§ Captain TRYON
I beg to move, at the end of the Question, to add the words, "But this House humbly expresses its regret that Your Majesty's Government refuses to modify the fiscal system of the country by a reform of our tariff which would
I am deeply conscious, as is, I suppose, every Member of this House, of the enormous importance to the country of the two great issues which have just been debated in this House—the Welsh Church and Home Rule. But there is one issue which can never be set aside, and that is the task of providing, year by year, for the financial needs of the nation. I may illustrate my meaning by pointing out that although the Liberal party were able to set aside Home Rule for a whole Parliament without making Ireland ungovernable, the question of the Budget must be faced year by year. We find that the Prime Minister has told us that, under our present system, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is; nearly at the end of his financial resource. 673 I believe that finance is likely to be a concern of growing anxiety for both parties, and, if the Unionist party should be returned to office, it would be a great advantage to it in the difficult times before us, to be armed with a valuable source of additional revenue which no other great nation neglects. I understand that there are, among our opponents, some who say that you cannot shut goods our, and also get revenue when they come in. An authority who, at that time, was well known throughout the country by the name of Mr. Ure, has told us that, if you put a duty on manufactured goods coining into this country:—
- (1) adopt Imperial Preference, in so far as it can be carried out without imposing fresh duties upon imported food-stuffs, by admitting imports from the British Dominions at lower rates of duty than those levied on imports from foreign countries; and
- (2) impose a moderate duty, not exceeding an average of 10 per cent, ad valorem, on foreign manufactured goods in order (a) to safeguard the stability of British productive industries against the attacks of arti-
672 ficially stimulated foreign competition, and (b) to increase the national revenue and so make funds available for the assistance of agriculture and purposes of social re form."one half will be shut out and we would make the goods ourselves, and the other half would cone in and we should get revenue from them.I do not commit myself necessarily to the accuracy of that statement. But at the same time, I would point out that if goods are made here, instead of abroad, we should add to our revenue the tax-paying capacities of the works which would be put up in this country.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer some years ago made a speech in London, and described it as a non-party speech. I think perhaps the House will remember which speech I mean when I say it was the speech in which he denounced golf and motoring before motoring down to play golf. He told us—and I may explain I was in a rather responsible position, because the Chancellor of the Exchequer was living in my Constituency at the time I was elected, and, naturally, I had to try and ascertain his views—he told us that the presence of a vast amount of remedial poverty is common ground to both parties. We all agree upon that. He then discussed the problem of Tariff Reform in terms which were much fairer than the way in which the case is generally dealt with, and, after dismissing Tariff Reform, he said:—Let me give you the other side of the picture—Form IV.I will not discuss Form IV., but I may state this, that we have had three years or more of the People's Budget, and we are still getting harrowing and, I believe, Accurate accounts from the right hon. Gentleman of the condition of the working classes. I think those accounts are, in themselves, an admission that his remedy has failed, and that, under Free Trade things are going on in this country which are not right. I need hardly remind any Member of this House that nobody ought to speak on the question of unemployment 674 without also calling attention to the enormous amount of emigration from this country. We find that the Liberal party now are so far despairing of their own remedies that they tell us they have got to go into the country to find a new policy with which to "catch votes." I do not know whether "catching votes" is exactly the right way of putting it. I suppose the Chancellor of the Exchequer would word it much better. He probably would say he was going to gild the mountain tops with hope.
The Prime Minister within the last twelve months—and I am going to confine myself as far as possible to points which have arisen recently—has, through the mouth of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, definitely committed his party to the principle of the minimum wage. The minimum wage when advocated by the Liberal party is, firstly, an admission by that party that Free Trade had failed to provide adequate remuneration for the workers, and it is obviously also an admission that the remedy lies in a highly Protectionist expedient. We find the "Daily News" admitting that, in this so-called year of prosperity:—the reward of labour has not increased with the advancing cost of living.In other words, a man who was employed a few years ago and who is employed to-day is worse off now than he was a few years ago. This is a double question—a question of wages and a question of the prices of commodities—and I believe that, with regard to the question of the price of commodities, we ought to call attention to the way in which the Government have decided to encourage agriculture—by agriculture, of course, I mean agriculture in East Africa, where apparently the way to develop agriculture is to lighten the burden of finance, and I cannot help thinking that the application of the same methods to agriculture in this country would not be without its benefits. It is also interesting to know that the Liberal Government, in legislating and working for what is described by them as Free Trade Lancashire, think it is an excellent thing to grow its additional supplies of raw cotton, not anywhere, but within the British Empire. I think that is a principle which might be extended. This question of real wages is, as I have said, a double one—it is a question of wages and a question of prices. I should like most respectfully to call the attention of the House to what the Government is doing at the present moment with regard 675 to sugar. In the case of sugar there is a duty of 1s. 10d. a hundredweight on sugar coming into this country, but there is no duty on sugar manufactured here. As result a thing which is causing horror to the Cobden Club has occurred, a new industry is springing up. So serious is the situation that the Liberal Press has offered a most dignified protest. The "Manchester Guardian'' said:—It is highly objectionable in principle to permit the beet sugar industry to establish itself in England under the artificial shelter of an Import Duty,They then proceed to demand that the Sugar Duty should be abolished, but, if it cannot be abolished, then they say we ought to have an Excise Duty upon home-produced sugar, so as to stop this industry from springing up. That is a very interesting situation. Here we have the party who could not bear the idea of food taxes demanding additional food taxes in order to stamp out an industry. Of course, I know that hon. Members opposite are in a difficult position with regard to food taxes. There is nothing so picturesque at elections as a Liberal candidate standing up and saying he would never be a party to taxing the food of the people. They have been doing that for about thirty years. I realise that if they do not vote steadily to keep these taxes on they could not at subsequent elections keep promising to take them off. I should have hoped that the hon. Member for Leicester (Mr. Ramsay Macdonald), who I regret not to see in his place, might have supported this Amendment, seeing that it is, in fact, a lowering of the duties upon food. I should have thought if the hon. Member had ascertained that a sufficient number of the Irish Nationalists were present to ensure his being defeated, he might perhaps have voted with us. With regard to the question of sugar, it seems to me that in this case you are affecting the problem of real wages favourably by what I call a small working-model of Tariff Reform, because you are creating in the neighbourhood of Norwich an additional demand for labour, but in the case of prices you are also affecting them in a way favourable to the working classes, because by developing a larger supply of sugar in this country you are putting us in a better position for purchasing additional supplies from overseas cheaply. That is not the only example; we have the case of cocoa. There is a number of eminent Liberals who were discovered enjoying the benefit of Protection, and the Cocoa Duties have been 676 altered so as to bring them more into accord with the great principles of Free Trade. What is the result? A reduced demand for labour in this country, affecting wages adversely. I have got the proportion of the imports of cocoa, and I find that since the duty has been readjusted so as to be in accord with Free Trade principles a larger proportion of manufactured cocoa comes into this country and a smaller proportion of unmanufactured cocoa. Therefore, just as sugar is a little-working model of Tariff Reform because-it gives more employment, in the other case a return to Free Trade principles in regard to cocoa is reducing the demand for cocoa here.
If these are small cases we have larger ones. There is the case of Canada, where, as everybody knows, there are Import Duties on manufactured goods going into Canada. As a result we find that an American, speaking on this subject, declares that they are moving their works over into Canada because under existing circumstances—that is, of course, the tariff—they have to go into Canada to enjoy the market there. I need hardly point out that no one need put up works in this country to enjoy our market. At all events, in this case, also, the putting up of American works in Canada is adding: to the demand for Canadian labour. The American who moved his works into Canada said:—Under the conditions that exist there the American firms must remove in parts to those countries that they desire to reach.However, when we suggest these remedies the Prime Minister asks, if we are to adopt the proposals contained in the Amendment, "What compensation are you going to offer to British trade as a whole for the enormous stimulus to our own industry, enterprise and invention which is supplied by the keen competition of outsiders?" What would be the "enormous stimulus" in the case of sugar? It would have meant that the great foreign firms on the Continent would have done their best to undersell that young industry for a time, knock it out, and then put the prices up against it. That, I suppose, would have been a stimulus. It reminds me very much of the speeches made by the Home Secretary, who appears to regard Disendowent as a stimulus to the Welsh Church. I find that in the case of a very well-known leader of the Liberal Party—Lord Murray of Elibank—that he has been making a contract in Ecuador. I do not know whether it has been confirmed or not. I 677 mainly put it forward as illustrating the deep-seated conviction in the justice of Free Trade which animates the Liberal party. He tried to make a contract in Ecuador, giving him the right to develop Ecuador in sections without competition. I think that is a remarkable example. I do not quite know what Lord Murray of Elibank would think of the Prime Minister's question about a stimulus, but apparently so far as Ecuador is concerned Lord Murray of Elibank is prepared to risk it and go on with his enterprise without the stimulus. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General has spoken in this House in many successive Debates with great power, but we have only in the last few months had the immense privilege of knowing what he really thinks about Tariff Reform. We have often heard him denounce it in this House, but the other day he went to Birmingham, and he announced that the original policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) was a consistent whole, that it would have raised a substantial revenue, and that it would have conferred on our Colonies a preference of some value. I must say, with all respect, that it would have been better if the right hon. and learned Gentleman had announced his sincere convictions a little earlier in the discussion. I believe he has been going about the country this autumn holding a series of funerals over Tariff Reform. I do not know how often Tariff Reform has been killed. I saw in the paper yesterday a copy of a piece of news printed in a newspaper a hundred years ago, in which it was announced, to the delight of the people of this country, that the Emperor Napoleon had been defeated and killed again. That has something in common with the cause of Tariff Reform. There are, however, more serious sides to this question. The right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies announced to an admiring audience not very long ago that at the last—Colonial Conference preference was never mentioned.He added what I think is a very excellent explanation—I happened to be chairman.I cannot help feeling that if a Member of the Unionist party had been the chairman it would have been mentioned. What is this contention about? You have declared that what the Colonies put forward is a political imposture. The First Lord 678 of the Admiralty boasts that he has banged the door in the face, of the Colonies, and, after you have treated the Dominions like that, you announce that at the next Conference the subject was not brought up. Was it likely to be brought up? I think the right hon. Gentleman would have been fairer to his audience if he had admitted at the same time that at the very time he mentions—1911–Sir Wilfrid Laurier, at the National Liberal Club, where there have been so many luncheons and dinners, speaking of the people of Canada and of this country, said:—They want to sell to them in preference to other nations, and they want to buy from them in preference to other nations.So that at the time that the right hon. Gentleman was suggesting to his audience that the Colonies did not want any sort of preference, the Prime Minister of Canada was declaring at the National Liberal Club exactly the opposite. We have had an occurrence comparatively recently in the United States—the party of the high tariff has been defeated, and the party of the low tariff has been returned. I see that the "Daily Chronicle" announces that the new tariff averages about 26 per cent, on the articles protected—that is to say, more than twice as high as the tariff suggested in this Amendment. How does the "Daily Chronicle" announce it? They announce it as "Free Trade Day in the United States." I cannot help thinking that Free Trade Day in the United States is a very near relative of "Joy Day" in England. At all events we find, carrying on this pretence that a 26 per cent, duty is Free Trade, that we have resolutions put forward at various Liberal meetings welcoming the coming conversion of the United States to Free Trade. It is the kind of resolution that is put forward by the League of Little Liberals, or whatever the institution is called. What are the actual facts? That the Liberal party has been expecting the conversion of other nations to Free Trade for upwards of sixty years. One party in the United States is in favour of high tariffs and the other party is in favour of low tariffs. The leader of the party of low tariffs is President Wilson, and he announced, in a statement I copied from the "Spectator," thatNo thoughtful democrat advocates Free Trade for the United States.In these circumstances, I feel that the celebrations of the Liberal party of the approaching conversion of the United States 679 to Free Trade are rather likely to enjoy an element of permanence which is so often lacking in human happiness. There is one other point which ought to be brought forward, that is with regard to Australia. When the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies instituted an inquiry into the resources of the Empire one subject was barred—the fiscal question—but apparently the editing of the Report was not sufficiently careful, for we find the Commissioners recently reported that:—Throughout Australasia we were impressed by the desire of all classes to deal with the British Empire rather than with foreign nations. Not only is a preference given in the matter of tariff, but there is a clear and distinct preference on grounds of sentiment and of practice.I feel that the policy that we are putting forward would make a valuable addition to our sources of revenue—it would enable us to reduce the burdens on agriculture, and it would encourage manufacturing production in these islands by putting the working classes, for the first time for nearly two generations, on even terms with their competitors in other nations. And when we find a Liberal Government developing, by State aid, cotton growing in East Africa, we feel that social reform and Imperialism are not antagonistic. We feel, when they do that, that they are building social reform in this country on firmer foundations. We believe these two policies, social reform and Imperialism, should go forward hand in hand, and that the time has come when we should cooperate with our great Dominions in the deliberate development of the great territories of the Crown.
