry has ever stood that in any country without being protected actually or virtually by a Protectionist tariff strong enough to secure them all they want before they are employed in this purpose of commercial bargaining.
Let the House mark this. It is only on a basis of what does not matter to the industries affected that the bargaining will proceed, and for that very reason this process of bargaining is almost always wholly ineffectual, because it is necessarily confined within limits which do not matter very much. It is necessarily confined within the narrow margin of the minimum protection necessary to secure the home market and the maximum annoyance after that has been secured which can be inflicted upon the foreign country with whom the negotiations are being conducted. It is unquestionably a fact that if you are unprepared in commercial or any other matters to give away anything that really matters very much to yourself you will not attain anything that very much matters to other people. And so we have in foreign countries the extraordinary spectacle when protectionist treaties are negotiated of the laborious erection of sham tariffs on each side for the purpose of negotiating sham tariffs, which are put up only for the purpose of being taken down in the shape of reciprocal sham concessions between two parties, and all the time this country, not interfering in this business, and not devoting itself to this farcical game, is protected securely by the operation of the most-favoured-nation clause against the advantages of every tariff country without contributing to the cost and vexation of the struggle, and shares in the benefits of every nation without sharing their exertions or running their risks. I know hon. Gentlemen opposite have not a high opinion of the most-favoured-nation clause, but there are very few things in this country which they have a high opinion of. Their pessimism knows no limit. Our credit is ruined absolutely, our industries are prostrate, our Navy no more—all passed away—and so the most favoured nation clause, the foundation of our commercial policy, comes in for their uncomplimentary and baleful criticism in common with all the institutions on which the strength and force of the British nation depend. The hon. Gentleman opposite spoke just now of the effect of the German and Austro-Hungarian tariff negotiations, 1903 295 to 1906. I have had a calculation made at the Board of Trade, the details of which I shall be very ready to publish to the House in the regular method, on the subject of these treaties. We took the old scale of duties before the process of negotiation began and the new scale of duties which existed at the conclusion of it, and compared the duties which existed at the beginning with the duties which existed at the end, and we applied those duties, by a most elaborate calculation most fully worked out, to the imports into Germany and the negotiating countries before and after and into Great Britain respectively. The imports into Germany of the five, six, or seven countries with which they negotiated showed reductions of 14 per cent, on their trade, increases on 32 per cent., and unaltered conditions on 54 per cent. Now the same test as applied to this country in the same period will show that with regard to England the reductions were 19 per cent., whereas the increases were only 21 per cent, and the unaltered conditions were 60 per cent. That is not a matter of theory but of ascertained facts. We in this country obtained as good, if not better, terms of entry into the great protected markets of the world than by any devise the protected countries were able to do.
I take, again, Austria-Hungary as another centre of the group. In that case the group obtained reductions of 7 per cent., while Great Britain obtained reductions of 23 per cent, on the same tariff. The group had increases of 26 per cent, and Great Britain also 26 per cent. The group had untouched 67 per cent, and Great Britain 51 per cent. The conclusion is that a clear balance of advantage rests with this country. That can be proved and demonstrated. The advantage rests with this country as compared with countries which go through all the elaborate processes of creating artificial tariffs and then removing those tariffs in favour of mutual concessions.