§ Mr. CROFT
In seconding the Amendment, I desire to address myself entirely to business arguments. I think it will be generally admitted that the Free Trade party has hitherto entirely based its case on two main arguments. First of all, they have stated that under free imports this country remains in a supreme position, and that owing to that system we are practically unassailable; and, secondly, that if we were to adopt the policy of tariffs, which is enjoyed by every other civilised country in the world, we should restrict our imports, and therefore restrict our exports, which go to pay for our imports, and thereby harmfully affect our internal trade. With regard to the first point, as to the supremacy of this nation under Free Trade in the world's markets, I maintain that we are no longer supreme, that 680 we are no longer even ahead to any appreciable degree in foreign trade, and that in total production we are absolutely beaten by our principal protected rivals. In support of this I will merely mention that thirty years ago we were absolutely the supreme—we were a long way first in the race—but to-day we are running a neck-and-neck race with our two greatest protected rivals for the first place. The President of the Board of Trade last Session gave me figures showing that our exports during the previous year were actually beaten by the United States, and that Germany was very near behind us. It is admitted by the Attorney-General that we cannot for all time hope to keep ahead of our two principal protected rivals because their population is so great, and he says the only real test is the test of exports per head of population. I have taken the trouble to inquire into the actual facts with regard to exports per head of popution, and I should like to give the leading countries. Holland, I find, heads the list with £34 10s., Belgium comes next with £18 2s., New Zealand £17 15s., Australia £15 2s., Switzerland £12 16s., and then comes the United Kingdom with £9 9s. I think that proves pretty conclusively that if you are going to take that test, at least it has helped protected countries to a greater extent than it has helped this country. Incidentally I might mention, now that this has become a test of prosperity, that Ireland far surpasses Great Britain in this respect, because she has an export trade per head of population of £12 16s., which, if this is a test of prosperity, is a very good reason for leaving her alone under the Union. But if this is the real test, we have to expect in the near future that the President of the Board of Trade will confess that we have-been beaten by Russia, owing to the population of that country, I suppose; and within a few more years time, we shall have to admit defeat at the hands of the Chinese, owing to the fact that they have a greater population than this country.
But what is of far more importance than foreign trade is the internal trade of our country, and I think, from the business point of view, I can put a case before hon. Members opposite which will even satisfy the hon. Gentleman (Sir A. Mond) to prove how very much more serious is our position in this connection. I think it will be generally admitted that, coal consumption is a very good test of industrial activity, and I find in the last completed year for 681 which returns are to be found, that Germany consumed thirty-two million more tons of coal than this country, and the United States, three hundred million tons more. If we go on from coal to the production of pig-iron, we find that Germany in 1912 produced twice as much as this country, and the United States nearly three times as much, and if you take the consumption of pig-iron, Germany consumes twice as much, and the United States three times as much. If you take crude steel, Germany produces two and a half times as much, and the United States five times as much as this country; and if I might be permitted even to mention the word "cotton," the United States now consumes two hundred and ten million more bales of raw cotton than are consumed in the great industry of this country under Free Trade. Therefore, I think it can be accepted that in foreign trade and in internal trade combined, we are defeated by our principal protected rivals.
Then I come to the second point, with regard to the suggestion that tariffs restrict trade. In exports and in imports our protected rivals are increasing their trade more rapidly than we are in this country, and if I might take the most important test, I will take manufactured exports for the last thirty years, and we find that we in this country have not doubled our export or manfactures within something like thirty years, but Germany has multiplied hers by three times, and the United States by seven times, which, I think, proves pretty conclusively, that as far as foreign trade, exports of manufactured goods are concerned, we are not holding our own, and far from restricting trade our protected rivals have gone ahead very much more rapidly than we have. If I might take the same test with regard to the increase of internal trade, the facts are still more remarkable. In coal consumed, taking the period commencing with the average for the five years from 1880–85 up to the last completed year, 1912, we find that Germany has increased twice as quickly as ourselves, and the United States eight times as much. In pig-iron production, Germany has increased nine times as rapidly as ourselves, and the United States thirteen times as rapidly. In the consumption of pig-iron, Germany's increase is six times, and the United States twelve times as great as ourselves. In crude steel Germany's increase is three and a half times as great, and the United States six and a half times as great, and 682 in the consumption of raw cotton, the Continent has increased three times, and the United States two and a half times as rapidly as this country. I maintain that these are facts which we cannot get away from and that if there is any fairness in the test of exports per head of population as the test of a country's prosperity, I ask the Attorney-General whether it is not an equally fair test to take production per head of population in a comparison of this kind, if you are going to decide the merits of the respective systems. If that test is taken, I think the Attorney-General will discover, if I may use an Americanism, that we have been beaten to a frazzle by our principal protected rivals in these great index trades. I am not satisfied, and I think none of my friends are satisfied, with the present condition of the trade of this country compared with other countries under the circumstances.
Our opponents tell us that we are having a boom in world trade, as if this country, and their own particular efforts, were responsible for this boom. I would remind them that we got the results of that world boom last, after the great protected nations, and, in addition to that, we have not shared in that boom to so great an extent as Germany, and the United States of America. But, apart from that, dare anyone, in any quarter of the House, say that the conditions of the working classes in this country at present are satisfactory even under the world boom of trade? What are the actual facts? Last year, at a moderate estimate, half a million were permanently out of employment, a million people in our country were in receipt of relief, in this, the boom-time of trade, and the Labour Exchanges last year, as we were informed to-day, had no fewer than 2,973,000 applications for work. Perhaps hon. Members may suggest that one or two of these applicants went two or three times to the Labour Exchanges, and, though I did not ask the question, the President of the Board of Trade informed me that there were 1,800,000 individual applications at Labour Exchanges during this last year on the crest of the world-boom. Simultaneously in the same year our emigration reached the record figure of 302,000, all of whom went to protected countries to improve their condition, and simultaneously we find that there was greater industrial unrest last year and the year before than has ever been known in this country. If I might summarise the effect of the sunshine that the Chancellor 683 of the Exchequer and his colleagues have brought into the cottage homes of this country, one in every twenty-five of our inhabitants have been forced to emigrate to other countries since 1906, when the Government came into power. Our answer to this is that Tariff Reformers are deliberately out for higher wages. We are not satisfied with the condition of this country, and we say that all the policies of the party opposite put together cannot do so much as a reasonable scientific tariff can for the creation of labour in this country.
Consider for a moment how the Chancellor of the Exchequer tried to solve this question. I am a business man—I have managed a business from the age of twenty up to the present time. I am beginning to understand what is meant when the Chancellor of the Exchequer says "the State will pay for these various reforms." I find that every single one of these so-called "reforms" has meant an enormously increased burden upon the industries of this country. I need only mention two instances. The settlement of the railway strike, by which the Government gave a pledge permitting an increased charge for freights, has been a serious blow to all our traders in this country. Again I think it will now be admitted that the Insurance Act was no advantage to the employers of this country. It has become a weekly tax upon the industries of the country. Like trade union legislation, excellent in its way, it is all increasing the cost of production, with the result that our competition is becoming more severe, the margin of profit is lessened, and the real wages of the workers are going back in spite of the fact that world civilisation and world prosperity are going forward. I do not believe all these palliatives are getting anywhere near the root cause of the social trouble in this country. A £1,000,000 worth of wages is worth £10,000,000 worth of palliatives. I put it to the House which is the best policy? It would be better to find an additional £1,000,000 a year wages for the workers rather than have to pay out £1,000,000 per year for the amusing policy of taxing dukes in order to provide money from land taxation.
Our opponents tell us that we cannot provide wages and at the same time provide the revenue under our tariff scheme, but we cannot have it both ways. I say we can have it both ways. We have been 684 told by eminent free traders that under the Tariff Reform system, with a 10 per cent, tariff, something like one-half of the manufactured goods which at present come from abroad would be excluded. The total at present is £160,000,000 of foreign manufactured goods coming into this country, and according to eminent free traders, we shall only exclude £80,000,000. That is not my figure. I am taking the worst case that can be made against us. That would mean £8,000,000 of revenue on manufactured goods alone, apart from the duties on luxuries, such as diamonds and pearls, and the other £80,000,000 of goods which are now imported would be manufactured in this country. If these manufactured goods which come from abroad are going to be kept out, obviously they are going to be manufactured at home. Under that system you are still going to have 10 per cent, for local and Imperial taxation on the production of goods in this country, so that you get £8,000,000 in that way too. I put it to the House that we would raise £16,000,000 in revenue for the relief of local and Imperial taxation, while also keeping out the goods of foreign competitors. That would mean £80,000,000 worth more production in this country than before. I do not think that any free trader will deny that we will get £8,000,000 of revenue on imports. [An HON MEMBERS indicated dissent.] I must give the hon. Member for East Northamptonshire (Mr. Chiozza Money) credit for greater knowledge on this subject than the hon. Member who interrupts me. In the "South Wales News" for 12th December he is reported to have said that it is no answer to the Tariff Reform argument, to say that we cannot get revenue from Protective duties. The hon. Member added that we can easily get £13,000,000. I think that will prove that I have been exceptionally modest in accepting the lower estimate of our opponents in saying that a revenue of £8,000,000 is what we would get. You would manufacture £80,000,000 worth more than you do at present, and £40,000,000 would be spent in wages for the workers in this country. We shall have £40,000,000 more circulating among traders, agriculturists, and all the various industries and professions of this country.
My final point is with regard to labour. I am sorry that there are not more Members of the Labour party present. They do not seem to take a very real interest in this question—at any rate, so great an interest as it would seem to 685 deserve. I would ask the Members of the Labour party how can wages advance? They can only advance if you create greater demands for labour, and make labour more valuable. I venture to think that if more of the manufactured goods which are consumed in this country were manufactured here, you would immediately create these demands. There would be more jobs to apply for, and the value of labour would go up in this country. The point we have to consider is the wages in this country. In the second paragraph of the Amendment mention is made of the fact that we regret that the Government refuses to modify the fiscal system of the country by adopting Imperial preference, in so far as it can be carried out without the imposition of fresh duties on foodstuffs. The Unionist party have postponed its full policy until civil war is averted. We are determined that in this issue of life and death in the sister island there will be no obscuring of the question by the dishonest cry of dear food. I should not have thought it necessary to mention that after the speech made by the Leader of the Unionist party, but the hon. Member for Hanley (Mr. Outhwaite) said that at the next election the test will be "Free Trade and Land Taxes as against Tariff Reform and Food Taxes." I may say that this is a most dishonest argument. If anybody had taken the trouble to say that the Single Tax was no longer an issue, I think the hon. Member for Hanley would have great cause for complaint. I think people have no right to carry that argument any further in the constituencies. What we do ask for is what Mr. Deakin and Dr. Jameson asked for at the last Imperial Conference. We ask an immediate preference on all existing food taxes to be allowed in their favour. We ask that you should establish the same principle for Imperial tea, coffee and sugar as you wisely apply to the beet-sugar industry.
It may be suggested that under the preference you may not be giving a great advantage, but if the advantage be small, it is the great sentiment we want to see established in reciprocating the action of the Dominions Overseas. Let us show that the spirit is willing, and that we desire to deal with the Dominions Overseas as they are dealing with us. We are told from time to time that our policy is a sordid one. Is it sordid to try to create greater industrial activity for the people at home? Is it sordid to encourage 400 millions of 686 subjects to trade together and to develop British trade under our own flag? That is no sordid policy. It is an extraordinary thing that already all the self-governing Dominions have established the sordid policy, and that the present Government have taken good care to see that we should be enslaved in the same sordid bonds with the West Indies as to any advantage they may give to the other Dominions. What is the result? The Dominions have come to us and made a tremendous sacrifice of revenue, the result is that we have seen an enormous expansion of trade with the Dominions in the last two years. We are always told that we may make Germany angry, or that we may upset the Chinaman. Our best customers are the Dominions Overseas. Australia has brought more manufactures from us than the people of Germany. Canada has bought more than France. New Zealand has bought more than Belgium. South Africa has bought more than Russia and Switzerland put together. I venture to think that when we realise these facts, and that even in boom times we should have been having great distress for the reason I have indicated, we shall see that it is time to reciprocate their great gifts and try to do something for the Dominions Overseas.
We should try to create a greater demand for labour at home. We should try to see that all the work is given to our own workers in this country which they can properly undertake. We should try to give to our own kith and kin who are emigrating from this country the advantages which we are giving to foreigners who are competing with us. We should trade with those who build "Dreadnoughts" for us, in preference to those, who build "Dreadnoughts" against us. That is no sordid policy. No one can deny that they are patriotic principles. If they are patriotic, then I say that distortion and abuse should not be cast against our policy. Is it not time that these questions should be considered as greater than party, and that those who really love their country should show their love of it by organising trade in the way other countries have done.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Croft) ended his very interesting speech by referring to Imperial matters. I wonder that the hon. Gentleman did not attempt to show some kind of logical nexus between what he was telling us and the Amendment on the Paper, and not only with the Amendment on the 687 Paper, but with what I may call the latest official edition of the policy of Tariff Reform which was issued forth by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition at Edinburgh. I take it that the hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved the Amendment endeavoured to give Parliamentary form and substance to the Edinburgh policy. I well remember another occasion on which the hon. and gallant Gentleman and myself met in debate some years ago. We failed, I think, to convince each other then, but, at any rate, if the hon. and gallant Gentleman failed to convince me as to the policy of Tariff Reform, he convinced me then both of his ability and sincerity. But many things have happened since then. They were days of the full-blooded policy of Tariff Reform, which was reflected in both of the interesting speeches to which we have listened. What has become of that policy? I think the hon. Gentlemen forgot that they were speaking to the Amendment. They thought they were speaking of the other policy, which told us quite plainly that if you want to give a preference to the Colonies you will have to put a tax on food. They forgot to read carefully the Edinburgh speech. Let me remind the hon. and gallant Gentleman of a point which he failed to put into his Amendment—indeed, I hardly see how he could have put it in. The Leader of the Opposition not only told us that we should give to the Dominions of the Crown in our market a preference, possibly by the imposition of now duties on food, but he made a promise to British working men. He said:—If we are returned to power we shall impose no new duties upon file fond of the people, but, on the contrary, we hope to take off some of the food duties.So the right hon. Gentleman was doing this remarkable thing. He was at one and the same time promising the Colonies a preference upon existing food duties, while promising the British workman that he would destroy those food duties. What, then, is to become of the preference? The hon. Gentleman, in the peroration of the speech to which we have just listened, referred to an Empire cemented together. Cemented by what? Cemented by a slight differential duty in favour of the Colonies upon sugar, tea, coffee, and cocoa. That is to cement the Empire, to bind the Colonies closer to us. But he forgot that his own leader has promised the British workmen to cancel the very duties by which he proposes to cement the 688 Empire. When you come to look at these duties on sugar, tea, coffee, and cocoa—the cup that cheers his Majesty's Government, which sometimes, if I may say so, inebriates his Majesty's Opposition—we find in relation to the only one of those articles which can justly, in the proper sense of the word, be called a food—that is sugar—that the importation from the Colonies is quite negligible. So that even, if the operation of cancelling this duty on behalf of the working man were not performed according to promise, the amount of cement that would be left for Imperial purposes would be exceedingly small. I hope that the hon. and gallant Gentleman opposite will not think that I am neglecting his speech any more than that of the hon. Gentleman who has just spoken, for I am endeavouring to follow the Amendment, and I hope to be able to reply to their speeches in great part in passing; but the hon. and gallant Gentleman mentioned sugar, and he noticed the American tariff.
The Americans, after a long experience; of duties, propose to cancel the sugar duty within three years of this time. In three years America will enjoy Free Trade in sugar. So one may well hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition will emulate the Americans. I rather wondered in view of that fact, that the hon. Gentleman should mention, sugar to-night. In regard to the existing Revenue duties I deny that they can properly he called Food Duties, save in respect of sugar. As for the Sugar Duty, I may remind the hon. Gentleman that it was reimposed by his party after an interval of about twenty years, and that His Majesty's Government have already cancelled about half of it. Of all these duties it is only with regard to sugar that it is possible to say that it is a food duty in any possible sense of the word. [HON. MEMBERS: "Tea."] No, but I should at once grant that tea is a great comfort, especially to many poor people, and I desire to get rid of the duty upon it, like the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition: but, if I do, I get rid of the Imperial cement at the same time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] Because, if there is no duty on tea you cannot give a preference to India on a duty that does not exist. We hope to take off the duties, but if no duty exists you cannot give a preference, with regard to that duty. Coming to the question of a Customs Union, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I respect his policy most: when he has regard to the Imperial factor, 689 and I fully recognise the sincerity of that argument. But the present Leader of the Opposition in this House in 1902, when he occupied an official position, said:—A Customs Union seemed to be surrounded by difficulties which were utmost insurmountable. The greatest difficulty was that the Colonies could scud us nothing but raw material and food, which was about the last thing that it would be a wise policy to tax.That was the opinion of the Leader of the Opposition as recently as 1902. It is our opinion to-night. I fail to detect in the speeches to which I have listened any argument to make us retreat from that position. There is one other thing which I am perfectly sure cannot be charged properly against the hon. Gentleman opposite. If he had the framing of a customs tariff he would not desert the British farmer. I detect in his Amendment a shadow of the Edinburgh promise to the farmer, that we were to raise revenue by a duty on manufactures, and with that revenue to relieve some of the existing burdens upon agriculture. But does the hon. Gentleman, who reminded us of this new American tariff, realise what that American tariff has done for the American farmer? After all their experience of tariffs, of which we have been reminded by the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down, the United States have given the American fanner Free Trade over a large range of articles. When the right lion. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham introduced his policy that was not the case. Then the American farmer had to pay duties on many things that are now on the free list. He had to pay very high duties on many other things the duties on which have now been reduced very greatly indeed. Therefore, our farmers entering into competition with those of America would, unless we have some clearer light thrown on what is meant by the Opposition at the present time, be placed now in a position inferior to that which is occupied by the American farmer. The Amendment before us speaks of a moderate duty, not exceeding an average of 10 per cent., ad valorem, on foreign manufactured goods, in imitation, I suppose, of the Edinburgh tariff. Could somebody speaking from the Opposition Bench tell the House is that 10 per cent, to cover the articles on the American free list or not? If not, have they no regard for the position of our farmers in competition with the farmers of the United States? It is an exceedingly important point. Agricultural machinery, fencing, wire, leather, harness, saddlery, and many other things 690 that I might name, are now on the American free list, and the farmers can get them, without duty. What, then, is to become of our farmers if they are exposed to competition, reinforced, if I may use the phrase suggested by the hon. Gentleman, stimulated, by a Free Trade policy as it has never been stimulated before? It is quite cleat1 that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition knew very well that the British farmer would be hardly likely to welcome a simultaneous dropping of food duties while the duties on goods were retained as a point in Unionist policy. He was so convinced of that that he said at Edinburgh:—I believe that farmers and agriculturists would be justified in being hostile to that policy if it stood alone, But it does not stand alone. We shall take part of the revenue of that tariff and use it in reducing the burdens of agriculture in order to make sure that the farmer will at least be compensated, and more than compensated, for any additional price which is the result of the tariff he may by any possibility he called upon to pay.As the right hon. Gentleman is not in his place, it is only fair to say that he did not fully admit in that speech that duties would raise the prices, but he evidently thought that the farmer would be only too likely to believe that they would raise prices. Therefore, he used the argument that in a reform of the tariff every protection should be given to help the British farmer. It seems to me that in view of the circumstances of the American tariff, and apart from the objections which still obtain, the British farmer would be very unwise to listen to that proposition. I come to the second part of the hon. Gentleman's Amendment, which speaks of 10 per cent, on manufactured articles in relation to the stability of industry and the raising of revenue to assist agriculture and social reform. First, with regard to the stability of trade. I should be the last to; urge here or anywhere that I believe the industries of this country, or of any other in the world at this time, are as stable as they ought to be, or as I think they might be. But did the hon. Gentleman attempt in his full-blooded tariff speech to establish that the trade of this country was loss stable at this time than that of the United States? He told us, for example, that America produces more iron than this country. Of course it docs, [n this country, forty or fifty or sixty years ago, it was prophesied that it was inevitable that America would become the greatest iron country. In regard to stability of condition, look at the record of unemployment in New York State? It 691 relates to 600,000 trade unionists. Let me warn the House that the figures are not compiled in exactly the same way as are trade union figures in this country. They are not strictly comparable with trade union returns here. At the end of September last, when trade was good and stable here, the unemployment rate was under 2 per cent., reckoned in relation to over a million trade unionists. In New York State the unemployment rate was about ten times as great.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I do not exclude that from consideration, but the hon. Member must recollect that these are trade unionists that I am speaking of. At the same time, immigration does not account for the extraordinary variation in New York State, where trade unemployment may fluctuate between 4 per cent, and 30 per cent. No such extraordinary variation, however the figures are calculated, can be accounted for except on the hypothesis that trade conditions in the United States are much more variable than in this country.
Is it not the ease that about a year ago a report of the trade union leaders in New York said it was because of cheap labour in New York that there was immense unemployment among the, trade unionists themselves—which may account for the figures the hon. Gentleman is now quoting?
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
I have already admitted the validity of that point in a certain degree, but it cannot account for the variation between 4 per cent, and 30 per cent. Taking the very industry to which the hon. Gentleman referred, there is never such a variation in our iron industry as in that of the United States. It is simply extraordinary that one-third or one-half of their furnaces may be thrown out, and one hears of slumps in the iron trade of America, which cannot be accounted for by any immigration into the United States. Surely immigration has not such an immediate effect as to be the cause of these extraordinary slumps. I think the hon. Gentleman will agree that the words of the Amendment that a 10 per cent, duty would safeguard the stability of British productive industries have not been proved by the speeches to which 692 we have listened, and are indeed inconsistent with the known facts. As to our own trade, it is certainly true—and it is a remarkable thing worthy of notice in a wider connection than in the limited sense we are dealing with trade to-night—that-British trade in recent years has become, steadier than ever before. We are not experiencing booms and slumps of the acute character that used to visit us in the sixties, seventies, or eighties. There is every reason to believe that our trade conditions are becoming more stable, and when we reflect, not only that they are becoming more stable, but that we have evidences—I do not attempt to defend the whole of our trade conditions, or to represent them all as being for the best in the best of all possible worlds; I make no such absurd statement—of this increased stability, I think there is certainly ground for satisfaction. If we take our export-trade, we find that since 1890 it has doubled. That is surely very satisfactory indeed! And surely it is satisfactory when we reflect that this exists under conditions of fiercer competition!
In the old days Mr. Gladstone said that our trade was increasing by "leaps and bounds," and, when he coined that expression, we were, indeed, in a position of extraordinary pre-eminence. The resources of America had not been developed—indeed, the resources of this country had not been developed, and we had got it very much all our own way. But the increased stability which we have experienced in recent years has been won under conditions of fierce competition by two great industrial rivals, basing their economy as we base our economy—and we should never forget it—upon coal, and those two great nations have been developing very much as we have developed. We have made this great advance, and secured this stability in spite of that great competition. I come to another very important point to which I call the attention of the Opposition, and which was not dealt with in their speeches. I refer to the American tariff. The hon. and gallant Gentleman denies that the American tariff is a Free Trade tariff. I should be the first to admit that, but surely he cannot deny that it is a great advance towards Free Trade! I have got, the American tariff here, or rather a translation of it. The hon. Member laughs. The translation of the free list of the American tariff in the Board of Trade Blue Book occupies twenty-four pages, and consists of 600 693 articles. My Constituents, at any rate, cannot afford to laugh as did the hon. Gentleman. My particular Constituency lives upon boots. The American tariff gives the American manufacturer something at which my Constituents cannot afford to laugh; it gives them free hides, free leather, and no tax upon boots. That is the present made to the American boot trade at which the hon. Gentleman laughs.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
The American language is not exactly ours. Of course, the coinage has to be translated in the report. I was saying, to take this particular illustration, it is one that goes far. Here we have the American boot manufacturer given free hides and free leather which he had not before. I suppose in the last ten years, I speak from memory, we must have trebled our exports of boots. Should we have trebled them if the United States manufacturers had had the advantage of free hides and free leather? I venture to doubt that we would, and therefore I cannot afford to laugh at the American free list, because I feel it means for my Constituency much fiercer competition in the future than they have had in the past. I am glad to see that the hon. Gentleman agrees, and thereby admits that there is some virtue in Free Trade policy.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
That brings me to an important point. If he takes an estimate of what a 10 per cent, tariff will yield, he must consider this. If he will admit that he intends to tax all the articles that appear in the category of manufactured articles in our export lists and import lists—does he intend to do that, I ask him?—if he will do that, I will grant him that there might be a reduction of 10 or 15 per cent, on imports, and he would get revenue. I understand he said leather is raw material.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
The American, with all his experience of tariff policy, which is longer than that of the hon. Gentleman, and perhaps more practical, has decided that it is a wise thing to take the duty not only off hides, but also off leather.
The American clause is elastic, as ours would be, and 694 would be changeable according to the circumstances of the hour.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
May I ask the hon. and gallant Gentleman to note the form the elasticity has taken? After a long experience of the tax on leather they have decided to take it off. If the hon. Gentleman who seconded will grant that we have got to leave untaxed not only leather and paper and the things of that, kind which are used in manufacture, he will not get the revenue he expects, and, on the other hand, he will have to revise his ideas of what the taxes are to be on other articles because the Amendment, like the Edinburgh programme, speaks of an average of 10 per cent. What is the average ten per cent if you leave untaxed in your tariff all the articles which are untaxed in the American tariff? It means that you have got to raise your duty on the remainder of the articles in the manufactured list to very great heights indeed. That is a very serious consideration, because the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition at Edinburgh promised the farmer compensation, and what kind of compensation I ask is he going to offer to the general consumer? We have had no light on that point to-night. I suppose the hon. Gentleman would say that the general consumer, like the farmer, needs no compensation, because the duty is paid by the foreigner. If he holds to that doctrine, then I feel inclined to quote to him what a profound student of economics uttered at Edinburgh in another speech, not quite so recent as that which I am discussing to-night, but which is not less important, and that is the speech by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London (Mr. Balfour). This is what he said in his Edinburgh speech, and really it covers the whole ground in this regard:—The object of Protection is to encourage home industry. The means by which it attains that object is by the manipulation of the Fiscal System to raise home prices. If the homo prices lire not raised the industry is not encouraged. If the industry is encouraged it is by the raising of prices. That is in a nutshell, Protection properly understood.That is the truth about the matter. So that, if we have a free list like the American, we would have to put much higher duties than 10 per cent, on the remainder in order to get the average of 10 per cent. Then not only have you got to get the farmer very serious compensation, but you have to offer the general consumer very serious compensation also, because, undoubtedly, while you would get revenue 695 which you might use for the purpose of assisting agriculture or for the purpose of social reform, what would you be doing? For every pound that you raised in revenue you would undoubtedly inflict a private tax upon the consumer of several pounds. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] But if the prices are not raised the industry is not encouraged.