I said just now that a general tariff was necessary for a policy of retaliation. It is not necessary for an occasional Act. You can retaliate to-morrow—that is, if you prove your case, and think it worth while. Proof, after all, is a formality that you cannot dispense with. When a case exists in which you would not hurt yourself more than other people there is nothing to prevent any Government—this, or the last, or the next—from retaliating if they please and if they choose. Why, Sir, the question 296 whether you should use the Wine Duties for commercial advantages can only be decided on some definite and specific case before the House of Commons. Nothing in the teaching and utterances of the great Free Traders, nothing in the doctrines of Free Trade, would prevent us from acting if a case were made out, and it would be a very great mistake if people went about endeavouring to deprive this country of any advantage which it might gain from the possession of powers which certainly would be considerable in these respects. I hope the House will not accuse me of making verbal distinctions, if I were to say that there is a great deal of difference between the policy of retaliation and the occasional act, and for this reason. At present we only face Protectionist tariffs; we do not face retaliatory and combative tariffs. Duties put on against this country are only put on with a view of domestic protection, and not with a view of bargaining at all. If this country were to adopt a policy of retaliation, such as proposed by the Leader of the Opposition, you would never have an honest protective tariff, but always one of those hypothetical tarif de combat erected against you, and it is the conclusion of all sound experts you would find yourself no further advanced than at the present moment. It is actually true, I venture to submit, if we are to discuss the theories and principles on which the commercial policy of this country is founded, to say that in this matter, as in many other grave matters of commercial policy, this country, pursuing a Free Trade system, is no less free, but actually more free, and not less powerful, but actually more powerful, than foreign countries who have adopted the whole apparatus of the protectionist character. There is one other aspect which I will venture to call the freedom of Free Trade, which, on such a debate as this, we ought not to overlook. We are often asked what are you to do if a great German or American Trust corners the British market. Again I say if the case were made out clearly for the evil, and for a remedy, no Government in this country would hesitate to propose, and no House of Commons would hesitate to enact measures necessary to deal with such an attack. No such case has ever been made out; no such instance has ever been produced. But, if it were done, do not let it be assumed that a Free Trade Government is unable to cope with such matter. On the contrary, a Protectionist Government, the servile creature of the great financial interests which it 297 brought into being, might indeed be powerless to deal with the operations of this cosmopolitan finance, but a Free Trade Government, which would owe no such allegiance, would in this respect enjoy greater superiority of freedom and power, and would be able to intervene with irresistible force and decisive effect. I am not willing, in any circumstances, to attempt to narrow the broad commercial policy of this country. That policy was not made by pedants or doctrinaires, but by a practical people deeply versed in trade, and by men of business who were also men of affairs—great traders, who were also great thinkers. And that policy inspired
§ throughout by broad-minded, far-seeing enlightened men has secured to us advantage in a practical measure beyond those obtained by any other nation, and freedom and power more pre-eminent than that secured by any Protectionist nation. For these reasons we should welcome the opportunity the Amendment of my hon. Friend affords of making another broad affirmation of one of the major truths upon which the Free Trade policy of this country and of this Government is erected.
§ Question put: "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."
§ The House divided. Ayes, 70; Noes, 227.299
|Division No. 43.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Acland-Hood, Rt. Hon. Sir Alex. F.||Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan)||Morrison-Bell, Captain|
|Ashley, W. W.||Faber, Capt. W. V. (Hants, W.)||Newdegate, F. N.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Fell, Arthur||Oddy, John James|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Fletcher, J. S.||Parkes, Ebenezer|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Peel, Hon. W. R. W.|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gordon, J.||Percy, Earl|
|Baring, Capt. Hon. G. (Winchester)||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Barrie, H. T. (Londonderry, N.)||Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)||Remnant, James Farquharson|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Guinness, W. E. (Bury St. Edmunds)||Renwick, George|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Hamilton, Marquess of||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Bignold, Sir Arthur||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Ropner, Colonel Sir Robert|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Rutherford, W. W. (Liverpool)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Hermon-Hodge, Sir Robert||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Campbell, Rt. Hon. J. H. M.||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Houston, Robert Paterson||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier, Beville|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.)||Keswick, William||Starkey, John R.|
|Clark, George Smith||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Clive, Percy Archer||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Thomson, W. Mitchell (Lanark)|
|Coates, Major E. F. (Lewisham)||Lonsdale, John Brownlee||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Corbett, T. L. (Down, North)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Wilson, A. Stanley (York, E.R.)|