§ Mr. CHIOZZA MONEY
The hon. Gentleman throws over the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City, and, with all respect to the hon. Gentleman, I prefer the latter authority. May I come to the imperial note which was struck by the hon. Gentleman. I myself am a Free Trader, not only because of my view of the economy of this country, but because of my view of the economy and interest of the British Empire. So far as the Island is concerned, if I may call the United Kingdom an island, the basic argument remains that we are a very poor country, in that we have only one great physical asset, our coal supply. It is therefore to our obvious advantage to make ourselves what we have been now for two generations, a great free port, where the productions of all the world, the materials of all the world, may be freely bought, and freely dealt in, and freely used as materials. I believe, and I thing I may say for my hon. Friends, we believe, that it is by virtue of that policy that we have been able, in spite of our poverty in other regards, to make such a great advance. I do not claim, and I do not think any Free Trader worth the name, claims, that British wealth is wholly founded on Free Trade. It is founded on our coal supply assisted by Free Trade. I think that is the truth of it. That is the policy so far as the island is concerned. What is the policy so far as the Empire is concerned. I think both the hon. and gallant Gentleman and the seconder himself must here have regard to the fact that if you once set up as between the various parts of the Empire the conception that Protection is Imperial policy, you will create not ties, but you will create causes of severance. You cannot preach surely for an old and developed country like this that Protection is a good policy without teaching your Colonies that they must have Protection against your goods.
696 It is all very well to talk of Preference, but if the tariff wall that remains after-Preference is extended is a high one, and if it is one sufficient to injure your trade, then undoubtedly your high protective effect remains, and you will have done something to keep British goods out of the market. The same is true, not only with regard to the self-governing Dominions, but of India. It is undoubtedly true that the preaching of Tariff Reform in this country has made Protection popular with many thinking people in India. How, then, are you to maintain your Imperial connection there if you actually set up in this country a tariff against foreign manufacturers, while you deny to India, which is a new country in the modern industrial sense, the right to set tip a tariff against her foreign manufacturers? That is a point of the greatest importance, and it seems to me that those who in this House talk of Empire in connection with preference overlook that fact. With regard to food supplies, if you once embrace this policy, as an Imperial policy, you have to reconcile the preaching of Protection to the British farmer with the conception that you are to allow food to come in untaxed from the Colonies. You immediately create a sense of distrust and unfairness as between a body of producers in this country and a body of producers in the distant parts of the Empire. Surely these considerations should give pause to those who, like the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment, see high Imperial sentiment connected with their policy. Fortunately the Free Trader has none of these embarrassments. He, believing that free imports into this country are good for the United Kingdom, does not doubt that free imports into any part of the Empire are good for that part of the Empire. He, therefore, can claim that he is advocating a policy which is not only good for his own country, but in the best interest of the British Empire.
Mr. GEORGE A. LLOYD (Staffordshire, West)
I am sure that the whole House has listened, as it always does, with great interest to the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Chiozza Money) whose honesty, at all events in his statistics, we all admire. I do not propose, on this-occasion, to follow him in the details of his speech, but I would like to remind him in regard to India, that, if he rightly follows what is happening in India, as I have no doubt he does, he will agree with me 697 that India is very likely to set up a protective tariff herself, and if you do not choose to make a reciprocal treaty, or reciprocal arrangements at this period, you will very likely have a high protective tariff without any opportunity of doing so later, unless you are going to be unfair to India and to the local authorities which you set up there under your system of self-government. The same is true in regard to the hon. Member's remarks in reference to preference generally. I understood him to say that in any case if you leave a tariff wall up at all in the Dominions, protanto you are stopping a certain amount of British trade there. But, if the hon. Member looks at the position in Canada or Australia to-day, he surely will not deny that if it were not for the principle of preference you would have had the high wall there still higher, and you would not have had your preference of a lower rate for British goods. You are not going to destroy the principle of Protection in the Dominions by a policy of free imports here. What you are going to do is to confirm them in a policy of high tariffs without getting any of the advantage which they at present offer you, but will not go on offering for ever.
My purpose to-night is to direct the attention of the House to an aspect of the subject other than that which has been dealt with by my hon. Friends. I wish to refer to the vexed question of the most-favoured-nation treaties in relation to the Empire. Most of us Tariff Reformers are in favour of Imperial preference, because we see, in the policy of free imports, what we think to be a very great tendency towards the disruption of the Empire. That is to say, those of us who hold that the final bond of sovereignty in Empire is the unique control of foreign affairs in one central place, think there is a very grave danger that, if we continue moving down an entirely different economic road from that followed by the rest of the Dominions, we shall compel them sooner or later to claim an increasingly large share in the control and negotiation of their own foreign treaties, and so you will gradually have the Dominions with a foreign policy conflicting with our own. We believe that then the end of union will be very near. So long as Crown Colony Government existed in the whole Empire, before the Dominions had their own ideals, the most-favoured-nation treaty operated fairly well; but once the Dominions had an entirely separate commercial policy, the 698 false bases of these treaties became very evident.
Take, for example, the case of Australia, which is an important one, and has come up repeatedly. For a very long time Australia has desired to give a preference to British shipping in her own waters, and to goods imported specifically in British bottoms. There is no doubt whatever about this. It cannot be denied. It has been put forward over and over again by Australia. In 1902, at the request of Australia, the Imperial Conference adopted a resolution in favour of refusing privileges of coastal trade to those countries which refused to British ships the advantages of coastal trade in their waters. The question was raised again in 1906, once more by Australia, and the present First Lord of the Admiralty (Mr. Churchill), who was then Under-Secretary for the Colonies, replied in a very important, phrase that such a step would violate treaties made with Greece, Italy, and Russia. One of these treaties was made so early as 1859, long before the Dominions had any consciousness of their own or any separate commercial policy. That was the best answer that could be given then. In 1907 the question was again raised, and the resolution in favour of a preference to British shipping was reaffirmed, the present Government alone dissenting. The Chancellor of the Exchequer tried to get the resolution altered, but failed. The Prime Ministers of the Dominions insisted upon the resolution being left intact, and the present Government alone blocked the way to a Preferential scheme. In 1910 Australia asked the present Foreign Secretary to negotiate with Italy and Austria, who were the beneficiaries under the most-favoured-nation arrangement. The Foreign Secretary was asked by Australia to negotiate for the denunciation of those treaties, because Australia wished to give a preference to British shipping, but did not wish to have to extend it to Italy and Austria and other countries under old and obsolete treaties. The Foreign Secretary so far admitted the justice of the ease that he undertook to negotiate.
But in 1911, at the Imperial Conference, we have the old story: The Foreign Secretary had received replies from Austria and Italy refusing to give up any of the privileges which they held under ancient treaties made long before Australia had a voice in the matter or anything to do with the control of their own affairs. 699 Since then we have heard nothing. But we know from various sources that dissatisfaction is felt by Australia with these old bonds, which shackle the Dominions and with the fashioning of which they have nothing to do. Their own people are against them and would throw them off. They are, indeed, beginning to throw them off by the appointment of separate Consuls for the Dominions in the negotiations of various commercial matters, which, I think, is a grave danger. I do not want to worry the House with a long history of various aspects of this question. We have heard something tonight about "sordid bonds." That is a phrase not used by our side, but used by free importers on the Liberal side of this House. May I put it to them to-night, without criticising their actual phrases, that there are bonds much more dangerous than the negotiation of trade treaties at the request and with the sympathy of the Dominions? There are bonds like these treaties, which we maintain against the wishes of the united Dominions, and which is very likely to raise a grave feeling between ourselves and these Dominions; one that we must take notice of in this House. It would be well if we were a little more sympathetic, and if we could forget the narrow dogmas of the Cobden Club, or the Free Trade system of fifty years ago. We, the Tariff Reformers of this House, are no dogmatists at all on this question. I speak for myself. We differ from the hon. Member who spoke last in his easy definition as to how the wealth of England was built up. We do not think it was entirely owing to coal. It was coal and the Navigation Laws which built up the wealth of England.
On this side of the House all we say is that we ought to have a sound trade policy, one according to the modern needs of a modern people. We do not want to be tied to a system which was in vogue in Manchester and which not only benefited rich merchants, but was framed especially to benefit them and which was carried by their money before the working classes had votes. We seek to get away from this kind of bond. We seek to have power from this House to impose just such tariffs as will suit the particular needs of our own Dominions, and meet the modern requirements of a great and growing Empire; to be able to impose duties where we think we need them, and to take them 700 off where we desire to; to have free imports where they will assist us, and to have tariffs where they are necessary. Let me take once more another class that has been referred to, the "most-favoured-nation" treaties. I want to speak of Canada. According to Ministers in this country and in Canada, the Canadian Government cannot lower her duties to any foreign nation without reducing those duties at the same time, and in the same degree, to a long list of countries, including Austria, Russia, France, Spain, Japan, and the Argentine. I will not repeat here—let us try to imagine—what we should feel if we were bound by treaties which Canada had made for our trade policy years before we had anything to do with it. What would our work-people say? In this case actually the treaty with Russia was passed in 1859 long before the North America Act. Canada feels very strongly on this subject. She had-absolutely no voice in the making of that treaty with which she is absolutely bound. It is ludicrous to call it Free Trade. She-is shackled, and cannot get free from it. She cannot negotiate a single commercial treaty.
There is no doubt here as to what Canada wants. In 1891 Canada protested to the Home Government, who virtually replied that to take the step which Canada required would be too grave, inasmuch as it would mean the tearing up of many existing treaties. We grant it would be a big step, but, on the other hand, we have to consider the growing commercial needs of a great Empire. In 1891 Canada protested without effect to this country. In 1911 Sir Wilfrid Laurier moved and carried a resolution at the Imperial Conference, asking the Foreign Secretary again to negotiate towards freeing the Dominion from these bonds. I do not know how many times this has occurred. How persistently the Dominions have kept this question before the Conference! What did the Foreign Secretary reply? He said that he would negotiate again. He said:—If we cannot bring it to a conclusion in a year or two it looks as if the negotiations would never result in anything, and we shall have to consider the situation afresh.9.0 P.M
I want to ask the hon. Gentleman, who is sitting on the Treasury Bench, what has happened since 1911? How the Government reviewed the situation further? If so, why are we not told? The Dominions have pressed since 1902–I think really 701 since 1901–on this one question alone with the United Kingdom. They have spoken with a persistent voice. At last the Home Government says it will negotiate. The two years have elapsed which the Foreign Secretary himself said were the limits to which inaction, should go. We hear of nothing being done. I, for one, have no reason to believe that anything has been done since 1911. At any rate, no result has been achieved. I would like to ask for a very definite and a very clear statement on this question of the Most-Favoured-Nation Treaty Clauses. We have very few opportunities of debating this question in the House, or of getting answers to questions when we put them. These are questions which concern the whole of the Dominions in the answer which will or will not be given to-night. An immense amount of interest will be taken in the replies by the Dominions concerned. I think, in conclusion, it is only fair to remind the House that it is in the last ten years, while the opposite party have been in office, that the once-derided principle of Imperial preference has been mainly before us.
What has happened? Canada has negotiated and increased the whole scope and nature of the principle of Imperial preference. The idea was suggested by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham. Canada followed out the idea so rapidly and so successfully that she eventually extended it to the United Kingdom, and also to South Africa, India, the Straits, and the West Indies, thus building up a great change of Inter-dominion preference. We realise that the change cannot be brought about by any one Act. But we are concerned to show that these acts may be taken as not conflicting one with another, so that later all may fit into a perfect whole. Australia has herself not only given preference to this country, but has extended it to South Africa. South Africa, not content with giving a preference to the United Kingdom, has been busy in extending the principle of Imperial preference. In 1903, she extended it to the United Kingdom; in 1904, to Canada; in 1906, to New Zealand; and to Australia in 1907. It is a persistent policy, steadily pursued, on the road to Imperial preference, and the only country in the whole of the Empire who refuses overtly to take up this policy and adopt it successfully, as has been done throughout our Colonial industries with 702 immense success—the only one which refuses to co-operate is the Imperial Parliament. I think it is indeed a shame, and I think it is indeed a lack of statesmanship. In the Dominions this question has been settled long ago. In our sense we keep it alive; we are loyal to it, and keep control of it because we know that you on the opposite side will have to come to it. Other portions of the Empire having walked down the one road, it is impossible to conceive that we alone will be able to walk down another without disruption. Therefore, we say that this question is a decided issue; it is prejudged, and by the nature of the Dominions themselves and by the course of their trade and the distribution of ideas. I am perfectly certain, whatever the answer that may be given from the Government Bench to our Preference Amendment to-night, that before many years are out we shall ourselves have taken the last step towards that policy of preference, and have made the whole of it a complete system.