|Craig, Charles Curtis (Antrim, S.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Meysey-Thompson, E. C.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES—Viscount Valentia and Mr. H. W. Forster.|
|Dalrymple, Viscount||Moore, William|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Ferens, T. R.|
|Agnew, George William||Clough, William||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Flynn, James Christopher|
|Allen, Charles P. (Stroud)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (S. Pancras, W.)||Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter|
|Armitage, R.||Cooper, G. J.||Freeman-Thomas, Freeman|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Fuller, John Michael F.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Furness, Sir Christopher|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cowan, W. H.||Gibb, James (Harrow)|
|Barker, Sir John||Cox, Harold||Gill, A. H.|
|Barlow, Percy (Bedford)||Craig, Herbert J. (Tynemouth)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Crean, Eugene||Glen-Coats, Sir T. (Renfrew, W.)|
|Beale, W. P.||Crooks, William||Glendlnning, R. G.|
|Beck, A. Cecil||Crossley, William J.||Glover, Thomas|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Dalziel, sir James Henry||Gooch, George Peabody (Bath)|
|Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Davies, Ellis William (Eiffon)||Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)|
|Bennett, E. N.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Greenwood, Hamar (York)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Dewar, Sir J. A. (Inverness-sh.)||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Bright, J. A.||Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles||Gulland, John W.|
|Brocklehurst, W. B.||Dobson, Thomas W.||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Brodie, H. C.||Duckworth, Sir James||Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B|
|Brooke, Stopford||Duncan, C. (Barrow-In-Furness)||Hail, Frederick|
|Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh)||Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Buchanan, Rt. Hon. Thomas R.||Edwards, Enoch (Hanley)||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-sh.)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Elibank, Master of||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Esslemont, George Birnie||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight||Evans, Sir Samuel T.||Hazel, Dr. A. E. W.|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick||Everett, R. Lacey||Healy, Timothy Michael|
|Channing, Sir Francis Allston||Falconer, J.||Hedges, A. Paget|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Fenwick, Charles||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Meehan, Patrick A. (Queen's Co.)||Shackleton, David James|
|Higham, John Sharp||Micklem, Nathaniel||Shaw, Sir Charles E. (Stafford)|
|Hobart, Sir Robert||Middlebrook, William||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||Molteno, Percy Alport||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Hooper, A. G.||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Simon, John Allsebrook|
|Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Soares, Ernest J.|
|Horniman, Emslie John||Muldoon, John||Steadman, W. C.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Murnaghan, George||Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)|
|Hudson, Walter||Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.)||Straus, B. S. (Mile End)|
|Hutton, Alfred Eddison||Myer, Horatio||Summerbell, T.|
|Hyde, Clarendon G.||Nicholls, George||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Nussey, Thomas Williams||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Jardine, Sir J.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, Abel (Carmarthen, E.)|
|Jenkins, J.||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Jones, Leif (Appleby)||O' Doherty, Philip||Tomkinson, James|
|Jowett, F. W.||O'Dowd, John||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Parker, James (Halifax)||Ure, Alexander|
|Kilbride, Denis||Paulton, James Mellor||Verney, F. W.|
|King, Alfred John (Knutsford)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Vivian, Henry|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)||Wadsworth. J.|
|Lambert, George||Pirie, Duncan V.||Walsh, Stephen|
|Lamont, Norman||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Walton, Joseph|
|Layland-Barrett, Sir Francis||Priestley, Arthur (Grantham)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Radford, G. H||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Rainy, A. Rolland||Waring, Walter|
|Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Raphael, Herbert H.||Warnor, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Rea, Russell (Gloucester)||Wasori, John Cathcart (Orkney)|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Reddy, M.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Lynch, H. B.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Richardson, A.||Whitley, John Henry (Halitax)|
|Maclean, Donald||Ridsdale, E. A.||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Wiles, Thomas|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)||Williamson, A.|
|Macveagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Robinson, S.||Wills, Arthur Walters|
|MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)|
|M'Callam, John M.||Roche, John (Galway, East)||Wilson, J. H. (Middlesbrough)|
|M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|M'Micking, Major G.||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Mallet, Charles E.||Rose, Charles Day||Wodehouse, Lord|
|Markham, Arthur Basil||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Marks, G. Croydon (Launceston)||Schwann, C. Duncan (Hyde)|
|Marnham, F. J.||Seaverns, J. H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Masterman, C. F. G.||Seddon, J.|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Seely, Colonel|
Main Question, as amended, put, and agreed to.
§ Proposed words there added.
§ Resolved, "That this House, without seeking to limit by any declaration its entire freedom in fiscal matters, is of opinion that Great Britain has secured, without recourse for many years to a policy of retaliation, terms of entry into the markets of protectionist countries at least as good as those obtained by any protectionist State."