§ Sir WILLIAM BEALE
I have for many years listened to Debates upon this subject in the hope that some time or other we might hear some definite suggestion, something intelligible and practicable directed towards alleviating the disturbances or depressions of trade, such as do undoubtedly occasionally occur from the difficulty of what is in this Amendment described as artificially stimulated foreign competition. From the history of Protection which we have very often debated, I do quite admit that there is something serious which, if you direct your mind to the particular nature and conditions which occur, which may perhaps suggest a practicable remedy. Though I have listened silently for a great many years to Debates upon this subject, I ask the patience of the House to-night while I touch upon the subject from my own point of view, entirely free from the oratorical colour given to it both outside and inside this House, and without attributing to my opponents either the wish or the desire not to deal thoughtfully with the matter under consideration, I was very much pleased to hear the language of the last speaker which, to a certain extent, I think, was intended to acquit us of any desire merely to dogmatise. I am sure we quite believe his statement that, at all events, at the present time, Tariff Reformers are not to be looked upon as people who dogmatise without having seriously studied the question before them. 703 I regret for all that I cannot find in the present Amendment anything sufficiently concrete or sufficiently definite in the line of action foreshadowed which we could follow, so as to produce any real benefit to the country.
In the few words I wish to address to the House, I shall try to keep clear of criticising figures and statistics that have been brought forward, on one side or the other, because my view is that in the use made of thes statistics on both sides it has been too much asumed that the idea of post hoc ergo propter hoc has prevailed too much. Suppose you can compare the prosperity of a country which has got a protective tariff with a country that has not, and show that the prosperity of one has advanced really, or on that very voracious footing of percentages, it has been assumed that if you can show that one has advanced more than another, you have won your case, I think you leave out numerous considerations which are really more essential before you can come to any-such conclusion; I refer, of course, to the question of superior commercial education, and numerous collateral questions—the better management of the transport system, railway rates and so on, better painstaking in our Consular service and things of that sort. I ask the House to forgive me if I leave that line of argument, and touch this as a very common theory at the bottom of it. I do not take the shibboleths of the Cobden Club. I am more impressed with the writings of Mill and Fawcett, but I do not take the shibboleths of any writer. I say candidly, and perhaps it will surprise some of my friends, that the basis of my firm adherence to Free Trade comes from the study of those who have written seriously on scientific Protection, and it is that subject which I want to say a word about.
I understand that from time to time these propositions which are formulated in this Amendment have been brought forward. They would occur to almost anybody who has made any reflection upon political economy, if he tries to study it at all. I will not say more about them, or that they occur chiefly to the young, but they occur to people generally only to be displaced by more mature deliberation. At all events when they have been brought forward, they have failed to stand the test of practical application. I will not go back a very long way, but I am sorry to say that my memory goes back 704 to the period when, the Repeal of the Corn Laws was still a very recent affair, when there were Protectionists and Pealites in the Conservative party of that day to which a man of great eminence, Mr. Gladstone, belonged. There were two sides to the question, but I refer to that which I recollect after I had attained a mature age. The proposition put forward then was similar to the proposition put forward today. It was one for Free Trade within the Empire. The controversy was between Free Traders and fair traders. At that time that proposition had a great effect on many minds, including my own, because our Free Trade convictions were liable to be stirred in view of the very great progress which we saw going on in the United States of America, and which in later years we have seen occur in Canada. It did seem that where there were large undeveloped territories a system of Protection did tend to prosperity, and to a system which, at all events, had the effect of ousting our goods. It occurred to us that by having Free Trade within the Empire we should be put in the same position, because our Empire had a still larger proportion of undeveloped territory than had the United States at that time. That controversy went on, and it was exceedingly like what is going on at the present time. These two views were mixed up, as we now get the two different parts of this resolution mixed up and confused with the propositions to be found in the second part of the Motion before the House.
The advocates of a Protective duty, with a view to Free Trade within the Empire, got into exactly the same fallacies as we now, rightly or wrongly, attribute to many of the warm advocates of Tariff Reform opposite. They tried to get it both ways; they argued that duties would keep out foreign manufactures for the benefit of British trade, and at the same time that they would let them in at high rates of duty for the benefit of this country. I do not repudiate altogether what I think I heard the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London say on one occasion, that there was no objection to a tariff which you could show would do good because it merely had a protective effect on British manufactures. There was another point on which the Seconder of the Motion touched, and that is the notion that if you keep out foreign-made goods you will make those goods at home. True, you will make them, but what they never 705 see is that you will not get the same amount of goods, because imports are paid for by exports. Again, you are assuming that the demand will remain the same, or rather that it will be double, which is equal to saying that if two people left off doing trade together they would double the amount of work. The result of this policy would be that each would have a great deal more work, but the amount of produce would be the same, because it would involve more expenditure of labour. I am only pointing out this to show that these questions are in controversy now, and that they were matters of controversy then. There was the same outcry against unfair competition, and there was a Royal Commission appointed in 1885 to inquire into the reasons for the depression in trade, and to say what, if any, suggestions could be made for remedying it. The majority of that Commission reported against any protective duty of any kind. I am aware that the minority on that Commission suggested a moderate duty on manufactured goods, but what came out and what they took evidence upon was that it was largely due to the longer hours worked by foreign workmen and to the lower rate of wages those foreign workmen received. Consequently, I am not very much surprised that in this instance there was no intention to imitate the foreigner. When this question was again considered in the year 1903, Protection was again brought forward by a Statesman with whom I should have only been too willing to agree, and whom I know was actuated by the best love for his country. At that time I tried to see if there was anything in those proposals which would give a solid foundation for some change in the direction in which he pointed. The only remarkable feature about that propaganda, which was started in 1903, was a comparison with Germany. It was implied that if you studied the German writers you would find some justification for the change. I looked very carefully to see if such justification could be found. I was very much impressed, reasonably impressed, when the proposition came from such a quarter, and when the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham, whom I respected so much, put it in this way:—You any that England alone is right, and that nil other countries are fools.I thought the question deserved considerable study. I say that what the foreign 706 political economists, from whom I derive my notions much more than from the English economists, show is that the systems of Protection that have been adopted by foreign countries have been adopted under very different circumstances and for very different purposes than those which are put forward as the basis for the change in our fiscal system which we are now asked to vote upon as an improvement. I say that the theory is not to be found in any of the writers on which foreign countries have proceeded. It has been suggested that by adopting a Protective duty you can eventually come to such cheap reduction that you can actually send goods and sell them cheaper than they can be produced in the country itself. I would, however, point out that it is not a game at which all producing countries could play, because if they did it would kill itself by over-production. It may be an incident which occurs at the present moment, but it is not a thing which we can cure, or at least cure for our permanent advantage by acting in the same way. It is not a thing which you will find advocated as a good move by any writers who have advocated Protection.
Oddly enough, if I recollect rightly, the notion was started first in this country by Lord Brougham in 1815, who said, I think in a speech in the House of Lords, that it would be well worth producing at a loss because we could prevent other countries beginning to produce at all. I never heard it suggested as a thing which could be done where the country had begun to produce, and where they had facilities of production. What I do find in the views of the German and American writers in common with some of the views of our modern advocates of Tariff Reform is that it may be well worth while to make the sacrifice of some benefits for the sake of other benefits which you could derive by the establishment of Protective duties. That, is the only thing I find in common. It always has involved the idea of sacrifice. You never find in any writers the idea that Protective duties can in themselves be a benefit to a country. The first of these scientific gentlemen on whom the Germans went to work was of course Friedrich List. I hope that his work now is pretty well known. His contention was that the benefit to be derived from scientific protection was ultimately to arrive at Free Trade. His book, I think, appeared in 1841, before the effects of the continental system had worn off. It was 707 when they were struggling against the English supremacy in trade that he issued the suggestion that France, Germany, and the United States ought to see the importance of Protection. He did not think that what he lather rudely called the barbarous countries would be fools enough to think that they could develop manufacturing industries in their backward state of culture. He said:—If France, Germany, and the United Suites will adopt Protection. England will then give up the idea of manufacturing for the whole world. She will not expect France Germany, and the United States to give up manufacturing and send only raw products and take British manufactures. She will see that they are right in Protection, though she will herself more and more favour Free Trade, taught by the theory that, a nation which has arrived at manufacturing supremacy, can only protect herself against decline and indolence by the free import of food and raw material.I do not see any reason why we should depart from that view of scientific Protection and say that a country shall set to work to use Protection to enable her to compete with other countries that have already established their supremacy of production. That is the view of writers on scientific Protection, both in the United States of America and in Germany. The view was started in America by Carey, who has been adopted in Germany as the best authority. The object was not only what I have mentioned, namely, the advantage of the country, but it was also directed to the equality of prosperity between different classes. Carey talked about harmony of interests and tried to bring it about in America. He condemned the British system, because it tended to centralisation and to the concentration of special industries at great centres, and he recommended that Protection should be scientifically adjusted in order to decentralise and to foster the greatest variety of production in any country or district. He said, further, that the British system tended to make slaves of the workers. That is Socialism in one sense, but not in that truer definition which we have from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the City of London. It is remarkable, you will always find national economy and Socialism dealt with as kindred subjects which have to be considered together. The objects aimed at were very different from the objects put forward by advocates of Tariff Reform in this country. The arguments used, both in America and Germany, were seized upon by capitalists, and were directed to very opposite ends. Carey wanted to protect home interests like the 708 Americans do, but he does not tell the wealthy classes that the vowed object of the father of scientific Protection was to undermine the preponderating influence of their class, and to render futile the efforts at commercial supremacy on the part of any country. We may be told that these quotations from the old economists are ancient history and that circumstances have since changed. Of course they have—I do not suppose that Adam Smith or List or Carey looked forward to the enormous changes in the means of transport such as have occurred. I do not suppose they ever imagined that corn would be grown in Canada, come to Reading to be made into biscuits, which in their turn would be sent back for sale in Canada. Of course, circumstances have changed very much indeed, but I do not think that the theory underlying Carey's writings has changed the least in the world. I want now to refer to one authority showing that those theories have not changed, and that they do not point in the direction which Tariff Reformers point to, when they advocate the fiscal changes foreshadowed in this Amendment. I have heard mention in this House the name of one eminent modern authority. Professor Schmöller, who pointed out the danger of Tariff Reform. In his book, which appeared in 1904, he says:—The true reason for agrarian Protection in our day is not that special industries now or formerly thrive or thrived on Protection, but that it is a question of life or death for the community to help our own agricultural industry above the shock of international, certainly temporary, concurrence.List said:—An attempt by any one country to acquire overwhelming power and wealth would be as harmful as the-attempt of the ancient Romans to do the same by arms and bloodshed, and would equally lead back to barbarism.Schmöller comments on the dependence of Great Britain on the surplus production of other countries, and says it will in time fail, and adds:—Germany must not follow the false example of Great Britain, must turn round in time, support its agricultural industry, and be moderate in its export trade. The marks of an industrial State are depression of general comfort, unequal distribution of wealth, impossibility of social reform, unique domination of capitalists, unhealthy increase of population, and crowding of towns and industrial districts.''He further says:—High duties would destroy the valuable British trade in America. Germany, etc., and bring about tariff wars. There would be little chance of diminishing the evil of free ports. It is to be hoped that Mr. Chamberlain, with his influence, will succeed in keeping these people in check. Only a very moderate differential system with the Colonies can have any lasting result. It will not hurt Germany. But it is difficult to say that such an Imperial combination will save England. It is too 709 like the old Colonial system. The independence of the Colonies will work in favour of protection of their industries. When Professor Ashley advised them not to found new industries and to rely on agriculture, he was right. But will the Colonies follow such advice?I quote Professor Schmöher as an authority on Tariff Reform, with whose principles I scarcely find any occasion to disagree. He entirely combats what I might term the popular view expressed by hon. Gentlemen opposite. I am not going to say that, under certain conditions and with a definite aim, either national or to equalise prosperity, we should not be prepared to make sacrifices. I am not going to remind the House of the sacrifices we have made in order to pay for a definite aim, but in the present circumstances, with our present information, to make an entire change, as is suggested in this Amendment, in our fiscal system is not a suggestion one would advise His Majesty to add to His Gracious Speech.
§ The SOLICITOR - GENERAL (Sir Stanley Buckmaster)
The Amendment now before the House is drawn in the same terms as the Amendment that was considered in April of last year, and I therefore assume that it may be regarded as the latest and the most authoritative statement of the policy of hon. Members opposite. During the last nine years this subject has been before the House in many forms, but I doubt if it has ever been placed before our consideration under circumstances of greater difficulty for the Mover and the Seconder of the Amendment than those which exist to-day. In saying that I do not merely refer to these statistics and figures affecting our trade. I do no propose to quote, striking though they be, the records of our export and of our import trade during the past twelve months, nor the significant figures that are to be derived from the returns of the Clearing House, the Custom House, and the Inland Revenue, or all the different means by which we may measure and test the pulse of trade. I do not refer to these things because I know quite well that the inference to be drawn from these figures is a matter of controversy between us, and that though we may think they have point in one direction, they are not so convincing to hon. Members opposite.
The facts to which I refer are not, I think, in dispute. I refer to the fact that the policy represented in this Amendment is nothing but a rudimentary, and, as I think, a devitalised fragment of the whole of the larger policy of Tariff Reform, and that whatever arguments can be used 710 against the full-blooded policy, apply with redoubled force against this anæmic fragment. In this I think I must command the support of many of the right hon. Gentlemen on the Front Opposition Bench. I certainly do not propose to fatigue the House by the repetition of quotations which must, be familiar to them all, but I am satisfied that we all remember that the policy put forward in the first paragraph of this Amendment is one that has again and again, in clear and emphatic terms, been declared to be a policy which cannot exist. If you desire Colonial Preference, you must have a tax on food. That is a statement the speaker of which has never receded from the effect of his utterance, and it is as true to-day as when he uttered it. Indeed, I think the statement must command the assent of the leader of the Opposition, because if I read his speeches aright, that also is his expressed view. Again, it has been put forward in language as violent as it is just by the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Jesse Collings). But I find in this respect right hon. Gentlemen opposite are merely carrying forward the positions of an older policy, for in 1879, when this theory of taxation of products for the benefit of the industries of this country was beginning to grow, it attracted the attention of Mr. Gladstone, and speaking in Midlothian in that year, this is what he said:—Protection has been asked for by certain injudicious cliques and classes of persons connected with mine manufacturing Industries. They want, to have duties laid upon manufactures; but here Lord Beaconsfield said and I cordially agree with him, that he would be no party to the institution of n system under which Protection was to be given to manufactures and to be refused to agriculture. That one-sided Protection I deem to be totally intolerable, and I reject it oven at the threshold as unworthy of a word of examination or discussion.In addition to that, the hon. and gallant Gentleman (Captain Tryon) and the hon. Members who have supported him during the Amendment have got a new difficulty to face which has never been faced before, and that is the fact that they find themselves in acute and fierce collision with the very industry whose succour and relief was the main, and I think the most praiseworthy object of the whole movement. The agricultural interest has discovered the illusion of these proposals, and under the leadership of the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Chaplin) the hon. Member (Mr. Hunt) and other leaders who still regard the maintenance of the original policy as something more important than an attempt to serve both worlds, are in open 711 and avowed revolt. In these circumstances I think it requires both courage and skill to move this Amendment, and I think also that those qualities were admirably shown by the Mover and Seconder; but I think they were equally divided. The skill was shown by the hon. and gallant Gentleman who moved it, for he evaded the difficulty, and the courage was shown by the hon. Member who seconded, for he disregarded them.
Consider for a moment what it is that the Amendment proposes. It proposes to adopt Imperial Preference so far as it can be carried out without imposing fresh duties upon imported foodstuffs, and neither the Mover nor the Seconder has even approached within reasonable distance of a definition of what that statement means. Is it intended to include or exclude raw materials? To that, up to the present time, we have had no answer. The hon. Member who seconded appears to consider that it did not affect raw material at all. His views about raw material seem to be somewhat hazy, for as I gathered from an interruption which was made, his idea of raw material began with boots, then paused and hesitated on leather, and finally settled down comfortably upon raw hide. Surely we are entitled to know, before we vote upon such an Amendment as this, what it is that means, and what it is that it pledges the House to support. Hon. Members opposite when discussing such an Amendment are sometimes too apt to believe that we pay no regard to an attempt to bind ourselves and our Colonies together. I think they are profoundly mistaken. I think that we, just as much as hon. Members opposite, are anxious above all things to bind ourselves and our Colonies beyond the seas into one solid and indissoluble whole, but we are utterly unable to see that any scheme that has been produced in the nature of this Amendment is in the least likely to accomplish that object. As for this Amendment, it appears to me that not only must it fail in the accomplishment of such a purpose, but it must carry with it the seeds which will ultimately lead to a growth that many of us will be unwilling to contemplate. You propose to put a tax upon the imports into this country of manufactured and, I gather, semi-manufactured goods, and to give a Preference in that respect, and in that respect alone, to our Colonies, with the 712 result that some of the Colonies will be almost entirely excluded from the benefit of your tax, and in all cases such benefit as may be received must vary in amount, while the total advantage that they will gain will be something so trifling that it cannot be worth the trouble and cost of any attempt to impose such a tax. I am quite agreed that if you desire to accomplish Imperial Preference, you must put a tax on food, and you must put a tax on raw materials, and the reason why these products are omitted from this Amendment is not because hon. Members opposite do not thoroughly realise that their introduction is essential to the vitality of the scheme, but because they know that such a scheme will not be accepted by the country, and they have thrown over the most unpopular part of their cargo.
Let me say a few words about the remaining part of the proposal. It deals with an attempt to tax, by what I understand to be an average tariff, manufactured imports into this country. Once again we have no means whatever of knowing to what extent these goods must be manufactured to come within the operation of the tax—whether pig-iron is to be regarded as manufactured goods or raw material, and, again, the old and insoluble difficulty of leather, which I am certain would be regarded as a raw material in one part of the country and as a finished product in another. It is important to see, first of all, what you are going to tax; and, secondly, what is the object you hope to obtain by the taxation. In every speech made on the other side during this Debate no one has referred to the possible result of this proposal in raising the price of the article upon which it is placed, and the first thing to consider is whether or no that is what it is desired to do. It has been pointed out that that is almost by concession what it will do, but I would be glad to know if that is what it is desired to do. I quite agree that upon this question of the increase of price, due to the imposition of a tariff, the varying circumstances of the country where the tax is imposed, and of the character of the product upon which it is placed, affects to some degree the extent to which the price of the article will be raised, and it is obvious if you were to put a tax upon the importation of steam coal in Wales, you would not raise the price of steam coal in Wales by any appreciable sum. If you were to tax the importation of oil into Mexico, I should 713 imagine that you would not raise the price of oil in Mexico by a single peseta. I only quote that for the purpose of saying, that I at least have never suggested that an increase in price must in all cases and on all products inevitably follow the imposition of a duty. That is not so at all. But where the article on which the tax is imposed is an article whose price is regulated in the protected area by keen competition, then the result of the imposition of the tax is to raise the price of the article by the amount of the tax; but in several instances, as the records of other countries show, the price gets lifted even beyond the amount of the duty.
Assuming that that fact can be accepted—and I really do not see that there is anything striking or remarkable in what I am saying—assuming that that fact can be accepted for the purpose of argument, I want to know what is the result to agriculture under this system? The right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said, when a Debate on a similar resolution was before the House, that if it could be shown that agriculture would instantly suffer, he would agree that agriculture would be right in objecting. But it seemed to him impossible to consider that agriculture ever would suffer. Let me see whether it can. Is there a single article that the farmer uses, apart from his live stock, the price of which is not determined at the present moment by the fact of free foreign competition? I believe there is not a single thing he uses from first to last in which he has not the benefit, the full benefit, of a free market. It is obvious that the whole of his iron goods, ploughs, forks, harrows, reapers, sowers, mowing machines, threshing machines—in fact as to every article or machine which he uses, much of which is imported from foreign countries, the price is modified by the fact that foreign competition exists. But it is not only that. Wire fencing, iron for the roofs of his barns, the mills by which he pumps his water, even the hewn timber by which he builds his sheds—in every single case the articles which he uses are articles which are subject to the competition of similar imported articles from abroad. It is therefore perfectly plain that an increase in the price of the articles he uses in the course of his industry is a hindrance and not a benefit to a man carrying on the trade of farmer, and he must suffer, and suffer permanently, by any system which gives an average duty of 10 per cent. on 714 manufactured goods. It is suggested that, although he may suffer, he is to receive some equivalent compensation from the money which is to be raised by the tax. Well, the money that is going to be raised by the tariff has been pledged so often for such large sums that I do not think there is much in the ultimate value of the equity. Let me assume that the proposal that has been suggested is to give some relief to the burdens which at the present moment the farmer bears. Those burdens are either local or Imperial. With regard to the adjustment of local burdens I believe all Members of the House are in agreement that at the present moment their incidence is irregular and unfair. But I do not think we are all in agreement as to the best means by which that inequality can be readjusted. At any rate, no scheme has been put forward to enable us to arrive at readjustment. It is assumed that one of the first purposes is to relieve the burden of the Income Tax.
How will that benefit the farmer? At the present moment there is no class in the whole Kingdom that suffers so little under the Income Tax as the agricultural industry. [An HON. MEMBER: "What about the labourer?"] I do not call the farmer an agricultural labourer, but I regard the farmer and the labourer as persons who are engaged in connection with one interest. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear," If you are in such agreement, why contradict me? For the purpose of Income Tax, the labourer may be disregarded. As for the farmer, there is no class in the community upon whom the Income Tax presses more lightly. And why? Because he is exempted from returning under Schedule D, and his returns for the purpose of Income Tax, are fixed by Statute at one-third of his rent. If, therefore, a farmer farms 1,000 acres at £1 an acre, he would return his income for the purpose of Income Tax at £333. If he took off £160, the exemption before he came to be taxed, he would be taxed on £173, and if you took 2d. off his Income Tax in order to relieve the agricultural burden, you would benefit him only to the extent of £1 10s. a year. And while that is the advantage which the agriculturist is going to get under this system, I say that the burden which he is going to suffer is definite and substantial. I know that the agricultural interest is not the only one that has got to be considered in this matter, and hon. Members opposite have again and again suggested that one of the many advantages accruing from the introduction of this duty, will 715 be the opportunity that will be given for the improvement of wages, and the benefit which will be conferred upon the industrial people of this country. Once more there is no difference between us as to the desirability of the object. The only question is the means by which it may be obtained. A word or two about the means by which it shall be reached.
I am still arguing upon the assumption that the imposition of this duty is going to increase the price. It is suggested that that will give a larger profit to the manufacturer, and that he will be able out of his increased profit to pay a larger Wage. We have had during the last few years a most remarkable and startling illustration of the increase of prices. We know that since 1900 the prices of food commodities in this country have risen 15 per cent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Under Free Trade."] Yes, but in no protected country except possibly France have they risen by anything like so small a sum. I say except in France, because the returns, which have been given dealing with these countries, put down the increase in price as the same as the increase here. But I think that it is obvious to anyone who looks at the report and the figures that the figure given for France, unless taken subject to the qualifications which are expressed, is liable to lead to mistake, and without these qualifications the figure would be higher. I will tell you why. I am not making a statement without having taken the trouble to consider the report. The figure which showed an increase of 15 per cent, for France is a figure which relates to the retail price of twenty-four articles of food, including wine, fuel, and lighting materials in Paris, according to the workmen's consumption, and when you turn to see what are the actual figure as to the increase in the price of food in France in reference to which I can refer hon. Members who desire to read about this matter, to page 341 of the report, you find that the wholesale prices food in France, taking 1900 as the standard year, have increased 28 per cent, from 1900 to 1911. And that is the only country in this report, except Australia and New Zealand, in which the increases are not enormously in excess of our own. So that though the increase of prices has been a common factor in the history of the world during the last few years, Free Trade England still maintains her position, and the increase here is less per annum 716 than it is elsewhere. [An HON. MEMBER: "Wages."] Yes; the very thing I am coming to. I now ask hon. Members to consider whether an increase in prices, which might just, as well be due to the imposition of a tariff as to economic causes, has produced a corresponding increase of wages? What is the industry in relation to which these prices are the most important? It is, once more, the agricultural industry; and you will find in this report that the articles upon which those prices have been calculated are articles nearly everyone of which, except potatoes, have been imported from abroad. The consequence is, that there has been a protection of 15 per cent. given to the agricultural interest by economic causes during the last twelve years. Is there anyone going to tell me that the wages of the agricultural labourers have risen to any extent in any way commensurate with that amount? A more complete and absolute refutation of the theory that, with the imposition of a tariff, wages must rise, cannot be found than in that book. If that is so, the experience of other countries will also tell us this, that although it may be that the high prices will in the end cause higher wages, even in a country where they are low, yet the wages and the prices do not move onward step for step; but while prices move forward on a fleet foot, wages limp wearily behind. This Amendment is finally recommended to us as a scheme for settling social discontent. How social discontent is going to be solved by the adoption of a scheme of which the first step is to increase the prices of daily commodities to the industrial people of this country—[An HON. MEMBER: "NO."]—it is quite obvious—[An HON. MEMBER: "It is not at all."]—that your duty is not going to be productive if you are merely going to tax things which the people do not use. The only way in which a tariff can be productive or effective is to tax the goods which are in common or daily use. I think all of us look forward with some anxiety to the industrial condition of this country. The demands of labour are becoming more insistent and more incessant year by year, and at once to understand and satisfy what is just in those demands is one of the gravest difficulties of modern statesmanship. We welcome any discussion that will enable us to see whether any scheme put forward will allay that unrest, and we welcome it none theless because we at least 717 on this side of the House are convinced that no solution of that difficulty is to be found by attempting to change the system which, whatever may be its faults, has caused this country to grow rich and strong, which has enabled it to bear with unbent back the heavy burden of our Imperial responsibilities, and lastly—and this is the chiefest merit in it all—it has brought cheap food to the lips of millions of the poor.
§ Mr. BONAR LAW
It is interesting to find that the present Government have adopted as a permanent principle the handing over of the defence of their case on Free Trade questions to the two Law Officers of the Crown. To-night the brief has been transferred to the junior Member, and all that I can do is to heartily congratulate him on having presented a case which I think is equal to that we are in the habit of having from his senior. I think, all the same, the hon. and learned Gentleman will be prudent as he gets more accustomed to the brief. I do not at all follow the line of argument which he based upon the rise of food prices in the country and the absence of a rise in wages. He seems to imagine that some people—presumably he thought they were Tariff Reformers—are of opinion that a rise in wages necessarily follows a rise in prices, from whatever cause. I, at least, have never made any such assertion. What we have pointed out is precisely the thing the right hon. Gentleman did not—that there has been a great rise in the cost of the necessaries of life in this country, and that there has not been a rise in wages, and that while there has been a rise in the cost of necessaries in other countries, there has been a rise in wages that has more than counterbalanced it. Hon. Gentlemen opposite perhaps doubt that. Let me give the opinion of our own Consul as regards this in Germany. He used these words:—The only factor which has safeguarded the standard of life of the German worker and prevented it from falling has been the ample rise in wages, which has more than kept pace with the rise in prices.That was in the year 1909–[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"]—and the conditions, as hon. Gentlemen opposite know, were equally true then as they are to-day. The hon. and learned Gentlemen, as was inevitable, began by a taunt upon us upon a change in our fiscal policy. That taunt is natural, and, to some extent, it is deserved, but it comes rather strangely from a party which has professed, as the hon. 718 Gentleman the Attorney-General told us, that for the last thirty years their hearts have been bound up with Home Rule, and yet during the ten years they were in Opposition a Motion of any kind in favour of that proposal was never made by the official Opposition, and it was never mentioned in the address of the Leader of their party, and it was never once touched by them until the Irish vote became necessary for them. In what I say to-night I am going to refer to the fiscal policy which, if, as hon. Gentleman opposite think impossible, we are returned to power, we intend to carry out. And here I may say, there is one difference between us and them: whether that policy is right or wrong, we have at all events made it perfectly clear. We do not intend to imitate the methods of the party opposite. We intend to have no conspiracy of silence. We shall mention it in our election addresses, and the country will know exactly what we intend to do. I say that I am going only to refer to the policy that we shall be able to carry out, if we are returned to power, as the result of the election; for I admit that it would be no defence to point to something which could be done later if we are not able to justify what we propose to do on its merits. It is assumed by everyone who has spoken from the benches opposite that a system which proposes to put a tariff on manufactured articles with a corresponding tariff on agricultural produce is, in its nature, absurd. Even on theory I am not inclined to accept that view. I think, indeed, that the root difference between us and the rigid adherents of our present fiscal system, is that they do and we do not think there is any fiscal system which applies to all countries and at all times. We think that it must vary, if it be a right system, in accordance with the conditions of the country in which it is imposed, and the rest of the world at the time it is imposed.
I, for one, apart from any question as to merit, have always held, and I hold now, that the system which would be suitable for a country where agriculture was almost equal with industry, would be quite unsuitable for a country where industry preponderated over agriculture to such an enormous extent as with us. But whatever may be the view as to theory, is it not rather strange to say that a system is absurd which is already in force, and successfully in force, in other countries? As I pointed out last year, the country in 719 Europe which most resembles our own is Belgium, and the fiscal system there is approximately the system which we propose to establish here. There is in Belgium no duty on wheat, and there are very small duties, and unprotective, on any agricultural produce, and yet that system has worked, and worked successfully, even from the point of view of agriculture in Belgium. Further, if it was, as I think, absurd to suggest last year that the system was logically impossible, it is still more absurd to suggest it now in view of what has happened in connection with the American tariff. We were told, and I daresay that there are people on the benches opposite who believe it still, that that tariff was, if not Free Trade, a step in the direction of Free Trade. As a matter of fact, the Protection of manufacturing industries remains as strong as ever. The difference is that the rate was 40 per cent., and it is now 30 per cent.; but as the cost of production in America as compared with this country was greater when the old tariff was imposed then it is now the effect of the present tariff in the way of Protection is as great, I believe, as that of the previous tariff. Therefore the only step in the direction of Free Trade has been in the direction of removing the duties on agriculture, and so bringing the American tariff more nearly to the precise proposal we now ask the House to adopt.
I know that the whole of that is now from a new point of view. We used to be attacked—till last year—on the ground that we were going to tax the food of the people. That has shifted now. We are attacked now because we are not going to tax the food of the people. As an electioneering weapon in the hands of a Government, and of a party which is not, I will not say immoral, but non-moral—which in politics has no novelty except success—in the hands of such a Government. I much prefer the present electioneering weapon to the one they enjoyed till last year. There are, I think, two points of view from which farmers, and those who advocate the cause of famers, should look at this question. It is certainly true—nobody doubts it—that it would be a greater advantage to the farmer if there were a tariff on agriculture corresponding to the tariff on industry. That we all admit. What I think we have a right to say is: Unless it can be shown that the proposal we make is actually 720 going to injure the farmer, but merely that it is not going to benefit him as much as the other arrangement, that any farmer who believes that the change would be good for the country as a whole has no right to vote against us on account of the changes we are going to propose I think that is elementary. In what way is the farmer going to be injured? So far as I can see—I have tried to understand it—he will be injured only by the higher price—if he has to pay a higher price for what he buys, in consequence of the industrial tariff. That is the only injury. What does that amount to? The Solicitor-General laid down a doctrine which, I think,, unintentionally, he inverted. He said the price must rise if it is regulated within a protected area. I suppose he meant the opposite, because, does anyone really maintain that the effect of such a tariff would be, on the whole, to raise the prices of articles in this country to the extent of the tariff? Where do the goods come from? They all come from countries with a higher tariff by far than we propose. If they are able to come, why is it? It is because, as I believe, owing to the security of their own markets they are able to produce on a bigger scale and cheaper than we can, and therefore they are able to send their articles here in spite of the tariff. Is it not reasonable to suppose that the same result may happens here; that there will be still competition within this market, and that the greater production will tend rather to enable the article to be produced more cheaply, and therefore in itself tend to prevent rise in prices what would have been charged? Look at it even from the point of view of what the Solicitor-General said. Take one of the articles—let us say agricultural implements—which come now from abroad. How is the price regulated?
The people who send them from abroad are not philanthropists; they regulate the prices by what they can obtain in those markets, and what they can obtain depends upon the competition in the home market, and that competition will still remain, and if they find that the tariff of 5 per cent, or 10 per cent. can still be obtained, while it is worth their while to send the goods here they will send them, and there will be no rise in the price. But I do not wish and never have tried to put the case too high. It is quite possible there may be sonic slight rise in price in consequence of such a tariff. 721 Is it not possible to compensate the farmer for that, and to do it perfectly fairly? There are some people who think—I daresay some Members of this House belong to that number—that Protection consists only in imports. Nothing of the kind! Any use of State money to foster a particular industry is Protection just as much as an import duty. That is elementary. In Belgium, Denmark, and America agricultural industries have been fostered by spending money to develop that industry in different ways. I see no reason why the same thing should not be done fairly in this country. I am hopeful it will be done. For three generations agriculture has, I think, been worse treated in this country than any other industry. Well, there is a chance of a change now. Both political parties are tumbling over each other with benefits to agriculture, or at least, as regards one of the parties, with promises of benefits to Agriculture, and I think it is not unreasonable to suggest that something may at last be done to directly assist what is the most important industry in this country. But it is not merely that Parliament has done nothing to help agriculture; it has done something a great deal worse. It has deliberately added burdens to agriculture. Parliament after Parliament has imposed new burdens for national purposes which fall with excessive pressure upon agricultural industries. We have promised, and I think it is a perfectly fair promise, that simultaneously with the imposition of the tariff we shall use part of the revenue to relieve the unfair burdens which are now imposed upon agriculture. The hon. and learned Gentleman opposite said that that promise is not of much value, or something to that effect. He is judging of us by himself.
I think it is seven years ago since I heard the Chancellor of the Exchequer say something must be done, and done immediately, to remedy that unfair burden. Immediately, for them, means seven or eight, years, and, perhaps, another seven or eight years before anything is done. I think there is reason to hope, without being too sanguine, that we may not take quite so long. It may be for one reason, if no other, we shall not be so much engaged in destruction as this Government has been, and shall have more time to devote to constructive measures. They say they will do their best with the farmers. I am afraid of it for one. The Chancellor of the Exchequer is their apostle. I am sorry he is 722 not here; he is a very versatile, if not a very great, actor. In his time he has played in any parts; be is engaged now in producing a new comedy, in which he acts the role of the farmers' friend. It is a new role, but I do not think he has been very successful. As I said, for three generations Parliament has done practically nothing to help agriculture. In all that time there was only one Bill, or, at least, to be fair, the most important Bill for the benefit of the farmer, that was the relief of agricultural rates.
What was the attitude of "the farmers' friend"? He was so consumed by burning zeal that he was actually suspended in the House, but he was suspended, not because of the ardour of his advocating, but because of the venom of his hostility to the one measure that has been brought forward in relief of agriculture. I shall try, if I can, in the short time that is left—it must be briefly, but as clearly as possible—to state the grounds on which we advocate this change. We advocate it, first of all, as a means of raising revenue. That is the first ground on which we advocate it. Our proposal, after making all allowances, will bring in in the first few years at least, at the very lowest, £10,000,000 sterling of additional revenue per annum. The Attorney-General, I believe, used to question it, but the hon. Gentleman the Member for East Northants (Mr. Chiozza Money) behind him, has at least this advantage—and I could not say the same of any other Member who has taken part in the controversy—that whatever use he may make of theories he generally contrives to state facts accurately, and he has admitted that there is no doubt about getting the revenue. I can imagine no way by which revenue, if it is to be raised at all, can be raised more fairly than by such a system. Among the manufactured goods imported into this country, there are something like £30,000,000 per annum which are articles of pure luxury. By putting a rate comparatively heavy on those articles, but still far lower than is imposed in any other countries, it would be possible to keep an average of 10 per cent, for the value of revenue and yet get a very largo amount from those articles and make the rate lower on all articles which are necessary. I can imagine no method of taxation which is fairer than duties which are imposed upon articles of luxury of that kind. [An HON. MEMBER: "Will they continue to be imported?"] I can only say this, that the experience of 723 every other country with a tariff such as we propose does not prevent the continued importation of goods of that character.
I do not say that revenue is our only object, but I do say that if this question had not become purely partisan I am absolutely certain that the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be proposing this year precisely the same system that we are recommending to the country. He would come down to the House and advocate these duties on imported manufactures. I can imagine his speech. He would say, "A tariff for revenue is a very different thing from a tariff for Protection. There is nothing contrary to Free Trade in a tariff for revenue." It was precisely in accordance with the revenue laws of Egypt and India to-day. He would say, and it would be perfectly true, that "there would be nothing contrary to real Free Trade principles in imposing such a tax." I confess—in fact, I glory—that we do hope for another object as well as revenue from the duties, and that object is that by the security we thus give, to our home market the volume of total production will be increased here, and, by increasing the total production, we shall increase employment and tend to benefit the level of wages all through the Kingdom. I know I cannot convince the Attorney-General, but it is a very old and simple method. How can you get both revenue and protection at the same time? "If the goods come in you will get the revenue, but you will not get"—well, the House knows the argument. That in theory may be all very well, but what is the use of setting your theory against the experience of the whole world which you have before your eyes? Every country in the world that has adopted a tariff has found that they do get the revenue, and that they do get additional security for the home markets as well. Take, for instance, Germany. I have not looked at the figures recently, but I used to be familiar with them. In the last fiscal Blue Book published by the Board of Trade it is shown that in the twenty years, ending. I think, in 1908, the German revenue from manufactured articles had risen 50 per cent. Does anyone doubt that they got some sort of protection on their own markets? It is certain they got the additional revenue. What is the reason to suppose that what has been the experience of every country in the world will not be our experience too. I wish to ask the House really to consider the experience of 724 the world from every point of view of this question. Remember we stand alone in the fiscal system which prevails in this country. Every other country has rejected it. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Ayrshire (Sir W. Beale) accounted for that very simply: "We will take these views when we are immature; we get rid of them when we are old." These foreign countries are taking a long time to become old. They have tried them, and at this moment there is nowhere in the world a Government which proposes to return to the system in effect here, and, what is more, there is no opposition in the world which recommends that there should be such a return to such a system. Surely that on the face of it makes it probable that we are not right, and all the rest of the world wrong, but probable that there is some reason for the change they have made.
I will only say one word as to the effect on the home market. I am not advocating Protection. We never have done so. All we advocate is that a preference should be given to our own people, our own workmen, and our own manufacturers on our own home market. That is all we advocate. Just look at what has been done since this Government came into office. Look at the way they have increased the intensity of foreign competition by adding to the cost of production of everything which is made here. Look, for instance, at the minimum wage for miners, at the Insurance Act! Every one of these Acts, whatever good they may have done, has had this effect, that it has added, and added largely, to the cost of production of everything made in this country. Before these changes were made foreign competition was severe. I put it to any hon. Member of this House: Is it reasonable that every effort we make for social reform, which means a rise in the cost of production, should have the effect of still further stimulating foreign competition on our own market and with our own workmen? Surely common sense would tell us, if nothing else, that if we do raise the cost of production from that cause the least we ought to do is to put a corresponding duty upon the goods from abroad which compote with us, and thus prevent the increase of foreign competition on our markets. We advocate it also for the sake of preference. The value of preference is admitted by everyone. First, when this controversy began it was in doubt. Now, everyone 725 admits it. We advocate it on the ground of trade, apart from other considerations. If everyone admits that the trade is of enormous value to us are we or not more likely to keep it if we give the Colonies preference in our markets, or if we refuse to give it.
The argument used by the hon. and learned Member was precisely the argument used by the Prime Minister hundreds of times. He says, "You cannot give any preference by giving it on existing duties." The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister, if he has not forgotten it, knows quite well he used the same argument at the Colonial Conference in 1910. He used the very argument now brought forward by the Solicitor-General. He said, "To treat one Colony better than another is unfair." What was the answer to that. The Prime Minister of one of the self-governing Dominions said, "Do you suppose we are such dogs-in-the-manger that we should object to a system which we desire, because one Colony gets more out of it than we do?" Take the whole case. Suppose it is true—which I utterly deny—that we can give them no effective Preference. I deny it for this reason: that the statistics you give us are based on what the trade is now. But Preference affects the whole course of trade, and if any hon. Member wishes to know how greatly it is affected, let them consider what effect it has had on Porto Rica, Cuba, and the Philippines since the change was made in America.
Take the position in Canada. It is becoming rapidly an industrial country.
§ Her cost of production is not very much lower in many industries than our own, and I think it quite possible if the system of Preference were once adopted, we would gradually come—probably in the lifetime of many of those I now address—to a position in which Canadian manufacturers will content themselves with a protection which is natural owing to the cost of carriage, and we may have complete Free Trade between Canada and the United Kingdom—an ideal everyone will consider worth striving for. Suppose the hon. Gentleman spoke truly and that the Prime Minister is right when he said there was nothing in it. Who are the best judges? The Colonies think there is something in it. We will give them, the moment we are in power, precisely what they ask, and we will give them everything they have asked for. At the Colonial Conference the Prime Minister tried to make the same case as the Solicitor-General has made to-day. A Colonial Prime Minister carried a Motion in favour of the very system we propose to adopt. What was the answer of the Prime Minister when driven to give one? It was, "I cannot grant a different system to the Colonies from that which we give to the rest of the world." There is the vital difference between us. We shall see that every part of the Empire is treated on better terms than those which are given to the rest of the world.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 209; Noes, 283.729
|Division No. 5.]||AYES.||[11.0 p.m.|
|Agg-Gardner, James Tynte||Boyton, James||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)|
|Amery, L. C. M. S.||Brassey, H. Leonard Campbell||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)|
|Anstruther-Gray, Major William||Bridgeman, William Clive||Craik, Sir Henry|
|Archer-Shee, Major Martin||Bull, Sir William James||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian|
|Ashley, Wilfrid W.||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Croft, Henry Page|
|Baird, John Lawrence||Butcher, John George||Dalrymple, Viscount|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Campbell, Captain Duncan (Ayr, N.)||Dalziel, Davison (Brixton)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Campion, W. R.||Denniss, E. R. B.|
|Balfour, Rt.Hon. A. J. (City, Lond)||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Doughty, Sir George|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward H.||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Baring, Major Hon. Guy V. (Winchester)||Cassel, Felix||Eyres-Monsell, Bolton M.|
|Barlow, Montague (Sallord, South)||Castlereagh, Viscount||Falle, Bertram Godfray|
|Barnston, Harry||Cator, John||Fell, Arthur|
|Barrie, H. T.||Cautley, Henry Strother||Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert|
|Bathurst. Hon. Allen B. (Glouc., E.)||Cave, George||Fisher, Rt. Hon. W. Hayes|
|Bathurst, Charles (Wilts, Wilton)||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Fitzroy, Hon. Edward A.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Chaloner, Colonel R. G. W.||Fleming, Valentine|
|Beckett, Hon. Gervase||Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. J. A. (Worc'r.,E.)||Forster, Henry William|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Chambers, James||Gardner, Ernest|
|Beresford, Lord Charles||Clay, Captain H. H. Spender||Gastrell, Major W. Houghton|
|Bigland, Alfred||Clive, Captain Percy Archer||Gibbs, George Abraham|
|Bird, Altred||Clyde, James Avon||Gilmour, Captain John|
|Blair, Reginald||Coates, Major Sir Edward Feetham||Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.|
|Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue||Cooper, Sir Richard Ashmole||Goldman, Charles Sydney|
|Boscawen, Sir Arthur S. T. Griffith-||Courthope, George Loyd||Goldsmith, Frank|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Long, Rt. Hon. Walter||Sanders, Robert Arthur|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Grant, James Augustus||MacCaw, William J MacGeagh||Sandys, G. J.|
|Greene, Walter Raymond||Mackinder, Halford J.||Sassoon, Sir Philip|
|Gretton, John||Macmaster, Donald||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Magnus, Sir Philip||Smith, Rt. Hon, F. E. (L'pool, Walton.)|
|Guinness, Hon.W.E. (Bury S.Edmunds)||Malcolm, Ian||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Gwynne, R. S. (Sussex, Eastbourne)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Stanier, Beville|
|Hall, Frederick (Dulwich)||Meysey-Thompson, E.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Hall, Marshall (E. Toxteth)||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Starkey, John Ralph|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Mildmay, Francis Bingham||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hardy, Rt. Hon. Laurence||Mills, Hon. Charles Thomas||Stewart, Gershom|
|Harris, Henry Percy||Moore, William||Strauss, Arthur (Paddington, North)|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Sykes, Alan John (Ches., Knutsford)|
|Helmsley, Viscount||Morrison-Bell, Major A. C. (Honiton)||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Mount, William Arthur||Terrell, Henry (Gloucester)|
|Henderson, Sir A. (St. Geo., Han. Sq.)||Neville, Reginald J. N.||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Herbert Hon. A. (Somerset, S.)||Newdegate, F. A.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Down, N.)|
|Hewins, William Albert Samuel||Newman, John R. P.||Tobin, Alfred Aspinall|
|Hills, John Waller||Newton, Harry Kottingham||Touche, George Alexander|
|Hoare, S. J. G.||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Hohler, Gerald Fitzroy||Nield, Herbert||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||O'Neill, Hon. A. E. B. (Antrim, Mid)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. William||Walker, Colonel William Hall|
|Horne, Edgar (Surrey, Guildtord)||Paget, Almeric Hugh||Ward, A. S. (Herts, Watford)|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)||Warde, Colonel C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Hume-Williams, William Ellis||Parkes, Ebenezer||Watson, Hon. W.|
|Hunter, Sir Charles Rodk.||Peel, Lieut.-Colonel R. F.||Weigall, Captain A. G.|
|Ingleby, Holcombe||Perkins, Walter Frank||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Jardine, Ernest (Somerset, East)||Peto, Basil Edward||Willoughby, Major Hon. Claud|
|Jessel, Captain Herbert M.||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||Wills, Sir Gilbert|
|Joynson-Hicks, William||Pollock, Ernest Murray||Wilson, A. Stanley (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Kerry, Earl of||Pryce-Jones, Colonel E.||Wilson, Captain Leslie O. (Reading)|
|Keswick, Henry||Randles, Sir John S.||Winterton, Earl|
|Kinloch-Cooke, Sir Clement||Ratcliff, R. F.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lane-Fox, G. R.||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.||Worthington-Evans, L.|
|Law, Rt. Hon. A. Bonar (Bootle)||Rees, Sir J. D.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Lawson, Hon. H. (T. H'mts., Mile End)||Remnant, James Farquharson||Wright, Henry Fitzherbert|
|Lee, Arthur Hamilton||Roberts S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Yate, Colonel C. E.|
|Lewisham, Viscount||Rothschild, Lionel de||Younger, Sir George|
|Lloyd, George Ambrose (Stafford, W.)||Royds, Edmund|
|Lloyd, George Butler (Shrewsbury)||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Lord|
|Locker-Lampson, G. (Salisbury)||Salter, Arthur Clavell||Edmund Talbot and Mr. Pike Pease.|
|Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Colonel A. R.||Samuel, Samuel (Wandsworth)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Buxton, Noel (Norfolk, North)||Elverston, Sir Harold|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Byles, Sir William Pollard||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Addison, Dr. Christopher||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Essex, Sir Richard Walter|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Cawley, Harold T. (Lancs., Heywood)||Falconer, James|
|Alnsworth, John Stirling||Chancellor, Henry George||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Alden, Percy||Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Allen, Arthur A. (Dumbartonshire)||Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Clancy, John Joseph||Field, William|
|Armitage, Robert||Clough, William||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward|
|Arnold, Sydney||Collins, Sir Stephen (Lambeth)||Fitzgibbon, John|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Compton-Rickett, Rt. Hon. Sir J.||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Baker, Harold T. (Accrington)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||France, Gerald Ashburner|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Cotton, William Francis||Furness, Sir Stephen Wilson|
|Baring, Sir Godfrey (Barnstaple)||Cowan. W. H.||Gelder, Sir William Alfred|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Crooks, William||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Barnes, George N.||Crumley, Patrick||Gill, Alfred Henry|
|Barran, Sir J. N. (Hawick Burghs)||Cullinan, John||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Beale, Sir William Phipson||Dalziel, Rt. Hon. Sir J. H. (Kirkcaldy)||Glanville, Harold James|
|Beauchamp, Sir Edward||Davies, David (Montgomery Co.)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Goldstone, Frank|
|Benn, W. W. (T. Hamlets, St. George)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)|
|Birrell, Rt. Hon. Augustine||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Greig, Colonel J. W.|
|Black, Arthur W.||Dawes, J. A.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Boland, John Plus||De Forest, Baron||Griffith, Ellis Jones|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Delany, William||Guest, Major Hon. C. H. C. (Pembroke)|
|Bowerman, Charles W.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas||Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Devlin, Joseph||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)|
|Brace, William||Dewar, Sir J. A.||Hackett, John|
|Brady, Patrick Joseph||Dillon, John||Hancock, John George|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Donelan, Captain A.||Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Lewis (Rossendale)|
|Brunner, John F. L.||Doris, William||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Duffy, William J.||Hardie, J. Keir|
|Buckmaster, Sir Stanley O.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Harmsworth, Cecil (Luton, Beds)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Edwards, Clement (Glamorgan, E.)||Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Edwards, John Hugh (Glamorgan, Mid)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Meehan, Patrick J. (Queen's Co., Leix)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Millar, James Duncan||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Hayward, Evan||Molloy, Michael||Roberts, George H. (Norwich)|
|Hazleton, Richard||Molteno, Percy Alport||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Mond, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Robinson, Sidney|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Montagu, Hon. E. S.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Higham, John Sharp||Mooney, John J.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Hinds, John||Morgan, George Hay||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Morrell, Philip||Rowlands, James|
|Hodge, John||Morison, Hector||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Hogge, James Myles||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||Muldoon, John||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Holt, Richard Durning||Munro, Rt. Hon. Robert||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Hope, John Deans (Haddington)||Murphy, Martin J.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Home, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur C.||Seely, Rt. Hon. colonel J. E. B.|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehy, David|
|Hudson, Walter||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Shortt, Edward|
|Hughes, Spencer Leigh||Nolan, Joseph||Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John Allsebrook|
|Jardine, Sir John (Roxburgh)||Norman, Sir Henry||Smith, Albert (Lanes., Clitheroe)|
|John Edward Thomas||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim)|
|Jones, Rt.Hon.Sir D.Brynmor (Swansea)||Nugent, Sir Walter Richard||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Nuttall, Harry||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Jones, Henry Haydn (Merioneth)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Sutton, John E.|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||O'Connor, T. P. (Liverpool)||Tennant, Harold John|
|Jones, William S. Glyn-(Stepney)||O'Doherty, Philip||Thomas, James Henry|
|Jowett, Frederick William||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thorne, G. R., (Wolverhampton.)|
|Joyce, Michael||O'Dowd, John||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Keating, Matthew||Ogden, Fred||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Kellaway, Frederick George||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Kelly, Edward||O'Kelly, James (Roscommon, N.)||Verney, Sir Harry|
|Kenyon, Barnet||O'Malley, William||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Kilbride, Denis||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Walters, Sir John Tudor|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S.Molton)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||O'Shee, James John||Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)|
|Lardner, James C. R.||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Wardle, G. J.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Outhwaite, R. L.||Warner, Sir Thomas Courtenay|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Palmer, Godfrey Mark||Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Ciackmannan)|
|Lewis, Rt. Hon. John Herbert||Parry, Thomas H.||Watt, Henry Anderson|
|Low, Sir Frederick (Norwich)||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Webb, H.|
|Lundon, Thomas||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Lyeil, Charles Henry||Pease, Rt. Hon. Joseph A. (Rotherham)||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Lynch, A. A.||Philipps, Colonel Ivor (Southampton)||White, Sir Luke (Yorks, E.R.)|
|Macdonald, J. Ramsay (Leicester)||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Whitehouse, John Howard|
|Macdonald, j. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pointer, Joseph||Whittaker, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas P.|
|Maclean, Donald||Pollard, Sir George H.||Whyte, Alexander F. (Perth)|
|Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Pratt, J. W.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Macpherson, James Ian||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|M'Callum, Sir John M.||Pringle, William M. R.||Williamson, Sir Archibald|
|McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Raphael, Sir Herbert Henry||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|M'Laren, Hon. F.W.S. (Lines.,Spalding)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glasgow)|
|M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Reddy, Michael||Young, William (Perthshire, East)|
|Manfield, Harry||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Yoxali, Sir James Henry|
|Markham, Sir Arthur Basil||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Marks, Sir George Croydon||Rendall, Atheistan||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—?|
|Marshall, Arthur Harold||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Mr. Illingworth and Mr. Gulland.|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
§ Main Question again proposed. Debate resumed.
§ It being after Eleven o'clock, and objection being taken to further proceeding, the Debate stood adjourned.
§ Debate to be resumed to-morrow (Tuesday).